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 16, 2011

Spring is on it's way!

We have had the most amazing weather lately!  Temperatures in the low 70s, with clear skies and gentle breezes.  Sadly, we needed a few days of this to dry everything out.  Yesterday I tried to get the arena in shape, only to come close to getting my tractor stuck in the mud.

So, instead I have been working on a few "farm improvement" projects.  The barn yard is now gently sloping, with grass seed planted, and ready to grow.  The siding on the barn has been fixed and what is there is now painted, with more ready to be added in the next few days. 

And the horses, well.... they have been getting comfortable!  I haven't had to big "shed out" start yet, but I can tell it's about to.  Every one's coats are dull and gross looking, and I'm sure a good hot day, or a nice bath, and there will be hair everywhere.  Tonight, I am planning to attempt to clip down one of the wolliest of the bunch, Katy.

My training clients have been wonderful.  Of course, since they all love their horses more then any self imposed schedule!  Poco and Cruz spend some time together, and get along great.  Cruz gets along with just about any one.  While Poco is neurotic, he's wonderfully sweet with other horses.  It's only humans that he has a problem with.

Black Boy and Beaudreaux are starting to show their true colors.  They are a little bitty bit spoiled, and a whole lot out of work.  Both are wearing shoes, which means that slippery mud is even more slippery.  We have been getting back into the habit of handling them (since we can't really do a whole lot more in the muck).  Beaudreaux has decided to start pacing when he's at liberty (running loose in the pasture).  I've done some work with him to see if it will be easily corrected, but gait issues are rarely fixed on the ground, and of course, Beaudreaux is no exception to this rule.  I can hope though, right?

But Beaudreaux is my lover boy.  He always is ready to get a hug and a kiss, and even comes when I call his name.  He gives Jae fits, because he completely ignores him, but is as willing as a puppy (on the ground at least) for me.  In the last couple of days, he has started being a little less perfect, doing such things as walking off when I head to him with a halter, or swishing his grain around in the bucket and spilling it.  Nothing bad at all, but signs that he's comfortable here.

Beaudreaux has been the better behaved of the 2, but I have this feeling that he doesn't have as many hours on him as Black Boy.  I can't say why that is, but Beaudreaux just seems a bit younger, and reminds me of the kid who waves his hand in the air saying "ME, oh MEMEMEME, Pick ME!". 

Then there's his partner in crime, Black Boy.  Black Boy is supposedly a one person type of horse, and the way he acts, I can actually believe it.  He's very nice on the ground, but he is not a lovey dovey horse like Beaudreaux.  He also has a great ability to be "bad" with out doing anything really wrong.  Things like nosing the bucket as I'm pouring grain, or refusing to stand still when I tack him up, lift his feet, or do most anything with him.  Standing still is not something BB really likes to do.  I have been warned that he might rear, so, I am going to be pushing him a bit harder then Beaudreaux, to see if I can set him off, and then desensitize him to it.

BB (since Black Boy is a handful to type) is the leader of the bunch.  When Beaudreaux is with him, then both are stinkers, but as soon as they are separated, Beaudreaux is a gentleman.  Makes perfect sense, but it also means that I am going to be riding these boys together.  The goal is for them to be novice friendly mounts.  I don't think they are that far off.  Mostly they are just lazy and out of shape.

Now BB just started refusing to take his bridle 2 days ago.  I was warned about this, and we laughed, because until then he had been a doll about it.  Now, he's trying to pull the "I'm taller then you" or the "I can lock my teeth" tricks.  As soon as he realizes that I'm not going to be mad at him, and I sure won't beat him, but I do have more patience then him, he gives up.

So, during the last few LOVELY days, while the arena has been gross and nasty, I have been doing nothing but grooming, tacking, and basically in hand work with every one.  Ok, Mr. Poco got ignored, but most of that is because being ignored is what he needs the most!

