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, April 20, 2012

Jinx had her baby, any guesses about what gender?

Well, if you were like me, and said "it's GOT to be a boy this time" .... we were all WRONG!

It's a lovely, healthy, very well "cooked" baby girl.  She is black, with 2 high whites on her hind legs, a white sock on her left front, and a nice pretty wide blaze.  No, she doesn't have polka dots, and shows no traits for LP either.  She's a "solid".

Me, I'm THRILLED with her.  She seems to have all of the traits I wanted, and none of those I didn't.  She's also HUGE.  I can't wrap my fingers around her cannon bones, and she's more then waist high on me, and she hasn't even unfolded.

But, as you might have seen, I was starting to get really tired of foal watch.  Jinx was 11 days over due, and I've been ready to be up early and RIDING.  With that said, I wasn't willing to just pass out and take the risk of missing a problem, and waking up to a dead mare or foal.  So, I stayed up.

But earlier, I had this thought.  Maybe Jinxy needs to walk a bit.  That's supposed to help women in labor, right?  I'll turn her out in the paddock with the other 2 mares and foals.  They all get along, and there's so much grass and clover in there, even if she DOES foal, it will be a nice clean bed.  Keep in mind that I've never been able to catch Jinx foaling.  The first time, I had to pee.  I was in the HOUSE looking out a window, and some how she still knew when I looked away!  The second time, I needed a coffee.  Yeah, again, looking out a window.

So this time, I stopped staring.  I checked on her every 2 hours, from a remote location (I walked up the street side, and looked through the black house, or between the garage and the black house) then headed back inside if she didn't show any signs of labor.  My thinking being that since she's done it alone before, i just need to check for a problem.

So, a storm was expected to blow in tonight.  I spent the evening on the tractor, mowing the pasture, trying to knock down some weeds before it rained.  about 9:45pm, I quit (city ordinances and all).  When I headed back into the house, I stopped and checked Jinx over.  Her udder had shrunk to almost nothing.  I thought, well, she can only hold out 10 more days or so, right?  I actually had the conscious thought "it can't be tonight" and headed in.

I had dinner, I had a very nice long hot bath, I goofed off a bit, and then at midnight, I stuck my head out to look at the girls.  The storm wasn't expected for a few hours, so I thought "I'll just leave them out a bit longer".  At this time, Jinx was about half way down the paddock, under a street light, very visible, and eating grass very well.  No signs of anything out of the ordinary.  In fact, it was some what disheartening.

So, about 1am the thunder started.  I decided to check on the babies again, and see how Jinx was doing.  It wasn't expected to do more then sprinkly according to the weather channel, so I thought "if Jinx is still acting normal, I'll leave her out too".  They have a shelter.  The babies will be FINE.  Me and my trusty flashlight went wandering the paddock, counting noses.

I got 3/4 of the way down the paddock, and spotted a horse in the dark.  My poor little LED flashlight doesn't light up distances very well, but I could see white and dark... it's Dove and Raven.  Ok, looks like Raven is up and nursing, so she's fine.  Called to Dove, and she didn't come to me.  Now, THAT is weird!

As I'm headed to check Dove, Dream comes up on my other side.  How a leopard mare with a white foal can "sneak" in the dark is beyond me, but she's good at it.  Linus nibbled on my sleeve, and he and Dream looked perfectly happy.  I kept walking to Dove, and was looking for Jinx.

Then I realized what Dove was staring at was Jinx.  I pointed the flashlight in Jinx's direction, but only got some faint white markings lit up.  I pointed at Dove, and she and Raven seemed ok.  Raven was wanting to nurse again, but Dove was VERY interested in Jinx.  Back the light goes, between one horse and the other, while I'm walking and talking to them, getting closer each step.

About 100 feet away, the weak little flashlight picks up extra white below Jinx.  Wait... Jinx had too many legs!  I got closer, and kept seeing extra white socks under Jinx.  A few steps more, and the baby could be seen.  "It" was up and nursing, and Jinx was NOT her normal quiet and calm self.  She was on high alert.  I made sure to talk to her, put the flashlight on ME, so she could see it was a human, and kept a discrete distance until her body language changed.  At one point Dove took my approach to mean SHE could come closer too, and I got to dodge out of the way as Jinx stormed past me.

