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.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's like a roller coaster, and all downhill from here

Warning:  it has not been a good day.

So, where did it start?  I'm not sure of exactly what the first straw on this camel's back was, but now it's broken.  Last weekend was an amazing high for me.  Found the most amazing lesson horse, she fit right in, and I started acting like she was a fixture here.

Well, as we all know, if it's too good to be true, then it probably is.  This was.


I think it started with the cat.  Maybe.  I'm not sure of the exact timeline now.  But one of my cats got out.  She does this sometimes, and usually comes in as soon as she realizes it's hot.  Not this time.  She left, and never came home.  She was Jae's baby, always in his lap begging for attention.  It's been kinda quiet in his lap for the last few days.

Then there's the stupid family issues.  Nothing serious, but just one of those extra straws that adds up over time.  A fight with my mother, some grumbling with my father, Jae not getting why I'm upset about it, more grumbling.  I'm sure that's all a symptom though.

Add in a snarky ex client who pretty much does their best to let me know just how bad I suck... repeatedly, and it's not a very good feeling.

Oh, and then there's the horse I sent home because my fear issues kept me from working with him.  You want to talk about a blow to the ego, well that's it right there.  I don't KNOW that I can ride or train horses any more.  I'm totally shot.  Hell, I still have panic attacks at the canter!  I was so pleased before that I was walk/trotting ok, but all of a sudden it seems like such a big deal that I can't canter.

Sales... well, I have a few client horses I told them I could sell.  I haven't.  I can't bring myself to get on them before this week, and now, when I try, I end up feeling like I'm just a washed up moron when it comes to horses.  I had plans to push myself into it.  Get on them, and get it done.

But then there's the whole income stream problem.  Lessons are going good now, because I have that extra lesson horse I need... right?  Yeah, not so much.   Now she wants to trade back!  Says that Cayenne isn't broke, and has a hip issue.  I'm not really sure what she's talking about, as I just rode Cayenne a few days ago!  Walk, trot, and even a step or 2 of canter, and well... read above to understand why only a few steps.  I was so proud of the baby for finding a great home, but this lady says she won't do a thing.

So then I show Boo.  Oh my.   He's a complete moron.  If I said he'd do one thing, he did another.  Neck rein?  yeah, he forgot all about that.  Act like a trooper, nope... check out the girls though he had no problem with.  I had just bragged about this horse, and then he's a moron under another rider!  Add another straw on this feeling of not being able to teach a horse a damned thing.

So, I can't train outside horses.  Can't sell my own horses because they are completely different with me then anyone else, and I am quickly losing my confidence to train riders, because of all this adding up.

So, I'm seriously considering getting out of horses.  Maybe I need to just make them fun again?  But I love the SDHR horses, and want to keep working with that, and lets not forget that I have a bunch of babies coming next year.  What the hell am I doing?

Right now, I'm sad, I'm feeling very insecure, and I'm pretty sure that by putting it out there, some one will come along and kick the wet puppy in the rain while it's down (can I mix a few more metaphors?).  I have some serious thinking to do about the business, the horses, and the work I do, and I'm not sure at all where it will lead.  Who knows, maybe its a sign or something.


17 comments:

  1. I think you need to take a moment and breath...Just relax you are getting upset before you even get near the horses. Perhaps it is time to go talk with someone about your fears. It doesn't have to be a professional, just someone who has had similar experiences. Don't give back the white draft mare. Perhaps the other person hasn't given Cheyenne a chance. Go over and ride her for her and show her the proper way to ride her. Perhaps give her a few free lessons on the horse. Go take a walk, grab a book, or do something for yourself. I was sorry to hear about your cats. But perhaps she will come back too....Just remember to breath...breath....breath...Give yourself a break you went through a rough time you haven't healed yet.

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  2. Well, I may or may not be too sick to ride this weekend. But I would like to come see my Boyz either way, and I'd be glad to listen and add my 2 cents, if you'd like to hear it. I could never hope to repay all that you and your family have done for me. You're practically the only people I like.

    Get drunk.

