The Shortcake


Back to the little mare–

She’s a pretty thing.

She came into rescue not long after we took Patriot and Zip, so we hadn’t seen her at that time. She wasn’t a starvation case. She was bought from a horse trader who was using her as a brood mare, which is a tough life for a little mare. She gave birth soon after to a healthy foal and he has now been adopted out. I was fortunate to be able to have her at the trainer’s this week for riding and evaluation. She knows all of her basic commands and is safe to ride. She may be a Paso/Quarter cross. (She doesn’t gait, after all, so there is probably Quarter in there.) The trainer’s evaluation is that she has been ridden–a lot–based on her behavior undersaddle. She’s calm, but she has a nice get-up-and-go when you ride her, and she does what you tell her to do. She’ll even take a verbal whoa. He thinks she’d make a good horse for us.

I want a short horse.

Big horses freak me out a little bit.

She’s so sturdy, you don’t feel like you’re squashing her. She’s 13.3 hands but substantial. (Okay, she’s a little chubby, but she just had a baby and you know how that is!) I can climb on her back just putting my foot in the stirrup, right off the ground. I like that a lot. (And no, to the comment asking if I was tall, maybe 5’8″, no, I’m not that tall! I’m 5’6″. I’m not too tall for her. I was comfortable riding her.)

I was going to foster her, but there are now other adopters interested in her so I had to make up my mind. With all thumbs up for her, I decided to adopt her. Now I have to decide what to name her. (Feel free to make suggestions. I’ve been calling her Shortcake, but I don’t know that that will stick. Morgan wants to call her Sausage, and that is NOT sticking!)

Oh, and about that milking thing….


When I first arrived at the trainer’s the other evening, there were a couple of little girls there, fresh from their riding lessons, hugging on the little mare while their mama was waiting on them to go. They just couldn’t love on her enough, and she just stood there calmly.

Later, we were “horsing around” with her, seeing if one could simply sling a leg over her without even using the stirrup (well, THAT would be hard, but easy with the stirrup) and then we had the idea to wonder if she still had milk, and of course, we had to check, and next thing you know I was milking her. Then I remembered I shouldn’t milk her because she’s drying up and I don’t want to be stimulating her to produce more milk. Well, there’s probably something wrong with that sentence, as in that’s not the only reason I shouldn’t be milking her. (!) But anyway! That was fun. And she just stood there, could care less, through all that. Absolutely zen.

And as difficult as this week has been in other ways with saying goodbye to Patriot, it was a comforting thing and reassuring. This little mare, she is the kind of horse I need on my farm–for me, for my family, for my other animals, for my business. Animals on a “petting zoo farm” need to be safe to pet, play, ride.

She’s coming home to Sassafras Farm tonight!


  1. CATRAY44 says:

    You are hilarious! So happy for you and for Shortcake!

  2. dawdawsmom says:

    i am a relative newcomer to your blog…have you ever named any of your animals sassy? when my son was younger, he had a book about a baby elephant called sassafras tee and they called her sassy for short =o)

  3. bonita says:

    Yippee I O kay EEE!

  4. twiggityNDgoats says:

    She sounds wonderful. Absolutely the best decision regarding both Patriot and Sassafras oops I mean Shortcake. Awesome!

  5. wvhomecanner says:

    Oh, I like the name Sassy for her. She’s a beauty – and I like the shortness too. Horses freak me anyway but big ones especially LOL.

  6. Bells says:

    I’ve known a mare or 2 over the years that expressed milk throughout their lives (one of whom had never had a foal). So don’t be too surprised if she never really dries up.

  7. alba says:

    She Is a beauty. Susanne I can’t help grinning from ear to ear when reading your Stories.
    As for naming Her I thought of SAFA combining Sassafras Farm. then I Googled Safa mean’s Innocent.
    Have fun riding her.