Cruz is doing much better about all of those terrifying things that go bump on my place.  So far, he doesn't mind the vehicles driving past, or the normal day to day sounds, but touch him when he isn't expecting it, and he'll still flinch.  He stands in place, and doesn't bolt, but he's just a timid guy by nature.

And best of all, I'm officially dry today!  As of tomorrow morning, the arena is ready to go, and I will be back in the saddle again!  Now, I admit, I've been out of the saddle for about 2 weeks now, and I know that every single muscle will need a reminder, so I'm going to be riding one of my own first.  After that, we'll see who tries to kill me!  My plan is to actually get ON the walkers (and oh I am so looking forward to that!  They look like they have such lovely gaits to ride) and then do a touch of refresher with Cruz, and start adding weight to him.  If he takes it well, then I might even get led around on him.  Keep your fingers crossed.

And of course, P. Loco, well.... I'm going to wear him OUT.... then go for a lovely ride.  With weather in the mid 70s, a light breeze, and sunny skies, I am planning to make sure every last muscle in my body aches from RIDING.

Of course, all plans are subject to change at any time, depending upon the ponies, and what the boys need.  I just have to say that I feel like I've been slacking off.  It's so weird to have client horses here, and to not DO anything with them.  I won't take the risk of hurting a horse just for some feelings of needing to "work", and I'm pretty sure their owners would not thank me for it either, and yet, here we are 16 days into the month, and I'm still trying to get the first ride on all of them.  At least every one is settled in nicely though, which will help make it all easier to get back into a routine.

Now today for me started off with a bang.  My father broke down on the way to work, and Jae and I had to go rescue him.  This meant waking up at farmer's hours (before dawn, and I don't DO before the sun!) and then going back to get the car off the side of the road.  And of course, there were the normal driving around town things, to get more diesel fuel for the tractor, and more food for the horses. 

Jae is going to be welding on the last of the "pearlin" (not sure how that's spelled exactly) and then putting up the last of the siding.  Once that is painted, my barn will look a bit less like a rusty old tin can! From there, I'm sending him to fence the main road, expand my "long pen" into a second arena, and then cross fence the main pasture.  Oh that might sound easy, but that's his work schedule for the next month, and I won't be shocked if he doesn't finish before April!

Around here, Spring means that the work kicks up a gear.  I love this time of year!  From landscaping, to starting youngsters, the only thing I will be missing is foal watch.  I didn't breed any horses for this year, so there won't be any late nights waiting to meet my newest herd member.  Of course, I will be making up for it, by putting 6 mares in foal to O.  Hopefully that means 5 new Sugarbush foals and a Stonewall!

And I'm preparing to start videos of each horse.  I've got a couple of songs picked out for special horses - oddly not of any particular genre - and that means full bathing and new photo shoots!  I'm only having one little problem... the same problem I have every spring.  There just aren't enough hours of daylight in a day!

Expect many updates now that we're back into full swing, and I am hoping to be able to include pictures with each one, although no promises.  It's kinda hard to take photos of a horse while I'm working a horse!

But I'm thrilled to be back working.  I can't even explain how happy it makes me to know that first thing tomorrow morning (since Nita's job is morning feed) I will be tacking up a horse.  There's no life better then this in my opinion.

4 comments:

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  2. Who IS the idiot who posted above me? Someone please delete his comment! "Boycott American Women??" I'd like to boycott him!

    I am so happy that your arena is back in shape, woo hoo! Looking forward to some updates on Cruz and how he does today. It looks like you've got some dry weather all the way till Monday, yay! I am glad Cruz got some time to settle in there - he is very timid and I think settling in will help him learn better. Good luck with all your guys!

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  3. Who IS the idiot who posted above me? Someone please delete his comment! "Boycott American Women??" I'd like to boycott him!

    I am so happy that your arena is back in shape, woo hoo! Looking forward to some updates on Cruz and how he does today. It looks like you've got some dry weather all the way till Monday, yay! I am glad Cruz got some time to settle in there - he is very timid and I think settling in will help him learn better. Good luck with all your guys!

    ReplyDelete