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.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

With Friends Like These

Mother's Day is coming, so we moved the pony party to Saturday in order to get everyone out who could make it.  Quite a few of my friends showed up, and we had a LOVELY ride this morning.  I hopped on Doodles, a total packer, and took a few laps, until Doodles was tired.  Mostly walk with some trot.

Then Leah gets tired, so offers me her pony, Jaz.  Oh yeah!  I'm so there!  To top it off, she tacked down Doodles for me!  Woot.  I ride for a while, and did pretty good, and then quit due to jello legs.  Yes, I had jello legs... haven't had that in a long time.

So, my greatest moment was something that most people would consider to be silly.  A bicycler came down the road, and all the horses of course saw it.  Now keep in mind that my arena is also next to the road, so the only thing separating the horses from "imminent death" was a mesh fence.  I of course know this is how horses think, and so feel my heart race.  At the same time I KNOW that the horse I'm on has no issues with bikes (I was on Doodles at the time).  Leah's horse has no problems with bikes.  Not a single horse in the arena would spook.  And yet, there I am, ramping up over something my logical mind says is silly.  My emotional mind though kept saying "get off the horse, he's gonna blow, step off NOW!".

I took a deep breath, petted my horse, and said "ok Doodles, all on you man". 

The bike went past with nothing at all happening.  We might have had a whole ear flick at it.  I put my trust in my horse, and my horse proved he's worth it.  Of course, it's Doodles, a certified packer, and except for small animals in the grass, a horse that spooks at nothing!  I caught back up to my friends, and yeah, I bragged a bit. 

Jaz was an angel... with a lazy streak.  The whole time I was riding him, I kept getting weird bends, and I could feel my hips being uneven.  Now, I have very minor scoliosis and have to work really hard to ride straight, so this isn't really anything new to me.  The fact that I lost so much muscle so fast was an eye opener though.

After we finished, we all sat around talking, and having a good time.  People started to peel off, and then I asked Rachel if she was going to ride.  She agreed, and we had talked about her riding Ozzy.  Well..... today she did!

I have been putting off riding new horses until I have emotional control again.  Since most of my friends have delt with this themselves, they have been SO supportive of me.  As we tacked up Oz, I went to pick out his feet.  On his hind, he did a little jiggle, and I admit, I jumped pretty good.  Kris laughed and said 'I dont' know who jumped higher, you or him!".  And then she pushes me just enough to get me back under the horse. 

Kris and Rachel tacked up Oz, and then headed into the arena for a test run.  I told them to take it slow, only do as much as they thought they could.  I know that when you say you "will" sometimes you push yourself to far, and that's the last thing I wanted.  I also have a hard time sitting on the side lines, rather then being the potential punching bag.

Lets just say it went really well.  Oz was a good boy.  He carried his rider with no problems, he was never tense or dangerous at all.  He did forget a few things though!  He was confused about the command to back or forward, so tried both.  All in all, he was just a good boy and nothing but heart.  Not to mention, that seeing my friends work with him makes ME feel more comfortable about handling a horse that I don't know all that well.

I'm now a little sun burned (except the scar, that's coated in sunscreen, while the rest of me is just lightly layered) and very tired.  I appreciate my friends probably more then they can know, though.  I mean, who could ask for a better "come back" group to cheer me on?

And just to show how very stressed out Oz was.....
Yep, he made a small river.  Not exactly a sign of a stressed horse I think. 

Thanks you all.  And hope everyone has a good Mother's Day!


  1. Packers and lazy are good. I well remember those jitters - they take time to wear off.

  2. Jaz is on Tri-Hist, and he was super L-A-Z-Y. Time to go out the gate? What about NOW? Okay, NOW?

    How's Shadow?

  3. Sounds like a great day! It's good to have those 'ol trustworthy horses around. Keep it easy until you're well.

  4. Great "return to riding" good horses good friends sounds like a great day