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  3. Im with Jiller, Im in a close boatt to you. where it feels like it cant get any worse and then Something else happens and Hey it did just get worse.... Just I know it sounds hard but find someone who will just lisen to you, mabye not even comment. I know if im really upset I just want to get it all out then I can think. So go take a breather, dont get to upset about the way you feel about horses right now, you had a terrifying experiance. I think anyone would be like you! So stop getting upset at yourself, go show the owner about cheyenne that she is fine, and if she still insist that she doesnt work out, then that is not a good home for her, and trade her back. it will suck, but i dont want something to happen to cheyenne and you get upset about it, and just dont do buisness with her from now on... and just, breath. you'll be ok, all of us are here for you. even if its just through a web hug instead of a real one, but we are here. *Big Hug* it will be ok.

    Rebecca W

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  4. Well, admitting how I feel is actually not that hard. I've been proud of myself with the riding, until something happens that makes me upset, and then it's like "but I used to....". THAT feeling sucks. I'll get back to it, I know I will.

    I wouldn't say any ONE thing is that bad in itself. It's mostly that it's all of it at once. I really like Leah's suggestion though. But I'm gonna get drunk "MY way". Which means lots and lots of caffeine, and no alcohol (since I hate hangovers, but caffeine calms me down).

    Horses are already traded back, and the Baby is home. She came back the worse for wear, and I'm glad to have her back. They were right, her hip IS out. They say she arrived that way, I say she didn't leave like that. Doesn't matter, as Cayenne is my orphan, and selling her was a hard decision for me.

    About the only "final" decision I'm making "on my own" and with out thinking about it though, is to pull some horses off the sales list. Life's too short, and good horses are too rare. Boo, Doodles, and Cayenne are keepers.

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  5. I wrote a really long mesage.. then decided to be brief- You will heal physically before you do mentally. The trauma is causing the panic. I have been there. Forcing yourself doesnt make it easier and staying in your comfort zone will get boring and you will push your self when good and ready. Patience Grasshopper. You are good at what you do. Did you watch her ride Cheyanne to see the horse misbehave? then dont believe it.. Maybe all your bragging caused her to have seller remorse? Hang in there. You will have a break through and your confidence will return!

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  6. Oh no, there was no way I was riding the Baby in the shape she was in when she returned. They're right, she's broken. The question is who broke her. I'd be SHOCKED if she didn't act up with the way she looks! I'm fine with the trade back. I said that if they had a problem I'd take her back, as I like to be an honorable person.

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  7. Just breathe, rest and rethink - but not too quickly. Just put one foot in front of the other and pay attention to now, not yesterday or tomorrow. I'm having to do that myself right now. It'll come right but it doesn't happen all at once or quickly, just day by day. Sending best wishes and thoughts.

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  8. I feel for you. Sounds like you're still recuperating from your serious injuries......the physical injuries heal long before the mental injuries. Trust me on that one.
    There's not a day that goes by that I don't ask myself why I am still holding on to my mare Apache because I, even though I push myself to face my fears, I have panic attacks on a weekly basis whenever my mare moves around me suspiciously.

    Today, for instance, I was bringing out her hay and she walked straight towards me and stood blocking my path. I motioned for her to back up, which she knows full well how to do. But instead of backing up politely, she turned herself around and gave me her butt. That's all it took for me to jump out of the way and feel like my heart had just been squeezed so tight I couldn't breathe and I thought I might die.

    I was shaking as I took some of her hay and filled up her mesh slow feeder....keeping a paranoid eye on her the entire time.
    I don't trust my horse at all and I thought it was just her, but even when I volunteer at the horse rescue every week, I clench up and feel panic when I have to walk past the rear end of a horse or they walk past me.

    I don't know how to move past the fear and it's been a year. My concern is that I'll never get past it. Fear feels like chains that bind and control. And worst of all, I have no desire to ride my horse at all. And that makes me sad.

    No one seems to understand and I'm embarrassed to say anything to anyone, even horse people because, unless they've been through a serious, life threatening horse injury, they have no clue of the type of fear a person goes through, and the long term ramifications.
    They tend to give advice, that while well meaning, just isn't very helpful, like "take some time and you'll get over it".

    Anyway, I am no help whatsoever. And I'm sorry about that, but please know that I do understand a little of what you're going through and I hope things get better soon.

