Sugarbush Draft Horse Registry
Dedicated to Preserving one of the last American Draft Horse breeds
Returning from the Brink of Extinction
Sugarbush Harley's Classic O. His offspring have proven his quality as a sire, giving us reason to believe in the revival of the Sugarbush Draft Horse breed.
© 2010 Sugarbush Draft Horse Registry, all rights reserved. Website design by Spotted Horse Productions
This page was last updated: June 6, 2013
Rare breeds are exciting and capture the imagination of horse owners and lovers alike. Sadly, the reality is never as romantic as the history.
In 2008, the Sugarbush Registry began a head count, and could only track 12 living horses in the breed. Many of these horses share similar blood lines, and only one purebred and unrelated breeding pair was left. With out serious intervention, the breed would be decimated in only one more generation.
With so few dedicated breeding farms, and a tradition of breeding only for excellence, finding a solution to the lack of genetic diversity has not been easy. Our plan is threefold:
- Increase awareness of this exotic and rare breed of horse.
- Allow cross breeding and "breeding up" to increase genetic diversity.
- Encourage the registration of Foundation Horses, many of whom could be descendants of Sugarbush Drafts lost to the Registry.
By increasing awareness of this breed, we hope to attract new members and Sugarbush Draft Horse owners. No breed can survive with only a handful of people dedicated to it. Horses need humans after all. Awareness will also bring knowledge of the ideal Sugarbush Draft Horse. We should never sacrifice quality to get quantity, and by allowing easy access to information on the Sugarbush Draft Horse, we hope that the standard of the breed will be kept true to type.
Because of the shortage of unrelated horses, crossbreeding is our only option. After heavy consideration, we realized that the physical traits that makes the Sugarbush Draft Horse ideal as a riding horse are not often found in many other draft breeds. Again, our gene pool was limited because this breed is simply like no other, so the decision was made to allow breeding to light horses, and a system set in place to allow for multiple generational programs.
With the options available for increasing genetic diversity through breeding, we also know that many Sugarbush Draft Horses were lost through the years. Others have bred quality horses with a similar idea in mind, not realizing that they were simply following an American tradition. For years our culture has prided ourselves on improving upon what came before. Is adding unique color and altering conformation to suit an alternate discipline any different? So we have again begun to accept Foundation horses. These are horses who exhibit the ideal characteristics of the Sugarbush Draft Horse, but are not directly descended from a known registered horse.
We know that reviving a breed from the brink of extinction will not be easy, but the members of the Sugarbush Draft Horse Registry are determined to try.