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.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

So it's been busy around here!

Well, as you know, I'm riding Katy in the SGK Ride for the Cure.  Katy isn't exactly an experienced horse, so I'm doing my best to put as many hours on her between now and then as possible.  And, hopefully, she'll surpass my expectations.  So far, she's on track.

You see, the thing I've been the most worried about, is getting her comfortable with other horses being worked around her.  I normally ride alone (Jae watches over me, but it's just me and the horse in the arena working).  To deal with this, I've been grabbing Katy for my pony parties each Sunday.  And Katy?  Well, she's been wonderful about it.

Today, I pulled her up, and dawdled.  I brushed her, picked her feet, sat for a bit, put on her saddle, played with her hair, and then bridled her.  I did this and that, and left her standing tied outside the arena, just where everyone was mounting.  She got a good view of the show, and had to stand quietly while they played.

So then, I took her in, and got on.  Ok, I have to admit, she bluffed me a bit.  I asked her to walk on, and she didn't.  I got her to follow another horse (Midnight, an older mare she trusts) and we got so far and she just lost steam.  I tried this, and tried that, but didn't want to push her too hard.  You know, it's kinda scary having all those OTHER horses out there, right?

Yeah, uh, not so much.

KatyDid just thought it was HOT.

I finally stepped off, and grabbed a dressage whip (like a crop, but with a flickly end, not a whumpy end - yeah, technical terms, I know).  I tapped her rump while holding the reins, and used her verbal command 'WALK!".  She walked.

Repeat a few times with me steering from her shoulder while walking beside her, and she started moving off the verbal rather then the tap.  I climbed back on (my first time on her with a whip) and asked nicely.  When she blew me off, I touched her ribs (just behind my leg) with the crop, as I tapped with my leg, and we walked on.  She got praise, and from then on, walked out fine.

The best part?  Katy could care less that any horses were working around her.  My mom trotted behind us on Midnight.  Leah zipped around on Jaz with his rhythm beads jingling, and Sarah made bends and turns on Ishka through the middle.  Katy barely even flicked an ear at it all.  Other horses, and what they are doing is totally acceptable to her.  Now, going outside of the ARENA is a bit less comfortable, but we're taking baby steps here.

So all in all, I was happy.  I think she carried me for about 45 minutes before she "complained" about it.  Her only complaint was to get really heavy on the forehand, and saggy in the back, which means she's tired of lugging my butt around.  She didn't stop, just got "ugly".  So rather then get her in that habit, I quit.

And what did I do after that you might ask?  Well....

I spent some time on Midnight, hung out with friends....and then I agreed to hold someone's little white pony.

Yep, Leah asked me to hold Daltrey while she tested him out.  Now, that's HER story to share, but... Lets just say it was a GOOD day around here.

Hot, muggy, and definitely summer, but a great day for me.

And for those observant enough to catch it, yes, Katy is wearing a pelham bit in that picture.  I removed the curb chain, and have the only rein on the snaffle ring.  Why a pelham then?  Because I had bits too big, and too small, but the only ones that fit her right now are O rings, and Katy really needs a D ring or full cheek.  I cheated!  I'm also about to go buy me some BIG bits now that I have more then 1 big mouth on the property that's old enough to ride consistently.  I can't have the same bridle on Midnight and Katy, and poor Ni Ni can't wear anything else.

Eesh... I'm gonna have a few dozen bridles hanging in my tack room at this rate!  Ah well, it'll be so nice to have the Sugarbush horses old enough to ride!  I've been waiting for this for YEARS!  And yep, I'm thrilled about it.

1 comment:

  1. Since I'm no longer blogging, you can share whatever you want :-)