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, March 23, 2011

I'm back online with lots to share!

All Righty!  This weekend, Jae experienced computer technical issues.  Ok, now I'm not a geek in any way, form, or fashion, but here's my understanding of it.  Windows Vista didn't like his video card and RAM set up, so needed to patch.  Sadly, the problem exhibited as the blue screen of death.  Hard to patch software when it won't stay running long enough to get fixed!

So that's where my downtime comes in.  I graciously donated my computer to Jae, to allow him to work his technical magic and make his all better.  Yeah, as you can see, I don't understand the whole deal at all!  I do know that he had my computer all hooked up to his, and it wasn't realistic for me to use it.  That doesn't mean I didn't get stuff done though!

During this time, I did some work with Ozzy.  He was simply amazing the last time I worked with him, but this weekend, oh boy.  It wasn't pretty at ALL!  He decided that he was so interested in what every other horse in the world was doing, that he forgot he existed.  As an example, he was watching Ash in the paddock behind him, and bonked his nose so hard he reared up and almost flipped while I was trying to bridle him.  When lunging, he was so focused on Voodoo in the pasture, that he stepped on his own feet, and stumbled hard.  When I made him pay attention to me, he became flustered, obnoxious, and tried to run through the lunge line.  This resulted in a lot of running out to the end of the line at full speed.  Now, I wasn't lunging him in the round pen, because of how good he was last time.  My plan was to simply tack him up and climb on, but the freak out when tacking up made me decide to check his mental state.  SO glad I did!

I worked that poor boy into a nice sweat, and ended with mounting up and then climbing off, just to get the win.  I figured I'd get a bucking fit from him, but he was simply too exhausted to try.  All of his issues were from one thing - he was more worried about what every other horse in the world was doing, and didn't think he had to listen to me.  Well.... he'll learn!

This pretty guy is working on gaining some back muscle, and getting over a minor back strain. I have been working him on learning to stretch on the lunge, which seems to be helping but is NOT in his nature. He also needs the work on manners for the little things, like standing still to tack up, and paying attention to me (yeah, it's a pretty common issue in horses... they would much rather check out the mares in the pastures!). Today, we did a total tack refit to make sure that saddle fit is not a problem. Because of his developing muscles, this will likely be a weekly event. Besides, it good for him to get used to different tack.

For his owner, today was all about pretty blues! Isn't he handsome?

And of course the walkers!

Now, Beaudreaux has been a doll.  He's just going very well, and behaving himself.  Granted, he still breaks into a pace, and he's not as fit as I'd like yet.  We had a week off for a minor injury, and most of his saddle work has been on manners and control at the walk.  He is just now starting to work on transitions (the last week or 2 that is) and his flab is melting away as his muscles are developing.  He does still jiggle as he walks though.

And Black Boy has his moments.  He's either really good, or kinda bad.  We've made it to the point that his bad isn't all that bad though!  He's much better at picking up the gaits, and hence has been worked both at the walk, as well as in gait.  At this time, when he's flustered and having his "issues" I can spot the reason (doesn't mean it's a good one) and it's rarely anything more then speeding up or slowing down, or wide turns.  No buck, rear, balking, side passing, or other tricks that he's used in the past.

So, Today, I decided to try something different.  My Assistant Trainer (and mother) Nita got to ride the walkers!  Now, Nita has minimal experience with gaited horses, having ridden one only a few times in the past.  She's a very capable rider, but her expertise is in ground work.  In other words, she's a perfect "step down" to test how well the boys will work with someone that is less experienced in the saddle.  Mom can handle her own if the boys are bad, but she's not going to be able to ask for gait, or advanced moves from the horses by second nature.

Beaudreaux was amazing.  I swear he did better for her then he did for me!  Granted, he missed his gait more times then not, and tended to stumble into the gait or pace, but he was sweet and easy to ride the whole time.  Black Boy on the other hand got jinxed.

I'm not kidding, every single time she headed to the road side of the arena, something horrifying happened.  First it was the jogger with a stealth doggy.  After that, the bicycle, followed closely after by the car with no exhaust.  Black Boy wasn't bad for any of this, he simply broke from a walk into the gait, and headed for "safety".  Not great, but it could be a lot worse.  He never bolted, he never lost his mind, he simply got worried and a bit faster.  Each time he tried this, a simple whoa and turn brought him back easily.

I got some very basic, cheesy, simply camera phone video of some of the rides.  I am pretty sure that I got the right horses in the right places in the video, but with the horrible pixelation, and no way to mark the video segments in the field, it's really a lot of guess work.

Warning:  Video may make some sick due to motion sickness!
Ok, seriously.  It's pretty much impossible to capture video while watching the horse and rider, not the screen, holding a phone in my hand, and yelling at my poor mother about commands to ask for the proper gait.  I am the multi tasking queen!


  1. Ugh... computer problems are the worst.

  2. For all my years of riding, I've never rode a gaited horse.

    Computer problems are the worst... which is why I'm now a Mac person.

  3. Ugh... computer problems are the worst.

  4. For all my years of riding, I've never rode a gaited horse.

    Computer problems are the worst... which is why I'm now a Mac person.