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.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Ride for the Cure, with KatyDid!

This year, I have decided to take part in the Susan G Komen Ride for the Cure.  Our team, the "North Texas Nags" is growing, and raising money to help in the fight against breast cancer.  Most of the money raised is used locally too!  Now, most people know about SGK their work to help find a cure, or at least to help women get early diagnoses for breast cancer, but for me, this is a bit personal.

My aunt passed way from Breast Cancer.  My cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It runs in my family, and one day, the chances that I will have breast cancer is pretty high.  So, I'm going to toss in a few shameless plugs here, for myself and my team.  We need to raise $250 dollars to attend this ride.  I'm not there yet.  Many of my team mates aren't there yet.  We just need a few dollars from a few people, and we can make a very nice, and very large difference.  So, click here to donate to me on this ride, ANY amount is so greatly appreciated!

No, this whole post is not one big plea for money (just a few small ones!).  Actually, my reason for posting this, is because I'm planning to take Katy Did on the ride!  Yes, Katy, my "new' girl.  Ok, she's been here since she was a yearling, and she's now 5, but she's previously been for sale.  NOW, I own her...or will just as soon as the mail arrives!

But Katy has always been sensible.  She's doing very well under saddle, and she's a brilliant horse.  She's a solid 15.3 hands, which is perfect for me, and wide enough to feel like I'm sitting a sofa.  Did I mention her gaits are as smooth as glass?  Yeah, basically she's EXACTLY the kind of horse you want on a long ride.  There's only one problem you see....

She's never gone on trail rides before.

Now, those who know me, know that I am NOT a trail rider.  I love my arena.  I don't dislike the trails, but I've had a few bad experiences that always made me dread heading out.  No, not what you're thinking... it's not the bolts or the spooks that got me.  Rather, it's the crowd I hung out with. 

Since I've got more saddle time then many of my friends, I always end up the "helper".  A novice rider's horse acts up, and I trade out with them, and then fight the horse the whole trip.  A piece of tack fails, and I get off, fix it, or sub from something I have with me on my horse, and make do the whole trip.  A horse is known to have issues with a specific hazard (water crossings?) and I get off and walk through it.... and I HATE wet feet!

Yeah, I'm complaining, but I'm also not complaining.  You see, I can do some of these things, and make it back alive, while other riders (like my dad, or a first time rider) can't always do that.  I'd MUCH rather see every one have a great time.  Me... well I get to ride all week long, so I can blow a single ride, and it's a small segment of my riding time that week.  But if it's your only chance to ride all week... all month, or god forbid, in the last decade, the that rider DESERVES to have a good ride!

Needless to say, countless trail rides of something going wrong, and me fighting a horse the whole ride, resulted in me just not having much desire to ride out.  It's not that I hate the trails, it's just that I found myself enjoying the arena work so much more.  My favorite time to ride is actually when we're alone.  Jae working on something keeping an eye on me, and the horse and I can focus completely on each other.  Every question asked has an answer, every response has a reply from me.  It's a conversation with out words, just emotions.  My idea of a great time with a horse.

But now, I have friends who are solid on their horses, and competent enough to handle their own problems.  Leah has morphed into quite the accomplished horse woman in the short time she's had horses, and Rachel is one of those lucky enough to have horses most of her life.  Both will be riding with us on this ride, and both will be MY moral support this time.

The rest of our team is also made up of good horsewomen, and most likely one very amazing up and coming horseman.  The horses are all solid, or their riders have put a support structure in place to prepare for the "what ifs".

I have a back up though.  If Katy isn't ready, I will be riding Poko, Leah's old "bad boy".  Poko is a trail champ, and knows more then I do.  So why am I taking Katy?  Because my gut says it's the right thing to do.  Katy's going to be my show an exhibition horse, so... why not get her started?

