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, August 27, 2011

Looks like we have a new Second Chance horse.

So, I know I missed this week's Fear Friday blog.  I just wasn't in the mood, being all depressed and worried about my mother.  So, I also ended up canceling almost everything for this weekend. 

I have been kinda out of sorts after losing my mare, Hex.  She was a special horse to me, and her death was so sudden, and so out of place.  Oh I know that sand colic can be from a little or a lot of sand, but I was trying to do everything right.  After this, I'm terrified to finish sand clearing the rest of the herd, since she was fine before I started.  I "know" it's rare for this to happen, but I'm still just paranoid about it.

With that said, if I don't do it, they will all have sand problems anyway.  I mean, it's sandy loam soil, in a drought.  About the only thing I have in my pastures is bitter sneeze weed.  Horrid stuff.

That doesn't make it any easier to see Jinx out in the pasture hanging with Nazar and Katy, but no Hex.  The lack of her presence has been hard for me.  I find myself not wanting to even look out at the pasture, because I know she just won't be there.   

So, I'm sitting here being a lump, when my phone makes the "hey HEY!" noise that signals a text message was received.  I open it and look, and this picture is on it, sent by Rachel.

Yes, my dear friend Rachel knows just how to get me moving.  Adorable ApHC registered stallion, approximately 14 hands, under weight, in need of home.  Owner is NEGOTIABLE to the right home.  I asked her a few questions, and it turns out that a wonderful man found this horse in a bad situation.  He picked him up, took him home, and now wants to see the colt get a second chance at life.    We know he has papers.  We know he has testicles, and we can see he has a pretty color.  That's about all we know.

If you look closely at the picture, you will see he's thin, but has a decent shoulder on him, nice length of back, good straight legs, and a style that screams foundation lines.  A quick check of his papers confirms that.

Now, I don't pay much for my second chance horses, because of one thing.  I do NOT want the people who refuse to care for their horses to make a lot of money off my guilt.  In fact, I normally only pay money if there are other horses "at home" who will get fed because of it.  Maybe I'm mean, but I just have too much experience with the scum of the breeders who think that making lots of foals, and selling 'em cheap with no basic care is the way to get rich.  If those breeders do NOT get rich, then maybe, just maybe, they will stop breeding!

Well, I get a text here and a text there, and it's sounding like the type of horse I want to help out.  I mean, we're set up to work about 35 horses, can afford to house up to 40, but I will NOT breed another light horse in this market.  I had planned to take in 2 horses to help make them "good" horses before I lost Hex.  For me, this is kind of a wake up call saying "get back in the game Heather, the other horses out there need your attention, and your Air Conditioner doesn't love you".

Now, I might sound like an uncaring horse woman there, but I try really REALLY hard to separate my emotions from my horse buying!  Truth of the matter is that Hex started out as a rescue, and helping another horse just FEELS right to me.  I have a big empty spot in my heart, surrounded by 26 little bright points, and I'm kinda lost.  Hex was one of "mine".  She was special, she was amazing, and her personality was just so majestic and royal.  She made her humans feel privileged to be in her presence.  So, in all honesty, there's a whole jumble of "why" in my head that makes me want to do this.  The seller was the straw for this poor camel though.  He really wants to see the horse in a good place, and is not a horse person. 

At this time, it looks like the pretty boy up there will arrive on Tuesday.  That gives me enough time to set up and prepare for yet another stallion.  I know... a STALLION!  But in all honesty, that was a deciding factor for me.  In the middle of a drought, where rounds are now between 100 and 130 each, and squares are pushing $14/bale for crap (No, I'm not paying those fees) a lot of people are unable to keep their babies.  A stallion SURE isn't going to find a home right now, and the wonderful man who took this horse in just to help it out doesn't need to foot a huge bill for castration.

But, that's my plan.  We're going to bring little stud muffin in, get some weight on him, deworm him, check his teeth and feet, and then give him "brain surgery".  Of course, the caveat is that I will look over his papers, and check him out in person first.  If he IS stallion quality, I'll put the word out to the foundation breeders I know.  If he's "maybe" stallion quality, I'll geld him, break him out, and either use him as a lesson horse (if he has the mind for it) or sell him into a loving pet home.  With his size and color, it's most likely the latter, but you never know.  Just look at Poko!

Tomorrow, I will start with preparing him a stall.  I don't know if he's a jumper, or how he is around mares, so he gets a back corner stall, with fans.  If he's easy to catch, he'll have use of the run in.  If he's not, then he'll be sent to a catch pen until he is.  Rachel is going to be involved with helping socialize him too, and loving on him.  Granted, I don't think I could keep her away if I wanted to!

Supposedly he's green broke.  But, he's a Second Chance horse, so I always take that with a grain of salt.  If he is, then great.  If not, then we will start from the ground up.  I don't take in Second Chance horses because I want the next best thing.  I do it because they need someone that can put them on the track to a becoming a good equine citizen, which is the BEST way to give them a long term home.

I will be posting updates on him, and probably lots of pictures.  And the best thing about him.... when I told my mother, she smiled.  My poor mom has been so very stressed out, and this makes her happy.  So he's definitely worth taking on.  And he needs us.

And if you want to see what my Second Chance horses end up like, just check my sold page!  All the second chance horses there are listed.  From pampered pets, to adored lesson horses, they all now have homes and lives that are good for them.  And soon, this new guy will be added to the list.


  1. Heather, God bless you for taking in this colt. He is a neat looking horse (and I am not an app fan..LOL). He needs you and you recognize that. Also, God Bless the man that got him and started him off on his second chance. That was a great thing he did not even being a horse person. Good luck and I can't wait to see your posts about him!!!

  2. He looks pretty nice from what's in the picture. It's good he showed up when he did to start to fill that hole in your heart.

  3. What's his breeding look like?

  4. I do rescue work over in Greenville TX as Morning Glory Ranch Appaloosas. I've kept a few as permanent sanctuary horses too, like the two pictured here, Woody and Hartley. Good luck with your new fella!

  5. what a beauty he deserves a second chance!and was lucky to find you and yours .I cant wait to hear how it goes.