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.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Yesterday I took Velvet back to her breeder.  The day started off normal.  Horses were fed, all paper work was in order, and then we headed out to hook up the trailer.  Oh boy.

Yeah, so Jae had parked the tractor in front of the trailer the other night after he moved round bales.  Not a big deal, just move it, and then back the truck up.  Uh, except that no one had the keys.  We checked pockets, we checked desks, we checked all the vehicles, and no tractor keys!  Finally we decided that we needed a "work around" and came up with turning the trailer and hooking up to it.  It worked, but made pulling out a bit tricky (hence Jae's job).  

Velvet was a doll to load though (except for that one moment of "mom do I have to get in the trailer) and hauled like a dream.  Now, I have to say that I did NOT like hauling a horse through Dallas, but that's just me being a wimpy trailer driver.  Crazy drviers + horse in trailer = Heather freaking out.  If you're getting the idea that I am not all that crazy about driving a truck and trailer, you might be right!

Off loaded her, and her breeder was happy to see her, and thrilled to have her back.  Settled her into a lovely stall, got to meet her other (fat) horses, and I'm pleased that Velvet will be doing so well for the rest of her life.  Of course  like all horses that pass through here, Velvet is always welcome back in case she ever needs a home.

So after we unloaded Velvet, I get this text from my mom "Found the keys, they were on the ground".  Oh, swell!  Least we found the tractor keys though!  One of these days I will get around to making a spare.  Ok, so that's one thing I don't have to stress about.  And then I realized that driving back home through Dallas with an empty trailer is kinda fun!  I took the SUV and small trailer - which us ugly - on this trip.  Did you know that if the moron in the brand new car won't pay attention to your turn signal, they WILL move out of the way of a very ugly horse trailer?  Yeah...merging made easy!

And we had some stuff we got done last week.  I gave ya a preview the last time I posted I think.

Managed to get Zire gelded.  He was a champ, and did everything wonderfully, but he did bleed a bit more then I'd like.  Nothing serious, and he stopped quickly, but that's one of the downsides of waiting until he was a 3 year old to geld him.  I had really thought that someone would have snatched him up for a breeding stallion since he's so pretty, so nicely papered, and such a sweet boy, but I haven't had a single bit of interest in him as such.  The few inquiries I got were about gelding him.  So, now the deed is done!

That's my poor vet there holding his head.  Dr. G did a great job, and except for the normal swelling, Zire is acting like he feels great.  For the first day he would barely walk, but really who can blame him?  He's still on restricted movement for a bit, but the cut looks good, and he was silly enough to try to play when he got let out.  One quick move though, and he realized that was a bad idea and went back to being sweet calm natured Zire.  He gets a few more weeks off, and then it's time for him to be a riding horse!  I have to say, I'm really excited to break this guy out.  He is a little carbon copy of his sire, who moves like a dream.  Zire also has that lovely silky smooth trot with ground eating extension.  I'll most likely back him English, and then cross train him into western.  I don't expect him to sell quickly (he's rather boring colored, and a registered Appaloosa in a market that favours drafts) so that means I will have plenty of time to spend riding him!

I also managed to get some updated done on sale horses.  Here's a cute little video I did for Nakai:

Nakai is a gelding that I am advertising for a friend/client.  He's coming around nicely, and I think he'd make a great working horse for someone.  Now, I couldn't get all of his winter hair out before I did the vids, but shaggy is better then no video, right?

I also got some pictures taken of Katy.  Wow is she a lovely horse.  Just all around lovely.  I mean she's easy to work with, she's a dream to handle, she is easy to get nice pictures, and of course, she's a Sugarbush Draft, just just lovely.

The red hair on her is her faded winter hair.  The stuff growing in is blueish black.  Katy changes colors with the seasons, so while genetically she's a "black varnish roan" she is normally called "blue" around here, because that's what she looks like out in the pasture.  I'm also starting to think that my camera might be slanted a bit to the red spectrum.  Of course, I'm using afternoon sun to get the least amount of shadows on the horses, which probably has something to do with it.

And yesterday, when I came back from delivering Velvet, I picked up Sweetie!  My little Sugarbush has been on "vacation" for a bit.  I shipped her off to a friend's place to get pampered and spoiled.  Ok, I admit, it was a little horse trading (you do this, and I'll do that type of a deal) but Kris managed to get Sweetie fat!  Well, fat for Sweetie.  See, she's a growing draft horse, and it's been well known that the more food we pump into her, the taller she gets.  She never gets fat!  So yeah, we keep putting more into her, and lets just say I have a very nice, big girl!  I can't believe that Kris managed to get her to put on a bit extra!  Of course, she's 3, so maybe it's time that she'll slow down a bit?  I think she's going to be just like her father conformationally.  Color wise.... she's almost white!  Now, Sweetie is one that will make people question my knowledge of color, kinda like her mother.

