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, May 25, 2011

The Sky is FALLING!

It wanted to be a tornado so badly
Not the prettiest view, but it was sheltered from the weather enough for me to get the picture.  Yes, that's a big cloud.  Even worse, was the weather alerts saying that a possible tornado was headed right at me.

My dear friend Leah calls, and says that there's a tornado heading our way.  My friend Rachel messaged me on facebook to let me know.  While all that was happening, Jae and I were naturally nose deep in the computers checking all the current weather info.  It was just weird and wacky outside, and did not seem right!  I didn't know whether to lock every one in the barn, or turn them all out!

And just to give you an idea of what that cloud there looked like in motion, well.... it acted like it wanted to be a big brother to THIS.  That's just a little too close for my taste.  It was headed right at us, and then suddenly, shifted due east, passing with no concern.

After the first wave passed, I figured all was well, right?  Front's past, scarey things are gone, time to check horses.  HA!

I head out, and my place is SOAKED.  I mean flat ground had easily 2 inches of standing water on it, and there were small rivers all over the property.  That was a LOT of water that fell.  My pond, which only a month ago was almost dry, is about to start overflowing it's banks.  And then I noticed something weird.

Looking across Iron Ridge to the west
My property lies along a stretch of train tracks.  in the picture below, you can see where the train runs at the back side of the property.  That's actually a double set of tracks - I don't know what they are actually called, but it's a passing lane for trains.  One pulls over, and the other goes by on the second set of tracks.  It's not uncommon to see a train parked there overnight.

What is uncommon though, is to have TWO trains parked.  One was located about where this is, and behind it, headed in the same direction (weird) is another train.  The second train had unlocked most of it's box cars, and left them behind the road crossing, while pulling the engines in front of it.  This left the train in 2 parts, but the road and crossing gates open for traffic.

So while I'm looking at it, and discussing the weirdness with Jae, we notice a dark mass on the horizon.  More rain coming, well that's not too shocking!

The clouds swelled on the skyline similar to this
And then I stepped into the twilight zone.  You know how in the movies the eerie clouds suddenly pour out of nothing?  Yeah, well that was happening just over head.  Clouds just forming from nowhere, and quickly.  I'm not talking "oh look that cloud is growing".  No, I mean "where the hell did that come from, and why is it still coming!".  It was just very strange, and the type of thing that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

I tried to check the radar, but my phone wouldn't load the weather info.  I'm sure at that point the cell service was overwhelmed with people calling friends and family to check on them.  So of course, i ducked inside and pulled it up on the computer.

Great, that massive storm appearing from no where... yeah, more tornadoes!

My alerts start buzzing and saying "it's here, it's here" and then the hail started.  At first it wasn't a big deal.  A ding here, a bonk there.  I looked out, and they were small bits, maybe pea sized at the largest.  But it got worse.  A louder thunk on the roof.  A crack that sounded like it broke a window.  I look out the front door, and see golf ball sized hail coming down way too steadily!  I open the door to check on my poor car parked out with no shelter......

And there's Jaz running around his paddock like an idiot!  Zire and Daltrey following him blindly (literally, since they are both homozygous).


That just looks painful
Yes, golf ball sized hail coming down hard, and what do I do?  I grab my mud boots, my rain coat, and an umbrella (because I was hoping the umbrella would spare my little brain from the pings of ice) and rush out.  Oh, but nothing is ever easy around Jaz!

I rush out there calling their names, and Zire and Daltrey hear me.  They start to walk to me, and then Jaz saw the umbrella.  He bolts like a monster was after him, and the little boys, not knowing any better, follow right after him.

I said bad things.  I admit it.

So I try to get around them.  They have shelter... and a LOT of it, but it's a run in metal barn.  I even had the light on inside it for the night blind kiddos!  Ah, but what am I thinking... hail on a metal roof does NOT sound inviting to the ears of delicate pale colored horsies!

