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Happy Tails - Foxless fox hunting

Horseback riding is big part of life at Sugarfoot. The dogs love it. And nice people are met along the way, including families riding four-wheelers
The next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tail: Rescue operators have to have room in their hearts

By Peg Schaeffer

In addition to our family of rescue dogs we have other four legged companions. We have six cats and twenty two horses. We brought twenty one horses from CT so we have remained steady with that number. We had a very successful Quarter Horse Sales and Breeding program. I also gave riding lessons and we had a group of talented riders that competed in horse shows.

We had three stallions standing at stud, a good line of broodmares, and quality horses for sale. We brought them to KY to continue our program but that was the time the bottom fell out of the horse market. We no longer do breeding and have a few sales now and then.

Our broodmares are now all in their 20's and I won't kick them to the curb just because there's no market anymore. When business was successful they produced foals that brought us income. It's not their fault the prices are down. So the girls are no longer barefoot and pregnant - they're just barefoot. They spend their days grazing and enjoying life.

Two donkeys and more are at Sugarfoot Farm

We have two donkeys - Eeyore and Delilah, a mule - Dolly, a Percheron draft mare - Rose, four minis - Goliath, Summer, Linda & Little Boy Blue, some ponies, and some show horses - Garnet, Whitney, and Miah. My main stallion, Blue is Impressive, died of old age at the ripe old age of 30 and I have his daughter, Clover, to remind me of him. We still have one Quarter Horse stallion - Fourever So Rugged, aka "Dublin", who is still willing and able to sire some foals but hasn't had the opportunity in a few years.

Showing jumpers is the greatest feeling in the world

When time allows I show Jumpers, which is the greatest feeling in the world, flying over fences. Whitney, my black Quarter Horse mare, is semi-retired. She has her fair share of winnings and is 19 years old. But whenever I get the urge to fly she's always ready. She's small but has wings on her hooves and can jump like the big horses.

My other jumper Is Garnet, a warmblood mare that I raised. I used to show her dam, Silver Etching and her sire, Graf Rossini S, is a grand prix jumper. She's a great jumper and can jump 4'6". (Notice I said "she" can. I'm comfortable at 3'6" and sometimes 3'9" but the ground has gotten a lot harder than it was when I was younger and I don't bounce as well as I did.)

I still enjoy trail riding and it brings the dogs and horses together. We have 125 acres of land, still a gentleman's farm by most standards, and when we go riding we don't have to go on the road. We can ride for hours without encountering a car. There are plenty of trails forged by the four wheelers, pastures to race in and lots of streams to cross.

Last Sunday was a beautiful day so I saddled up Garnet and my friend, Morgan, rode Banjo. The dogs can anticipate when we're going for a ride and they ran in circles barking ready to hit the trails. We rode to the bottom of the hill with our mule, Dolly, following along. We went through the gate and out to the trails leaving Dolly behind. But Dolly wasn't staying at home. She jumped the fence and came along for the ride. She would canter ahead of us, stop and eat some grass and when we got ahead of her would gallup past us and wait for us to catch up. She's really a riot to watch and enjoys her hikes in the woods.

The dogs usually race ahead of us scaring up any creatures they can. I don't know what they'd do if they caught anything. They just love the joy of the chase. Our horses learn quickly not to spook at dogs popping out of the grass in front of them or crashing up behind them in the woods. Everyone loves a stream to cross. The dogs will flop in the water and drink, the horses might take a sip of water, and Dolly, she just splashes through so she can keep the lead.

We had been riding for a while and came upon a group of riders on their four wheelers. Imagine the looks on their faces when Dolly, leading the parade, came crashing up to them. She checked out the funny looking machines and then snorted by. Then dogs came out of everywhere, running and jumping, happy to greet other folks out for the day. Garnet and I came up and one of the riders commented on her size and my lack of size. He said "You sure have a long way to fall off" and I smartly replied "That's why I try hard not to fall off". Those words are still haunting me.

Yet to meet rude people on four wheelers

I have yet to meet rude people on four wheelers. I get a kick out of families we may meet out riding - adults driving with kids in tow. What a great way to spend time with your family. Outside in the fresh air enjoying nature. If we meet on the trails the riders usually turn their machines off and let us pass by. There's no reason we can't all share these trails. The other thing that is so different than Connecticut is that the land owners don't mind if you ride on their property.

As long as you don't cut fences or trample their crops they are very amenable. When I first moved here and went trail riding I realized I was on someone else's property when I ended up in their backyard. I apologized again and again. They told me there wasn't a problem and even offered me a glass of water. In Connnecticut, people are very territorial and don't take kindly to people riding on their land. One landowner ever went so far as to tell me I had to pick up any manure my horse left behind. So riding here is enjoyable because of the generosity of the farmers.

Morgan and I proceeded down the trail and ended up near a pasture full of cows. We know how curious cows can be and they decided to come to the fence and check us out. Now anyone who owns horses knows how they sometimes just look for an excuse to spook. Garnet snorted, ears upright looking at these strange creatures. There is a pasture full of cows across the street from her pasture but today she'd never seen a cow before. She was so focused on the cows and trying to plan her escape route that she backed into a fallen tree limb. The branch touched her side and that was the excuse she was looking for.

Garnet bucked and catapulted rider over her head

She reared, bucked, and catapulted me over her head. Thank God I always wear a helmet when I ride because I landed head first on the ground. I hit so hard it broke the visor on my helmet. Then Garnet's mind came back and she looked down at me on the ground as if to say "what are you doing there?"

After that we decided to head back. My head was pounding and Garnet decided she could find even more things to spook at. Even though she'd seen them on the way out on the way back they were much scarier. My smart remark about not falling off kept going through my mind. When I started riding it seemed I spent more time on the ground than on the horse. The cowboy saying was that every time you fall off it makes you a better rider. Well I must be the best rider in the world. I've had more than my fair share of bumps and bruises. Luckily no broken bones except for two finger and a few cracked ribs.

The way back seemed much faster. It usually is because the horses step up the pace since they're headed home. The dogs seemed disappointed though. They hadn't caught any wild beasts yet. We unsaddled and groomed the horses and called it a day.

Today's a nice day - I think I'll go for a trail ride.
Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-04-14 14:58:42
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Happy Tails - Dogs enjoy a mud bath

2013-04-14 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer.
Along the trail, the dogs like to stop for a mud bath.

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Eeyore is important equine at Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

2013-04-15 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. Dogs at Sugarfoot Farm Rescue love the equine members of the pack. Eeyore is a favorite. Happiest times for the dogs is when they get to go on a trail ride through the rural landscape. Poor Eeyore, he doesn't get to make those.
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