A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And then there was Snow, er maybe Ice... well, it's white!

(Note:  Somewhat graphic image below, be aware before scrolling down) The cold weather hit yesterday.  If you look, you can see the foggy stuff in this picture - that's ice blowing.  It's not really snow, it's more like finely ground ice.  It's cold, with temperatures around 15.  For us here in Texas... that's COLD!

Horses were all tucked away nicely.  All client horses were in the barn, well sheltered from the cold, and all my boys too (since you can't just turn them out in the herd!).  My girls had access to shelters, and were in groups that were friendly, so no one would get left out.  Jae and I stayed up until things started to freeze, just to make sure that no one ended up cold and shivering, and while we chose not to blanket, we did have them ready if needed.

In the end, the horses all said it wasn't too bad.  Bright and early the next morning, we put out a fresh round bale, broken into multiple piles (next to water, behind wind breaks, and such) so that every one could get some any time they needed.  Round bale #2 was ready to go just as soon as they finished.  And except for needing to use a hammer on the water buckets, everything was fine.  Not even a little shiver.

Down side, my grain runs out on Tuesday... it snowed on Tuesday.  Feed store is closed on Sunday and Monday!  An emergency run into Tractor supply got me through the night (yeah, and lets not even talk about how many feed stores I called to find SOMETHING open) and today, Wednesday, I picked up another 1300 pounds of grain.  That will last until Friday.

Water for the pasture is pretty easy.  While my horses are spoiled, they WILL drink from the pond if there's nothing else available.  The pond was still liquid, and I've caught a few grabbing a sip, but I really prefer to keep them happy and drinking well. 

Right now, Jae is working on plan G to get water into the barn.  This involves filling a very large trough, and hauling it over there.  We're using warm water from the sink (because any tap outside is SOLID) and going to give every one some luke warm water to drink tonight.  For the past 24 hours, they have had access to water every 2 hours.... and for as long as the water would stay liquid.  No one is acting thirsty though, so I think we're doing ok.

Of course, with bad weather there always has to be SOMEthing bad.  Warning, graphic image......

That was what Jae saw the very first thing this morning.  He work up, crawled out of bed, and opened the door to let a dog out, and saw RED.  From there, he followed the trail across the snow/ice to find more and more blood.  He was positive that he was about to find a mutilated horse, dead, or nearly dead.  Instead, he found Doodles, my father's solid paint horse, standing around the side of the barn with a little cut.  Well, 2 of them.  The little cut would open every time he moved, and bleed like mad.  His other hind leg had a slice across the heel bulb.  Again, nothing serious, but probably very painful. 

As soon as Jae saw this, he yelled at me, and I began getting dressed.  My mother went to gather dogs (remember, he was letting dogs out) and then went for a halter.  By the time I got outside, he had figured it out, but we had "all hands on deck".  Doodles was brought up, cleaned up, wrapped up, and doped up.  He's a very happy little man right now, and should be perfectly normal in no time.

And this ice is deep.  It's well over my ankle, and hard.  Now, my northern friends might be used to variations of snow, but to me, it should be melted by noon!  We're on day 2, and this is not the first time this has happened this year!

Needless to say, no riding, no working in the arena (I fell on my butt, so I'm not putting a horse in there!).  I did spend some time with Cruz today, checking to see how he felt about a blanket.  He's not really liking the idea, and he continues to look stressed.  I did get it on him, but I am not brave enough to leave him blanketed with as fearful as he looks.  So instead.... more hay and grain will make it all better.  He's not shivering, but he is a bit sucked up.

I've heard that the DFW area is having rolling brown outs to preserve power.  My power is from wind power, and we haven't had any problems at all.  The roads are definitely scary, and I would NOT recommend that anyone who doesn't have 4wd and/or winter tires drive on this stuff.  Much of 377 (main highway type road here) was covered in up to 3 inches of ice through town. 

As of right now, the horses are STILL working on round bale #1 (although not much left) and it's really nice back in their hollow.  I caught many horses laying down - which of course caused me to panic thinking colic from not drinking - but it's nice and warm (comparatively) in their low area, and the wind has blown away much of the snow/ice, leaving a solid ground for them to nap on.  Every one is tired, including the humans.

Of course, I will be out checking every one a few more times tonight.  Weather is supposed to be a bit nicer tomorrow, and while my main pasture is decent, all of the smaller paddocks are slippery.  I hope to be able to turn horses out, but would rather keep them up then have someone fall and get injured! 

Here's hoping that my friends locally have power, and that every one who has been hit by this mess is doing well.  Stay Warm!


  1. They were doing rolling blackouts in Denton and points south - apparently two power plants had their pipes burst (oops), and they were trying to keep the grid up. Or are, as it may keep on going. Whee...

    We are bundled up nice and warm, including the little dog, who seems kind of confused why I keep putting her in a coat. :)

  2. That's tough on you guys - not your normal winter weather. Hope everybody stays safe and warm. We've just been socked with a blizzard, but I'd almost prefer that to ice.

  3. This is tough weather to take care of horses in! I'm sorry I didn't let you know that I have blanketed Cruz before - in fact he had 2 of them on when it got so cold a couple of weeks ago. So he should be fine with it. He just acts skittish about it in the beginning - he gets used to it quickly.

  4. wow ice! Ours is done here in Cincinnati, and we never did get the multiple inches of snow they predicted. It is, however, very cold!

  5. Wind power!!! I really want a wind mill in the pasture and solar panels on the roof! But Florida sucks for any kind of subsidizing or reward system and w/o that I don't have the $55,000 estimated to install/erect.