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, April 12, 2012

What are your goals?

As I sit here drinking too much coffee, and peeking out the window too much, waiting for Jinx to finally decide that she'll let me meet the next baby, I started thinking.  When it comes to horses we all have goals.  We might not know that we do at first, though, yet when a friend asks if you want to do something, your either do, or do not.

Goals don't have to be big things.  While some one out there might want to win the Olympics, someone else might just want to pick their horse's hind feet with out a panic attack.  Both are goals, and both are worthy.

But I've always felt that knowing what your goals are is a very important step in progressing.  For me, I wanted to be a jumper - until I didn't.  Now, I just want to be a good horseman, with confidence to train my young horses, and the drive to bring my breed back.  I don't care about shows or big awards, except for how they affect my horses.  I gave up wanting to be a great jumper about the time I hit 30.  Oh, I still want to ride over fences, but I'm more worried about safety - for me and my horse - then glory.  Now my mother doesn't know what she wants to do.  She just knows that she loves her horses; up until I ask her if she wants to try something, that is.

So this got me thinking.  Most people who read my blog are "normal" horse people.  Few of us are big name trainers, and even fewer of us are getting rich from horses!  We're just horse people from all walks of life, who have a passion for these amazing critters.  So, what do YOU want to achieve with your horses?

Short term goals, long term goals, it doesn't really matter.  I'm just curious about how "normal" I am as compared to everyone else.  I want to achieve specific things, but overall, I want to enjoy my horses in a way that is good.  I want to have soft hands and a good seat.  I want to have an intuitive feel for the horse.  I want to ride into the sunset with out fear.  Those are my goals.  They don't translate well into words, but if I muddle through enough sentences, I think you can get the basic idea.  I want to ride well, English with a bit of everything else, and I want to experience it all, and have fun doing it.  And I want to do it well.  Not perfectly, just well.

My dreams are different then my goals.  I dream of one day being able to jump a 6 foot fence (it's on my bucket list... I'll wait until I have a terminal illness though, thank you very much!).  I dream of moving up the levels of dressage, on a home bred horse.  Those are my dreams, and they might not happen.... and I'm perfectly ok with that.

But my goals are what I work for everyday, for myself.  I set other goals for my horses (No Linus, you won't learn to buck when I pet you, No Oops, you can not invade my personal space just because I petted you, NO Rico, my hair is NOT hay!) but they all end up working together in the end.  I never wanted to be some fantasy horseman (Alec from the Black Stallion as an example) who has an affinity for horses that defies the odds.  Rather, I wanted to be the wrinkled smiling lady who is still riding at 101 (what's her name, sadly she passed away now).  I want to be the horseman who knows everything there is, and smiles with pride at the next generation, dropping a kind word here and a kick in the pants there.

I want to be good to my horses, and know the right answers - or where to find them.  I want to sit on a horse like I was born there.  I want to be smart enough to enjoy the moments of perfection when it happens.  I think I can achieve all of those things.  I'd like to think that I'm pretty darned close on a few.

And hey, if I happen to score well in a dressage test, even better!  If not, I sure want to have fun trying.

So, how about you?  What do YOU work to accomplish?  What do you dream of doing one day?  Are your goals and your dreams the same thing? 


  1. I want to ride confident, willing horses with confidence. Yeah, it's that simple.

  2. Elizabeth FunderburkApril 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Decade Team - at least one 50 mile ride per year, on the same horse, for ten years.  :)  Shorter term - complete my 50 this weekend with a happy sound horse!

  3. Win money on a barrel horse I've trained. Trail ride more. Ride the Advanced level at the Ride for the Cure this year.

  4. My goals (this year)
    1- to drive the pony.  IF I can find a cart & harness that I can afford.
    2- give my colts a good start before they head to the trainers for 30 days each.  Just want to give them a gentle start as 2 year olds so there is (hopefully) less drama when they're 3.
    3- get the 4 riding horses in really good shape this year.  Well, the 3 competition horses, the 4th just needs to be in nice shape for company.
    4- earn day money and/or make it to the short go on at least one of my horses for the Prov. finals (barrel racing)
    5- win a buckle at district finals (barrel racing)
    6- get the 2 geldings working nicely on cattle and start the mare on cattle
    7- find lessons I can afford and work on developing better feel & timing, improve my seat & hands, improve my confidence. 

    #7 is THE most important of the above.