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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moon's update, a new blog to read, and more

First off, Moon has chosen her person.  Rachel and her have just hit it off.  From the day she arrived here, it was obvious that Rachel adored Moon, and the feeling is mutual.  You know how sometimes you see a horse dote on a person with that special look?  Well, Moon did that with Rachel from the start.  Having horses for as long (and as many) as I've had them now, I have learned to recognize the signs of horsey love in progress.  Moon was in full crush mode.

Since then, it's only gotten "worse".  Moon thinks Rachel hung the moon (heh, I'm so punny).  She nickers at her, and listens to her better then any one else.  Don't get me wrong, Moon is a complete angel to every one.  She isn't really a fan of men, but she's not a man hater either.  She just tends to tune them out, and look to women for treats.  But Rachel?  She's DIFFERENT!  Rachel brings love and special attention. 

We wonder if maybe someone in her past reminds her of Rachel, or if it's just one of those things that is meant to be.  Who can tell with horses, but for some reason we always try to imagine the answer.

Well.  It's been a while now, and good ol' Moon is PACKING on the weight!  She's such an easy keeper, and every day I can see more meat on her ribs, and her back is starting to fill in.  With the weight coming back, so is the spark in her eye, and her personality.  She's nothing if not a good girl, and with more energy, she's just being more good.  It's little things like trotting in hand when asked, or picking up her feet easier because she CAN.  She nickers at me every time I walk near the food bin, and is easy to catch both to take out of her stall, and in the pasture to bring her up for the night.

She's been dewormed, sand cleared, given pro biotics, bathed for rain rot, sprayed for rain rot.... this list goes on and on.  Oh sure, she looks like hell still, but it's a bit less hellish then it used to be.  Her belly is smaller, but she crapped out a lot of EWWWW.  When she arrived, her belly was distended, and we feared that there might be 2 in there.  Nope!  It was just worms and sand (and did you know that a lot of sand can give a horse a bloated look, and reduce their ability to put on weight?).   We can see her top line filling in though.  She used to look like her back was carved out on either side of her spine, but now, she appears to be just plain old normal thin.  She's also gone into heat, and she's starting to grow a winter coat!  I'm so happy with that for only a week's progress.

But of course that's not all the stuff that is happening.  Last weekend Jae managed to do some trims on a few horses.  He pushed himself too hard, and then had a filly decide to be silly.  She reared up on him, and wrenched his back out.  We're not sure if that's what caused the problem completely, but it definitely was a contributing factor.  So, last weekend, he was walking around half gimped, started to get better, and went back to work.  Not much work though, I had him on light duty, but even that was too much.  He did it again.  Monday morning Jae woke up, unable to move.  He couldn't sit up with out help, and walking would almost bring him to his knees.

Of course, my parents had gone out of town to celebrate their aniversary.  They were married in 1968, and are still together, so I think they DESERVE the holiday!  In case you're math deficient like me, that's 43 years of marriage! 

So here I am trying to care for Jae, and 34 horses... ALONE.  One of those is a full time job, but both became insane.  By the end of the day I was having a personal pity party, and about to bawl my eyes out.  I hadn't stopped moving from 7am until midnight!  It doesn't really sound like much: feed and care for the horses.  But lets break this down a bit for you.  That's 15 stalls to clean, 2 hours of feeding, and I feed 3 times a day.  Between both of those, there's 8 hours already.  Plus I had to check on Jae all day long, make him food, help him get up, get down, and move around, and then the dogs. 

Have I mentioned that my dogs have the worst timing?  I'd sit down for a coffee, and they had to go out NOW.  I would head into the bathroom, and another would have to go out NOW.  I went out to the barn, and they wanted in the kennel, but once I was cleaning a stall, they would bark to come in.  I must have made the trip back and forth a million times from the house to the barn.