Now, keep in mind, getting run over by horses is one of the few fears I have no yet overcome.  I admit, my heart beat faster, but I also realized that Jinx, while protective, did NOT charge ME.  She actually went AROUND me.

As I caught my breath, I saw Jae walk out the back door of the house.  I yelled at him, "We have an extra horse!" and he walks right back inside.  I knew he had heard me, and also knew he was putting up the dog he had been about to let out, and coming to assist.  Jae's good like that.

I stood there talking to Jinx, and keeping Dove away while Jae made his way to us.  I tried to see the baby, but Jinx turning kept the baby turning.  I thought I saw 'dangly bits' and since I had assumed it would be a colt, I began using the pronoun "he".  Jinx let me pet her, but it was very obvious that she would prefer I didn't play with the baby yet.  Since she was trying to be good, I didn't push the issue.  I croned at her, and petted her head and neck, and waited for Jae.

Just as he got close, Jinx realized her OTHER person was there, and started marching.  She headed off in the direction of the barn.  By this time, the storm was coming in.  Thunder was close, and a few drops were falling.  We followed her most of the way, and Jae jogged ahead to open the gate for her Majesty.  My job was keeping Dove and Dream (and the other kids) from getting too close and getting stomped.  All was well until we hit the alley.  Jinx had to stop and show Nazar her newest foal, and Dove wanted to see too.  A bit of arm waving, some jumping, and a bucket of grain being shook, and she was back in motion.

Jinx is kinda spoiled.  She knows which stall is hers, and she headed RIGHT there.  When she realized we'd locked the other horses away, her stress went down, and my good girl started to show again.  The baby got "stuck" going around the outside of the barn, and lost momma for a second, and Jinx just turned to look at me like "well? Aren't you going to do YOUR job?".

Yeah, I escorted her foal up to her hip, and we made it into the stall.  With the lights on, and baby in hand, I took the opportunity to check the kid over.  That "colt" wasn't a colt at all.  With her tail flapping in my face, she was very obviously a filly.  I even double checked to be sure.  Three girls in a ROW?  YAY!

Both mare and foal looked perfect.  Umbilical cord broke just right (and was the dangly bit I had seen earlier), Jinx looked perfect in the back end, and the filly was obviously up and moving well.  After a few minutes, Jinx flicked her ears back, and moved gently between me and the foal, and I knew my time was up.  The little girl showed me that she's got nursing down (front leg, ribs... ah, that's the spot!) and Jinx was being as good of a mother as always.

Jae did his thing... he fed her.  The mares ALWAYS get an extra feeding after they foal.  I got her ample hay, we added an extra water bucket... and the rain hit.  The skies opened up, and dumped.  A quick dart through the storm, and I had enough time to announce the birth on facebook, crab my camera, wake my mother (because she would kill me if I didn't) and get a few (bad) pictures.

For me, this means I get to sleep in tomorrow (today)!  After that, I'm back to a "normal" time schedule, and I get to enjoy the spring days.  I now have 3 AMAZING babies, and I couldn't be happier with them.  I can't believe it's a GIRL!  I wanted a girl SO badly, but didn't think it would happen.  I could squeal I'm so happy.


  1. Congratulations - she looks like a beauty!

  2. A hearty congratulations that all is well.  Nice filly too boot.  I'm still waiting...and squeezing...and waiting

  3. That's awesome! Congratulations.

  4. congratulations! Another beauty , born safely without issue, as it should be 

  5.  Oh, I really LIKE Steel Magnolia!

  6.  Steel Magnolia!  Love it!

  7. Glad I was up and saw the FB birth announcement!  Meant to say it then and forgot (too busy looking at baby pics)  Pretty sure you have plenty of barn names in mind but may I suggest Hailey (I believe you said it started to hail shortly after getting them in the barn)

  8. Aww shes adorable!