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, January 25, 2012
RAIN! (And a lot of it)
Jae spent the entire day making the printer work and he got certificates printed! And I managed to get some web page work done on the SDHR site (minor tweaks, with major ones being prepared to be published). A wonderful productive and rather busy day for both of us.
And then the rain started. First it was sprinkles. I had Ash and Moon grazing the yard and the boys in their pens. None really had shelter. With the first crashing boom of thunder, I headed out to get them stalls. It was close "enough" to dinner time that I just fed horses, and locked them away. Moon went easily, but Ash, OH NO. She's feeling good, and wanted none of that "good girl" thing. Around the yard we went. She wouldn't let me catch her, and even had NO interest in the bucket of grain.
Now, there's a weed we call "Ash's flower" (common name "horse clover") and it's not only growing, but also blooming. Ash could care less about anything else. That mare wanted to eat every single stalk of it she could find... and it's pretty much covering my entire barn yard.
Eventually I gave up. By this time it's raining lightly. I moved Voodoo in with out a problem, and he was thrilled to find the dry, and the grain. Quagga was prancing, and Spot was sulking. When I went to move Spot into a stall, Ash of course decided it was PLAY TIME. She came taunting us, cantering ahead of us, laping around us, and running away if I made a move to her. Now, Spot is one of my stallions. I was so pleased that with this mare teasing him, he walked in, through the rain, like a saint. Ash got little more then an arched neck from him. Ok, Spot hates the rain, and just wanted to be INSIDE. Grabbed Quagga, and put him away (with out Ash's help this time), and then headed back to catch my mare.
After an hour, I gave up. Left 3 stalls open, closed anything she could kill herself on, and headed inside.
Dinner, relaxation, start winding down for the night, and realize that my stupid mare is still not locked in a stall. Oops!
So, somewhere after midnight, the rain gets worse. On the radar, there's this line of red that's just moving right across our place. We can hear the rain dumping on the roof, we can't see through the sheet of water falling from the sky, and we know that's a TON of water. I know we needed water, but I don't think the ground can take this much at once. And then yep, we got it... flash flood warnings.
And we have horses in pasture.
Stepped over to the fence, and we saw it. Water... LOTS of water. The ditch that runs across my property was flowing like a raging river, and over 10 feet wide. The entire lower half of the property, from the round pen, to the pond, and around in a semicircle to the ditch was flooded out. The ridges the place is named for stood like islands above the water.
And we couldn't see a single horse.
I yelled for them. And this time, I didn't stand in the middle of the horsey highway either! (Last time I tried that, I ended up calling the herd, and getting run over). It worked too. Jinx brought up the girls, and waded through the river separating us. Good, she's on high ground now, and all is well.
Arden, Amber, and Keeley wouldn't cross the water. I called Arden, and she started to, but didn't want to leave the others. She waded out into it (belly deep at the ditch... a ditch that is less then 8 inches deep when dry) and then she would turn back. The horses left were the misfits of the herd. The "weak links" that are more often ignored then pampered, and still, Jinx turned back, and waded to them.
The entire herd followed. With subtle nickers, the whole herd wandered across the tops of the ridges, and back to the dry area in the back. There was no way I could get there on foot. The current would have swept me off my feet.
So we got the tractor!
The whole thing had happened so fast, in the dark and the rain, that we didn't get a good count. We had to be sure all of the horses - ours and the clients - were safe, even if they didn't want to be dry. And so, we took a drive.
Then we drove across the newly formed lake. The water was between 2 and 4 feet deep across the property (and we're not in a flood zone!) moving fast, and covering everything, until we crossed that last hill.
Back in the far corner, in the area where I have my pet cemetery, it was high, dry, and calm. The wind was barely noticeable. Jinx had the whole herd tucked away under some evergreen trees, huddling up for warmth. Even the misfits were allowed in. We made a head count, and every one was cold and wet, but fine. We tried to cajole them up to the shelter, but they were having none of it. So we headed back.
No sooner did we get inside, then another round of torrential downpour hit us. The whole time we were out, we thought it was raining hard, but it just kept coming down harder.
The pond is now full. Not yet over flowing, but full. The horses all made it through, even if they refused to do things MY way. It's still raining, but the water has receded, and I can see the ground again. I have a whole new layer of top soil which washed in from my neighbors (Hope they didn't plant fescue!) and the grass is noticeably longer.
We spent a few hours out there, making sure that each and every horse was as happy as they could be. I have open stalls in the barn, and not a single horse would come up. Halters were a cause to run away, and I didn't think that "winning" this one was the goal. Especially not if it meant horses trying to dash away through belly deep water with who knows what under it.
And sadly, we really did need that rain.
(Edited to add pictures taken today, after the drama) The water has receded amazingly, and there's grass visible out there again!
Posted by Pinzgauer at 12:32 PM