And of course, I am going to play "dress up" with myself and my horsey.  I think Katy's color is fuchsia.  I have always thought Katy would look good in fuchsia or magenta, and had planned to deck her out in these colors anyway.  So, this is my excuse to get her a lovely costume ready for exhibitions (and we plan to use her to show off the SDHR horses at exhibitions).  I'm NOT a pink lover (I am a fan of "ugly" colors like chocolate, mustard, or rust) so this will be a bit exciting for me as well.  All this pink, all around me.  It'll be enough to make me want to puke. 

But it's for a good cause!

Did I mention that I'm raising money for the ride?  (Told you there'd be a few small pleas for cash!)

We only NEED to raise $150 more so we can actually attend this ride, but I hope to be able to raise more then that!  The donation form doesn't list an amount smaller then $25, but you CAN choose "enter an amount" and donate as little as $1.  If most of my readers do that, then we'll make the mark easily, AND we'll be doing our part to help women fight breast cancer! 

The way I see this, is that breast cancer is like horses... it's one of the few things in this world that is filled almost completely with women.  Oh sure, there are horsemen, but lets not forget that men CAN get breast cancer.  So what better way to raise money for such a female biased thing, then with another female biased thing!

But - back to the horses - I will be attempting our first group outing with Katy tomorrow.  I may not ride (depending upon her level of nervousness) but we will walk around at the pony party, all dressed up, and ready to go.  If this works out, then we will slowly work up to more and more rides, and bigger and bigger challenges for both of us.

We are also going to have to make up her costume, try it on, and make sure she accepts everything that goes with it.  You'll have to wait and see what plans I have for her (and I might need some suggestions on what the hell I need to wear to go with it).

But for today, I'm asking for help from all my trail friends out there.  What do I need to be sure and introduce Katy to, before taking her out on the trails?  What have you come across on the trails that you wished you had exposed your horse to?  I'm a novice trail rider, so I just don't think of all the many things that experienced trail riders have to face.  I know it takes skills, and I know I don't have them, nor the experience.  So I'm begging for advice and suggestions.

And a bit of money too (I think 3 pleas is enough, don't you?  Sick of it yet?)

Thanks for the support y'all.  And I hope you take the links for donations with the humor and fun it's intended to have.  BUT, if you help me meet my goal... I promise to post picture of me in lots and lots of pink.  On the internet..... for ever.  If THAT isn't worth $5 bucks, I don't know what is!


  1.  Credit where it is due my friend.... you have come a long way from when we first met, and done so with flying colors.  You DO know that you now have to pay it forward =)

  2. First - Proud of you for taking on the task of getting Katy Did ready.  She will rock it and you know it!

    Second - because I trail ride extensively - What blows Rosie's greenish mind are the following:
    1. A step down into a ditch/creek/whatever then straight up a hill.  I believe because of eye sight, depth preception etc that she thinks I'm asking her to walk right into a wall.

    2. People / hikers stepping off the trail to get out of our way.  Which is the correct thing to do, but to Rosie they are hiding in the woods, just off tail, to ambush and eat us.

    3. Trash - like trash bags stuck on a tree,old tires etc. 

    I've never taken her over a bridge on the trail - mostly because I'm afraid it won't hold us.  I always opt to take the water.  I know Rosie will go just fine through any water. even deep water.  I've had her up to her chest before.

  3. Z doesn't like bugs flying around. But what really triggers him are large hoards of butterflies that we ride past & decide to take flight underneath him. We did an awesome 'airs above ground' that most Lippazaners would be proud of & that also strained my already strained neck muscles. Was in bed the next day.

    Roots are another thing, partially exposed across the trail. Same for rocks. Most young horses always do a double-take. Strange looking weeds.

    I would set up a kind of obstacle course. Get a couple of cones & put pinwheels in them. Maybe a round bale ring with streamers hanging off (set on side like a car wash to walk through - I've done a ride with that as an obstacle). Get the shiny aluminum looking balloons & tie them by frequented areas. Work with ground poles, maybe even partially bury some here & there.