    ((((hugs))))
    ~Lisa

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  9. Lotso of god advice here I agree taking Cayenne back was the right thing to do, for you her and your reputation,however she was injured(I say wityh an eyeroll) they will blame you ,and never take responsibility . As to the rest , Hang in there , never make a life changing decision when you are down. Breath , have a coffe or a dozen, hot bath whatever it takes . then remember you are still recovering from a pretty severe inury and it will take time . The thing about you working your horses and thenm not working for others has come up with me too. Can you get a friend to step in now and then and handle them? just to change it up?
    At the end of the day you do good work and are raising lovely horses ,I would hate to see you give it all up, but it has to be what is best for you

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  10. Actually, Fernvalley, you just hit on one of my solutions. Well, not MY idea, but one that was dropped on me this evening. I have a very confident, competent, and willing riding student. She can't own a horse (suburban lawns just aren't that big) but she adores them. She wants to learn to train a horse. I talk, she does. Worst case, it doesn't work, and we stop before an accident. Best case, we all win in the end.

    And you know, I don't blame the people for bringing her back. They asked if she had ever had a broken hip. I thought that was really a strange question! Now, looking at her, it makes sense. I'm SO GLAD she's home, even if it's for the wrong reason. I know how good she is, my friends and family do as well, and we'll make her a stable part of the stable here. A little bute, and she's a bazillion times better already. All of the ouchies seem to be soft tissue damage, and she's showing no lameness with only a small dose of bute. I can't tell if she slipped in the trailer when hauling, or if she was hit from the top down by another horse. Something smacked her croup hard, and there's a pretty good knot there, and a small crescent scrape. I asked myself "would YOU want a horse that was like this?" and can only honestly answer "no".

    Am I upset that she's hurt. Oh yes! She's my baby! No one wants to see their horse hurt. I could go saying "they did it" but I don't think any one would do something like that on purpose... unless they are a horse! My bad for not having proof, but really, it's not like that would get me anything more then the "I was right, SEE!". Because they still wouldn't want a broken horse, and I would still honor my word and trade back.

    The only thing I wish, is that they had given me time to come up with the money to buy Lina as well. I'm going to miss that big girl. She was exactly what I wanted in a lesson horse.

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  11. I am only an artist who was raised with horses (horse crazy mom,) so I'm not a head doc or anything. But it sounds to me like you have a bit of PTSD. It's totally normal. I don't think it will ever go away. (Not to be discouraging, but to give you a heads up so you can recognize it and plan for it.)

    When I was 18 and driving home from college I passed a slow moving semi. Well, he passed the slow moving sedan in front of him. Right into the right side of my VW 411 and bounced me across and off the road on the two left side wheels! I can still see that big tire grinding into the side of my poor car. Thank the Lord she was a VW!! Anyway, I was unharmed, or so I thought. Now at 50, if I a traveling down the road and I have to pass a semi with it on my left I break into a trembling sweat and want to puke. Alas, I am a speed demon so I MUST pass the slower vehicle, but I still hate every second! I have never been side swiped by a semi again in 32 years but I still get ill.

    You suffered a terrifying accident, and it was horrible, despite your matter-of-fact blogging about it. You are allowed to have trepidation about horses! And, you aren't a 20 year old any more. The older we get the more aware we are of our mortality. Serious accidents only reinforce that.

    I personally will never get back on the haflinger that tossed me and sent me to the ER with a broken collarbone, despite the old cowboy adage. (Also HOW EMBARRASSING TO BE TOSSED OFF A FRIKKIN PONY!?!?) I also find my self more leery of cantering. I blame it on Blanche, "well, she's 19 now, you know, and after 3,000 miles I just hate to make her work hard." But what it really is, is, I am a wuss. Heck, I have someone else training Nyx. And I ~always~ trained my own babies!

    At the same time, don't give up! You are really doubting yourself, but you are an amazing person and you would regret it if you gave it up! Keep teaching students even w/o your lesson horse. Keep an eye out for another. Keep training horses. Make them the best at walk/trot as you can, then hire a youngin' (eager 20 something) to work at your direction to work on the canter! Horse crazy 20 somethings work for cheap. Heck, some will pay YOU, or clean stalls and so on!

    Eventually you will gain your confidence back. But you will always be wary. And sometimes you'll be shaky and ill because PTSD doesn't really go away. But if you recognize it, you can arm yourself against it.