  8. Barbee says:

    But – but – but, I’ve already bonded with the name “Shortcake”!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Barbee, but that’s just a nickname! Her name in the rescue was Sarah, actually. But I have a friend named Sarah so I don’t want to call her that. I’ve been calling her Shortcake, but I’m not sure that’s her real name, just her temporary nickname because I didn’t want to call her Sarah. Now that I’m keeping her, I have to decide!

  9. Old Geezer says:

    Well, you could consider adding “Make your own kumis” to your curricula. (Look it up on Wikipedia.) Kumis is fermented mare’s milk.

    Of particular interest from that article:

    “Rinchingiin Indra, writing about Mongolian dairying, says ‘it takes considerable skill to milk a mare’ and describes the technique: the milker kneels on one knee, with a pail propped on the other, steadied by a string tied to an arm. One arm is wrapped behind the mare’s rear leg and the other in front. A foal starts the milk flow and is pulled away by another person, but left touching the mare’s side during the entire process.”

    Should make a fun workshop indeed.

  10. Jan Hodges says:

    This sounds much better. What would be wrong with milking her? It might be wonderful milk. It would sure be fun to know.

  11. whaledancer says:

    Oh, good. As heartsore as you were about Patriot, getting another horse should help. She’s a pretty thing.

    I’m glad Shortcake is a nickname, because that means no matter what she’s named we can still can her Shortcake. I’m with Barbee, I’ve kind of bonded to the name Shortcake. And shortcakes are sweet, which is what you want her to be.

  12. yvonnem says:

    I was hoping this is the way everything would turn out! She is beautiful, and I like the name Sassy, too, but I also like the name Sarah. I understand your reason though. What about Sierra?

  13. twoturkey says:

    I was going to suggest Sassy girl….but I see a number of other ladies had the same idea. Sassy girl and call her Sassy. Seems fitting to me. beautiful horse.

    Mrs. Turkey

  14. summerwindfarm says:

    She sounds perfect! And don’t let anyone tease you about riding a pony! The very best little mare I’ve ever owned was 13.2 and build like your mare. She was awesome and I never felt to big for her since she was stout and solid! I’ve been searching for over a year for a pony for my grandson. Small and dead broke is hard to find these days! Our horses are all too big to teach him to ride on.

  15. Goodnewsfarm says:

    She looks like a horse we had years ago. I named her Fancy after the song from Reba.


  16. kbryan says:

    So glad you made the decision to adopt her! She does look very sturday, I like the looks of her hooves.

    How about Sasha or Sadie or Bella?

    Look forward to seeing lots of photos of your horses!

  17. denny144 says:

    She’s a little gem of a horse, so that’s what I would call her, Lil’ Gem or Gemmy.

  18. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I too love the name Shortcake. It fits her to a tee. How does she respond to it? I don’t know if horses actually respond to a name or not. I don’t thnk Sassy is good because she seems so sweet and yummy, not sassy and naughty. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  19. TheEnchantedBath says:

    Maybe you can try to make Airag (Fermented Mare’s Milk). Mongolians seem to love it! Fermented Mare’s Milk sounds rather . . . adventurous, don’t you think? 😀

    Link to Airag:

  20. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    If u wont name her shortcake. What about serenity? She looks so serene to me.

  21. Craftpug says:

    How about Zen?

  22. StuckinMiami says:

    I’m voting for Suzzane’s Strawberry Shortcake at Sassafras.

  23. wvbetty says:

    You should name her “Seabiscuit” or some variation thereof (perhaps “Biscuit”). And you will soon know why!

  24. yvonnem says:

    If horses do respond to a name, Sierra should sound close enough to what she is use to…Sarah…Sierra…

  25. ladybird_1959 says:

    I’m getting away from all the “S” names. I like Bella.

  26. auntbear says:

    I’m hoping you save the “Sassy” for Glory Bee’s baby :happyflower:

  27. Shanababy says:

    I think you should name her Strawberry…like shortcake. She sure is a beauty!! Love your BLOG!

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