Rose is a black horse that looks bay.  Sweetie is a chestnut that looks bay!  She's what is called a tostado chestnut, which means that she has very dark, almost black mane and tail.  She does not have black points, but instead was born a cute little obvious chestnut thing.

See, that is a chestnut there!  The mare behind her is black.  You'll have to trust me on that because I know she looks bay.  But Rose exhibits something called bronzing.  It's a type of Appaloosa color change that causes the black pigment to fade out resulting in a funny brown color.  There are pictures of Rose when she's younger, and testimony from Everett, that she was black up until she became pregnant the first time.  This is very common in LP color horses.

Sweetie on the other hand is just roaning out all the red areas that would allow you to see her base color, leaving a few scattered red hairs, and the black mane and tail.  I don't have super recent pictures of her, but here you can see what I mean:
Kinda hard to guess that base color with out having seen her as a baby!  She's dark skinned enough on the muzzle, and the question could be raised about a wild bay on her, especially with that dark mane.  Now she is even less red and more white on her main body, with obvious black mane and tail.  I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and DNA test her for color so people will believe me about her foals.

Er, sorry, I digressed a bit there.  At any rate, we arrived home just at sundown, and offloaded the "baby" girl with this massive storm on the horizon.  Now, if you don't keep up with us on Facebook, you might not know that I'm dieing for some rain here.  My pond is drying up and my grass is very confused.  I have coastal growing in with the rye and clovers!  Usually it's first rye/clover, then coastal, and rarely do they overlap.  But this year, my coastal never truly went dormant.  I'm hoping that means I'll have some serious summer grass!

Yeah, so we bedded down all the horses in the barn.  Every one was put some where so they would have a roof, because forecast said hail.  This means I had a barn full of boys....and Sweetie.  She was loving the attention.  Ended up stalling Scorch next to her, and yeah.... I'm positive I know what I will be doing for my first cross on Sweetie!  Those 2 match up nicely, and Scorch's super long neck will correct Sweetie's slightly short one. 

And all last night it rained.  Not enough mind you, but it was just what we needed for the grass.  I have some more rain forecasted later in the week, and if it doesn't change its mind, I should have lovely pastures soon!  For me, this means my arena is too wet to play in today, and it's too slippery all over to bother with trying to train or clean up horses for pictures.  Besides, Mondays are my day off!  I am going to be very lazy today.

And as for training horses, the walkers left this weekend.  This means I only have one "client" horse in training, and that's Voodoo!  The rest of my time will be spent with sales horses, and getting them either back in work, or trained to ride.  I have really missed working with my own horses lately, and I can't tell you how happy this makes me!  Starting tomorrow, I will be riding Scorch, Cayenne, and Dream, as well as putting ground work on Nakai and probably Oops.

There will be tons of picture updates coming soon.  A few horses have already been updated on the website, but there's always more!  I have plans for videos, with the help of my friends Chris and Rachel, and I will be bragging about those as well.

I won't make any promises about how often I will be updating, since Spring is the busy time of year, but I will try to get at least once a week.  Eye candy should be shared after all.


  1. I'm so glad Velvet's breeder wanted her back. That's just cool.

    Scorch & Sweetie will be an interesting cross. Will that cross be a Sugarbush or a Stonewall? What might that look like?

    Glad Zire is feeling better.

    One name conspicuously absent in your riding agenda: Amber. Have you been back on her?

    I am working from home this week because Mike is having the transmission in his truck rebuilt and he's driving mine. Works for me.

  2. Sounds like Velvet will be in a very good place :)

  3. Leah, Scorch x Sweetie will be a Sugarbush, but it will get generational papers (as in, not the ideal draft, still a bit light, but more then 51% draft). With Sweetie being homozygous though, she'll also be crossed to the ACD in the future.

    And Amber is out of the list because she's gonna be a MOMMY!I am packing the pounds on her (because I want a filly, and fat mares have girls) and gonna wait until she's settled and confirmed in foal. I think Iv'e ridden her once since she dumped me, but in all honesty, I can't tell you for sure. I don't have any problem riding her, except time. Isn't that the story of all of our lives?

    Hey, work from home weeks are ALWAYS good. Hope you got as much (and as nice) rain as we did.

  4. Thanks Dom, I hope so! I'm one of those that believes that breeders should have the first option to get a horse back. I know that if I regretted selling one, I'd want that done for me. I'm happy for Velvet!

  5. Thanks Dom, I hope so! I'm one of those that believes that breeders should have the first option to get a horse back. I know that if I regretted selling one, I'd want that done for me. I'm happy for Velvet!