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, June 18, 2011

Cayenne and Fear (The end of a LONG day)

So, this is what I got so many years ago.  A small brown lump of dead horse.  Yeah, she was dead looking more then she was alive looking, as sleep hit her hard.  One minute she would be playing with us, and then the next, she'd just crumple.

Cayenne has always been a darling little pony, but tonight, when making her some mush, I thought she looked taller.  You know about absence and all that.  Well, I can't just a horse's size to save my life, so I pulled out the stick.  Yes, Cayenne is 14 hands, and 1/4 inch tall!!!  She's a HORSE!  When did that happen???

So, she's a bit bonkered up from her trip out east.  I don't know what happened, and it doesn't matter.  I do know that she says her mouth is sore, her poll is sore, and her hip hurts like hell.  Did she get the hell kicked out of her?  Did she fall while tied?  Did she pull a Cayenne nap when she was at a patience post?  In the end, it doesn't matter.  My baby is home.

I had missed her little murmers to me at feeding time.  Oh how she loves the bucket - it's her mother after all.  I missed having a nice "pasture rider" for myself, since Poko can't hang in the pasture any more.  I realized that I need a nice small moving quarter type horse.... the day after she left.  So I can't tell you how nice it is to know that she is home, she is safe, and she will never be sold into some place I can't control again.

And then there are my fear issues.  Oh they are still here.  They come, and they go, but for the most part I just deal with it.  Some one earlier mentioned the "give it time" comments.  I actually think there is some plausibility to this, but not as the sayer thinks.  I have found that the best way to address my fears, is to acknowledge my fears.

As an example, when riding, if I suddenly feel panic coming on, I just stop, step off, and breathe.  I put myself in a safe place/position, and wait.  I never try to push through it.  Oddly, this has been working SO well.  I say "I'm not ready for that" when I'm not emotionally ready for something, and no one makes me feel pressured.  I learned that most of my "peer pressure" came from ME, not them.  So, I do take my time... time to feel comfortable with the situation before I try it, time to think it through and decide how I feel, and time to be scared.

I trust my horse when I think I can, and I move out of the way when I don't feel right.  If that means I am running screaming from sweet darling Boo, well that is just what I do.  If people don't like it, then they don't have to be around me. 

Every time I have tried to push myself to get over it, I regress.  It's usually not pretty, and a lot of times it has tears and snot involved.  Hey, I got kicked in the head, it's not exactly a fun thing I want to repeat!  My mother always said "better safe then sorry" and I believe her.  Also, it seems that having some one near me do something gives me courage.  Jae can pick up that horse's feet, so I can too... lemme try.  Mom just rode that horse at a canter today, so let me try.  Kris just, Leah just, Rachel just, Amy just...... I'm surrounded by examples of just a little thing that I can suddenly do because I saw some one else just do it.  Maybe it's brushing a horse's tail.... pulled over to its ribs, but brush it I did!  I take pride in those accomplishments, because to ME they are a big step.

And you know what?  When I admit it, my friends cheer me on.  They don't laugh at me, they don't get annoyed with me, they encourage and support me!  And if they don't... bah, who the hell needs em anyways?

Tonight, I vented publicly.  I stressed, I whined, and I let it out there.  It feels kinda good to do that every once in a while.  And do you know what happened?  My friends and family rushed in with support.  A coffee at my desk here, a shoulder there, a chat on facebook that made me smile, tons of texts, and a phone call saying "here's the bush, and there's the bear".  Something I thought would be a minor scrolling bit of text in the virtual world ended up being a warm and fuzzy virtual hug.

The best part.... I heard the words I needed to:  "We understand, you're not alone.  We're with you."

I am going to keep doing what I'm doing.  I always try to learn from my bad days and my mistakes.  And I'm going to be realistic about my business.  None of those things are shocking to any one that knows me.  I don't think I could give up horses completely if I wanted to.  I do always think so long and hard about breeding, and I try to sell only to the best of homes.

I also feel that it doesn't matter WHY a horse doesn't work out, I only need to get my horsey home.  If I lose money, then it's only money.  A life is always more precious.  And some how, the money follows the good intentions.  I mean, I do horses for a living!  It's been said that can't be done, and yet I do it month after month.  Oh there are heart breaks and wonders, but it's something that is more then a job.  I think the biggest reason why I can make a profit in horses is because I try so hard to be honest.  Maybe I'm wrong some times, but I do not lie about it!

In this line of work, we have to balance 2 things that do not like to balance.  Business and emotion.  I have to run my business as a business.  If I don't, bad things happen (like no money for feed, vet... well, all the things I need).  And at the same time, I can't treat a horse like "inventory".  They are thinking, feeling, caring creatures.  I think that the only thing that can balance these 2 is the attempt to be as honest as possible.

And yes, I really am this much of an optimist at the end of the day.  I just whine and moan in the middles.


  1. A major hug coming your way from California...I think you are awesome, just the way you are.. And one hell of a great business woman.

  2. It sounds like everything in going to be OK in "Dot Land". I think you are going to be just fine. It's good to vent, it's a very normal and healthy thing to do. I wish I was as good at getting my feelings written down as your are, mine end up being an indiscernible mess.

  3. You are so right that acknowledging your feelings is the first step to being able to cope with them - denial works not at all. I know pretty much how if feels to be afraid and have to ease back into things - treasure those small triumphs and as you build on them they will become bigger triumphs. And you're wise enough to know that there will be setbacks and days that aren't so good.

    I'm a big fan of "little" QHs, so glad your baby is home.

  4. Life: it's what happens when you're busy making plans. And yet, somehow, it always works out for the best. Always.

  5. Whenever I think things suck here, I reflect back on some bloggers who have had a b!tch of a time lately. You come to mind first thing. You are an inspiration. May not feel like it, but because you have Cowgirl'd Up, and continue to Cowgirl Up, you are setting an excellent example of what CAN happen when you step up and control your actions, decisions, and path.

    Keep it up girl. No matter what path you choose to follow, as long as you meet it with the mindset you show here, you are going to do great!

    Yeah yeah... mush so early in the day. ;) So while I am being mushy, thank you for my "spot fix". I am SO glad Leah Fry pointed me here! (She rocks too BTW! LOL)

  6. I'm glad no one kicked the 'poor wet puppy' and you got the support and encouragement you needed.
    After my injuries, most people were very kind and supportive, but some were judgmental and critical and tried to blame me for getting hurt.

    The support and encouragement I did receive after my injuries I was so grateful for, but as time passed by, that all dried up and people expected me to just get over it and move on.

    Sounds like you are very blessed to have a wonderful circle of caring friends and family around you.
    You will be just fine.


  7. however it happened I am glad you have your girl home , Sounds like she did have some kind of wreck, but since they can't tell you ,you just move forward from there. Sounds like you are handling your fear issues just fine. We all need to kick and scream in fristration now and again .It is good for the soul somehow

  8. however it happened I am glad you have your girl home , Sounds like she did have some kind of wreck, but since they can't tell you ,you just move forward from there. Sounds like you are handling your fear issues just fine. We all need to kick and scream in fristration now and again .It is good for the soul somehow