Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shamelessly stolen from Daun

Daun at The Eventing Percheron recently put up a really well-thought-out post regarding Brego's ancestry: The Eventing Percheron: The Brego Identity. I thought I'd share what I know about Poppy's background.

I've had Poppy since February '07. I think I sweet-talked my husband into buying him as a Valentine's Day present. I'm not entirely sure why I wanted him. I'd thought Poppy was a big beautiful sweetie since I first saw him, back in 06 before I even owned my own horse. I'd done well with Champ and Silky, and I wanted to try (pick your favorite word) breaking / training a green horse. And I had the stupid forlorn hope that my husband would one day ride him. Well, two outta three ain't bad!

I got him from the barn manager, who was going through one of her biannual "oh fuck this I have too many horses I'm going to sell some!" crises. The manager, J, had owned Poppy since he was a weanling - 6 or 7 months old, and as big as a small Quarter Horse. J's a big woman who decided that she wanted a horse she wouldn't feel like she was squashing. Unfortunately, she's also scared of heights - and Poppy just kept growing. She kept him long after she realized she'd never ride him, because she didn't want him ending up pulling a carriage.* I bought him on the condition that as long as I board out there, I will never sell him to anyone but her - a verbal buyback clause. (We're rednecks, and we don't tend to write stuff down. Nobody has the money to hire a lawyer to sue for enforcement, anyway. Except me, I suppose.)

Anyway, J purchased young Poppy from a lady who'd rescued two pregnant PMU Percherons from Canada. After the lady got her two Percherons and turned them out with her five QHs and watched two drafts become four drafts, she realized she didn't have the pasture for all of them. So she sold Poppy to J. The first owner is the one who named Poppy, and nobody has a good explanation for his name. But it's very him. Sometimes I call him Big Boo, but Poppy is much more dignified.

So Poppy is technically a grade horse. But he's very drafty. His head, nose to ears, is probably a yard long. His feet are like dinner plates. His legs are still very narrow, like a hitch-type draft, but his torso's finally starting to fill out. I suppose he could be a Perch x draft, but he's sure not a Perch x light horse. And like Brego - he's black, with a star, not much feathering, and that's pretty damn Percheron-y. Calling Poppy a Percheron is like calling my double-coated otter-tailed water-loving yellow retriever a Labrador.

*Re: carriages. There's nothing wrong, per se, with having a horse earn his own living. And certainly nothing wrong with having a draft pull something to earn his bale of hay a day! But the Memphis carriage horses are heartbreaking. They're started young, worked hard, shod with metal and those goofy rubber shoes that do nothing to ease the concussion, and then sold to bleeding-heart fools or the meat market when they break down at 10-15. There's a new lady at the barn, a slightly insane "furbaby" type, who bought a lovely red roan Belgian from the carriage people. He's 11, with such bad navicular that he can't be ridden on anything harder than dirt. He's ELEVEN. A draft should, with luck, still be working happily til he's at least 20. And *that* is why I just cannot bring myself to sell Poppy. I'd love for him to go to someone like Daun, but odds are, he'd end up downtown.

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