    Don't know if that is any help but know you aren't alone and what you feel is very normal. And really big hugs, I wish I could make it better, you are such an amazing person!!!

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  12. Thanks Cheri, it does help. I also happen to agree with your assessment, for the most part. My fear is being "under the hooves". It's not logical, or rational, but I can analyze it.

    The only clear images I have from my accident is while laying under the horse. They fade more every day, but wow it was so pretty. Golds and bronzes, and coppers with afternoon sunlight on the dust and chestnut legs.

    I don't really care if the fear issues go completely away. I do care to be able to ride again normally. Oh sure, maybe training "other people's horses" is out, and no crazy horses, but I still want that feeling of acceptance and effort under me when I climb on my own. And I want to feel the wind in my hair at the canter. I'm 2 full weeks back in the saddle now, and feeling better every time I ride.

    I mean, I WANT to ride Poko, and he's as crazy as they come! (I also honestly feel that even if he tosses me, he won't STEP on me).

    But, I am pretty sure I have found my solution to the canter. I'm going to give it a try this week, and will be sure to let y'all know.

    And with all this venting, I have worn myself out enough to sleep. LOVE my virtual friends. And each of you has helped to make my day just a little bit better.

    Thank you all.

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  13. I'm glad you got Cayenne back but it's too bad she's hurting.

    I know what you mean about horses riding differently for you than anyone else. I have that problem. It's always been very hard to tell when a horse is actually ready for a beginner or novice because they will work so well for me.

    All I can say is, This too shall pass and, if it's meant to be, things will return to normal.

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  14. I've been where you are. Bad riding accident, lose of faith in my own judgement, fear of the known, the unknown, the what-ifs, the what if-nots?

    It takes a long time for your mind to heal, and it happens well after your body. For me, it took a lot of person on the ground, me in the saddle, your horse is just fine, you're just fine...and even then, it took a VERY special little horse.

    He came from an equine rescue, about starved to death, and he's given me my life back. He's solid, he's safe, he loves trail riding, and he loves to go out in front. I feel safe when I'm on him, and that feeling has begun transferring itself over to other horses that I ride.

    Get on your old school master, broke to death, packs nothing but children, and then push your limits on that horse. Then get the next one up the experience ladder.

    You'll get there. It'll just take time - and courage. Both of which you have lots of!

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  15. I'm glad you got Cayenne back but it's too bad she's hurting.

    I know what you mean about horses riding differently for you than anyone else. I have that problem. It's always been very hard to tell when a horse is actually ready for a beginner or novice because they will work so well for me.

    All I can say is, This too shall pass and, if it's meant to be, things will return to normal.

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  16. Thanks Cheri, it does help. I also happen to agree with your assessment, for the most part. My fear is being "under the hooves". It's not logical, or rational, but I can analyze it.

    The only clear images I have from my accident is while laying under the horse. They fade more every day, but wow it was so pretty. Golds and bronzes, and coppers with afternoon sunlight on the dust and chestnut legs.

    I don't really care if the fear issues go completely away. I do care to be able to ride again normally. Oh sure, maybe training "other people's horses" is out, and no crazy horses, but I still want that feeling of acceptance and effort under me when I climb on my own. And I want to feel the wind in my hair at the canter. I'm 2 full weeks back in the saddle now, and feeling better every time I ride.

    I mean, I WANT to ride Poko, and he's as crazy as they come! (I also honestly feel that even if he tosses me, he won't STEP on me).

    But, I am pretty sure I have found my solution to the canter. I'm going to give it a try this week, and will be sure to let y'all know.

    And with all this venting, I have worn myself out enough to sleep. LOVE my virtual friends. And each of you has helped to make my day just a little bit better.

    Thank you all.

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  17. I think you need to take a moment and breath...Just relax you are getting upset before you even get near the horses. Perhaps it is time to go talk with someone about your fears. It doesn't have to be a professional, just someone who has had similar experiences. Don't give back the white draft mare. Perhaps the other person hasn't given Cheyenne a chance. Go over and ride her for her and show her the proper way to ride her. Perhaps give her a few free lessons on the horse. Go take a walk, grab a book, or do something for yourself. I was sorry to hear about your cats. But perhaps she will come back too....Just remember to breath...breath....breath...Give yourself a break you went through a rough time you haven't healed yet.

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