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.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
She once was great, and will be again soon!
I learned how to start them, how to fix bad habits, and how to break problem behaviors simply because I couldn't afford anything but someone else's rejects. I began helping friends with their horses, and because I worked at a vet clinic, I eventually began to take in "unwanted" horses, and make them into a wanted horse.
So I can't say that my Second Chance program is a new thing. Rather, it is older then my breeding program. Second Chance horses are something I have always been passionate about. There's no such thing as a bad horse, just a bad past. While not all horses are able to overcome their pasts, so many could - if someone would be willing to give them a chance..... a Second Chance. And so the name has stuck.
Most dog breeders do some amount of rescue within their breed. With horses though, it seems that you should either breed OR rescue, but never both! I have never understood that, and I refuse to play by those rules. I will only breed when I think that the market can support it, and when I have time/money/room for those babies for the rest of their lives if I judged the market wrong. Even then, I often find myself with more space and time then horses needing it. When this happens, rather then breed more, I simply keep my eyes open for horses in need.
Of course, I told her. Then I get this link to a craigslist ad. Paint mare, bred pretty decently, in need of a home. The owner was ready to load her up to whom ever showed up. We're in the middle of a drought, and there are rather a lot of free horses out there, and we're pretty close to Mexico. Needless to say, it's a haven for the kill buyers. Smile, say nice things, and make a lot of money selling meat. This horse though, just grabbed me. She was raced, and retired to brood it seemed. Lovely mare, decent build, sound, and sweet. Something about her just spoke to me. And what ever that was, it was screaming at Rachel.
Come to find out, this mare is just down the street from me. Less then 15 miles away. I hooked up the truck and trailer, and headed out. When I arrived, there were a few people, and they didn't seem overly interested in the horse. No crying, no sad faces, just that look of "oh good, she's about to be gone". Now, I don't mean that they are bad people, but this obviously was not a loved and treasured pet to them.
I asked a few questions of the owners, got her papers and a signed transfer, and traded out halters. When I walked her to the trailer, she snorted and blew like it was a monster, but walked in with out missing a step. Her ground manners are excellent, and I just get this "please love me" feeling from her.
Got home, and snapped a few pictures of her for my records. Moon, as we call her, should be a black and white tobiano, but currently she's kinda tan/poo brown and white. She's thin, but her hooves were recently trimmed. And she's covered in rain rot.
Yeah, in Texas, where we are in the middle of a horrible drought, she has rain rot. And sun burn. And did I mention that she's thin? I'm also thinking she may very well be pregnant.
But besides those LITTLE problems, she's a complete angel! She's a bit long in the body, but not as bad as the pictures make it seem. We didn't really bother to stand her up all nice for a conformation shot or anything. Mostly we just wanted to document all 4 sides. So forgive my bad distracting backgrounds.
And Moon thinks she's in Heaven. The whole time I bathed her, she didn't know if she should be excited, freaking out, or melting in my arms. She wavered between all 3. She whinnied to the other horses, she woudl stand up and look all around, and then put her head in my arms for love and more of that scratching thing. She isn't really a fan of treats, but she loves to be talked to sweetly. And she has the best manners!
We trimmed her mane and tail up already. Yeah, I will likely end up shaving off her mane (it's in bad shape, and I think starting over might give the best results) but I think horses just feel better when they are kept groomed. Just like the perfect little black dress makes a woman feel pretty, a bit of pampering makes a horse feel loved, and Moon deserves to be VERY loved.
Next week I will begin tracking down her APHA records. I would love to see how many times she was raced (she earned a ROM) and how she placed. I also want to see how many foals she has had, and when. Who knows, maybe she has other show points back there some where, or an owner who is searching for her from the past. I will check all of that, and see what there is to see.
Because she appears to have lost a lot of weight rather fast, I am treating her as if she has not had steady grain for a while, and putting her on a refeeding program. I'm not sure that this is the case, but I do know that the other horses were bullying her. She will get lots of small meals through out the day for a while, until we can "work her up" to only 3 meals a day. In about a month, I will have her ultra sounded/palpated (vet's decision on which) and have her teeth checked. Vaccines will be scheduled based on the state of pregnancy (or hopefully lack thereof).
Fixing up a horse is rarely a quick thing, but I find that it is always a rewarding thing. She will be offered for sale into an approved home, and she will be trained up for our lesson program. I'm not sure which will be her future, and who knows, it could be some part of both. To me it doesn't matter. This mare just screams greatness. She may not be the next conformation champion, but she's a saint. I can totally see this horse packing around an adult novice rider, and doing her best to protect her rider and keep her stable and safe. I just envision Moon happily munching apples in a green yard with ribbons in her hair, and crazy color matched halter and polo wraps. This is the type of personality Moon is showing me.
Who knows, with an extra hundred pounds, that could change, but I will bet money that the sweet kind look in her eye will stay.
I thought previously that I was going to be taking on an appaloosa stallion, but he was placed with a family (YAY) before he ever arrived. Instead, I now have Moon. Sometimes things are meant to be, and I simply adore this girl already!
Posted by Pinzgauer at 10:35 PM