I jogged to the far end of the paddock, and Jaz bolts up to the barn.  Whew, that wasn't so bad.  Then he hears a bang, or got struck by hail, or something (who knows, it's Jaz) and spins on a dime and heads BACK to the far end.  Of COURSE their paddock has the best grazing - and fewest trees - so they don't even have shelter naturally.  My umbrella was making scarry noises at me, and I knew that the hail had to hurt.  I couldn't just leave them out there!

So I truck out after them.  Over hill, through rain swollen low areas, battling winds, rain and hail the whole time.  Have you ever tried to hold an umbrella in the middle of a potential tornado?  Yeah... lets just say I looked the fool.  Oh, and I said more bad things about Leah's little grey flower.  I think comments about growing them in manure and it getting to their heads...

I finally get them up, right at the entrance of the barn......and the weather went away.  No rain.  No hail.  No wind.

Jae had come out, and was heading at me quickly, looking at the sky.  Oh right, remember there was a tornado heading at us.  Well, in my effort to save the stinking little orchid of a pony, I had forgotten that.  Here I am with my pants wet to my panties, my boots soaked clean through (and I HATE wet socks!) and it's COLD and I'm grumpy.... and Jae's saying that it's supposed to be on top of us.

Yeah, and the weather was still.  Abnormally still.  And we're standing in the middle of a pasture, with an umbrella flipped inside out.

As quick as it stopped, the winds picked back up.  This time it was warm air, just like a summer's breeze.  Oh yeah, that freaked me out.  But that warm air brought normal spring weather with it.  A few sprinkles, a ton of lightning, and a light but realistic breeze.  We stood there watching the lightning, looking to see if there were funnels revealed by it, but nothing strange.

And then the horses started calling each other.  The trains started revving up and preparing to move, and my world was back to normal.

I've lived in this area a long time, and I've never had a night like this.  Two storm systems, back to back, and both threatening tornadoes.  Maybe it's just paranoia after the stories from Joplin, MO.  Maybe it's just my own personal fear of losing loved ones (the 4 legged kind too) due to something I can't control.  I don't know, and I hope I never have to find out.

But Jaz is still on my bad list for at least another day.  Silly Arabian!


  1. Just glad all of you are OK - those are some scary looking clouds!

  2. You have to be amused at the doofus. I think a serious despook session with lots of scary stuff should be in our future. It will amuse the heck out of us, if nothing else.

  3. I think we missed the hail down here, but a rope tornado dropped rather uncomfortably close to the theater we were in last night! Maybe 5 miles? We were at Swisher and 35, and that thing dropped somewhere on the Argyle/Denton border, somewhere in that 377/1830/Country Club Rd area. Nothing like getting texts going, "there's a tornado," in the middle of the movie and having management pause the show to make an announcement to really just scare the pants off me...

  4. How terrifying ! for you and the horses! Almost sounds like you were in the eye of it for a time. But I guess not , just the outskirts . But nothing like a horse woman , go out in all weather, consequences be damned to make sure the ponies aree OK!

  5. Very scary. Those storm clouds are spooky looking. Glad the tornadoes missed you. They are fascinating, but horrible things.

  6. Scary and exciting! You must have been a sight to see out there running all over the place herding horses with your useless umbrella. lol! I bet Leah was glad that she was able to stay inside cozy, safe and dry and didn't have to deal with Jaz and Daltrey at home.
    That hail is terrible. We had a huge hailstorm in our mountains a few months ago. Caused broken windows and skylights, auto and roof damage, and caused one man, who was trying to go outside and drive his car into the garage during the hail storm, to suffer a face and head laceration from the jagged ice balls.
    Did any of the horses (and you) sustain any cuts or bruises from the hail?

    I'm just really glad that you all are ok and didn't have a tornado blow through and wipe you all of the face of the planet. Whew!


  7. Oddly no major injuries. A few minor bruises and welts though.

  8. I think I would have peed my pants. So glad you're all ok. Tornadoes scare me like nothing else.

  9. Very scary. Those storm clouds are spooky looking. Glad the tornadoes missed you. They are fascinating, but horrible things.