And poor Jae!  I doped him up on just about everything I could.  By evening, I even resorted to alcohol (thanks Chris for the mead by the way).  At least he had video games to play though, which kept him still, and entertained, but he's a coffee drinker.  I'd come in, make a pot of coffee, and fix him a super sized cup of it, only to do the same when I returned 30 minutes later.

The hardest part was figuring out who to ignore.  Do I dote on Jae, and not clean stalls?  Do I spend the whole 2 hours feeding, or take breaks to check on Jae?  The dogs want to play, but I have no time, will they be ok if I ignore them for a day?  There just wasn't enough of me to take care of every one.

Tuesday, he was better.  He still couldn't really move, but he didn't hurt when he was still.  I found my stash of serious meds ( I have rheumatoid arthritis, so have a small amount of the "good" stuff) and doped him up on those.  Muscle relaxers worked!  By Wednesday morning, he could make his own coffee, and wander around a bit.  Today, he seems even better.  I still won't let him do much, besides wander around and maybe drive the tractor (which we use to carry the grain around) but it's progress in the right direction.

The interesting thing though, was what an eye opener it is.  I've seen many Back Yard breeders with 30 horses, and only a single person in charge of them.  We try to keep 3 people full time working with the horses, so that no one person has more then 10 horses to really dote on, and half of those are too young to do much, or need much work.  There's NO WAY I could handle this many horses on my own!  It really has made me appreciate the help I get from everyone.

And did I mention that Lady's here in training?  Well, luckily Monday was my day off, and Tuesday Erika came up for a lesson, so I ended up not riding either day (I had planned to ride Tuesday, but it didn't happen).  Wednesday, I worked Lady out, to stretch and get some kinks out of her muscles.  She's a touch sore, but nothing bad.  She has been a saint for me though.  She's so calm, and mellow, and riding her is simply a pleasure, not a job. 

I may have a few more things coming up soon.  I've been BUSY.  I'm hoping a horse has found her new home (fingers crossed) and I might just have the perfect new lesson horse (can you say BIG?) but I am kinda feeling like I'm losing my mind here.  Today, I get to ride Lady again, and then spend all day at the computer looking for information on a specific horse for a foundation registration.  I figure though, since Jae is stuck in a chair, it's a good time to teach him to do the pedigree research!  Soon, I will be able to pass that job off too.

Oh, and if you want to keep up with Moon's progress, stop over to Rachel's blog!  Give her a friendly comment, as she's just decided to start blogging, and make her a blogging addict! 


  1. My goodness! You are a busy bee my blogger friend! I'm delighted that you are so gifted at writing, that you can post about your life even when you're so busy. You're truly inspirational!
    I'm glad that Jae is feeling better.
    Now I'm off to check out Rachel's blog!

  2. I feel your pain, my guy has a herniated disk which makes him on again off again (mostly on) in incredible pain. Something your guy may want to try can be found at Wal-Mart in the first aid section. There's clay packs that you can either stick in the freezer or in the microwave, they come in REAL handy since they're clay (of sorts) they conform to the shape of your back when you lay on them. They'd probably be useful for horses as well, since they come with a sleeve with a velcro attachment so you can wrap it around a limb.

  3. If you need anything, just call, silly.

  4. wow busy!!! I sure hope your man mends fast!

    Speaking of Pedigree... I'm coming up with blanks so I'll just send you want very little I have. =(

  5. Poor Jae. Poor you!

    I can totally sympathize with the ouchy back muscles, though. Sometime between Friday and Sunday I did a number on my neck and right shoulder and everything seized up back there. We were camping all weekend, so it's possible I just strained it with all the lifting and moving I did. Or perhaps our german shepherd yanked the leash a little hard.
    I don't know for sure, but the pain was so horrible by Monday that I went into my doctor who set me up with muscle relaxers, pain meds and 6 weeks of physical therapy. I've been doped up and mostly in bed since Sunday night and am still hurting.

    So, feel better Jae! And know that you're not alone!