Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shiloh Trains My Filly

For a horsewoman, a daughter who loves horses is the greatest gift--Shiloh has been a great gift for me. I remember the first time she ever saddled her horse by herself and rode to meet me in the arena. Wow! She was my partner after that day.

She had a couple of geldings she rode to start out, but one day she uttered the words that every horse loving woman eventually says--I want a baby!

Ay yi yi, I've been down that road. You've got to feed them for years with no return, and you don't know how they're going to turn out--if they even survive babyhood at all. It just seemed like a losing proposition.

So, striking a balance, I agreed to let her go down that path as long as she bought the baby with her own money and assumed 50 percent of the financial responsibility for its keep until she turned 18. She would be FULL owner and her horse's life would fall on her shoulders.

She agreed and this is her horse today--five years old.

Shiloh found her on as a weanling, so there was a lot to teach this little filly. We made a deal with Shiloh that we would pay half of her training with a professional IF Shiloh did the training alongside the professional.

Shiloh readily agreed, and it turned out to be one of our better decisions because she learned so much in those years with Sarah, her trainer--skills that serve her well now with other horses.

She was supposed to be my partner with Beautiful, but I kind of took that project over. Shiloh doesn't like playing second fiddle to me, so she bowed out of our partnership early on.

But this summer, having my hands full with a busy schedule and lots of horses, Shiloh saw my neglected filly, Cia, out in the pasture, and volunteered to assume her training.

Cia had about seven rides put on her last summer, so she readily accepted the saddle this year--a little bucking on the end of line, but not much. Shiloh was riding her in the roundpen by the end of the first session.

Yesterday, we trailered them down to Riverside State Park to use the outdoor arena. Shiloh is training her filly, Cowgirl, and my filly, Cia.

Here's her girl watching her.

And here's my boy, Cowboy, and her girl, Cowgirl watching.

Update on Beautiful:

Since being released into our herd, Beautiful has had to learn her place. She was in heat, which caused issues with one of our geldings and a lot of recrimination from the gelding who leads the herd, Shadow.

Shadow has tough rules for the herd. For example, no horse is allowed to enter a stall at feeding time until Shadow has chosen which one he wants. All the other horses are to stand outside. Also, just in case Shadow changes his mind about which stall he wants, all the horses are to listen very carefully for his comings and goings.

Beautiful has not yet learned these lessons and has gotten trapped in tight situations with him. For her sake, I lock in Shadow during feeding time. She's going to have to learn though, because some of these other horses can be brutal. They're not mean, but they have their order--their rules--and the little ones have to show respect.

Beautiful is the baby, and as such, she is the lowest in the herd. She'd probably be above my gelding, Cowboy, if given the opportunity, but that's not saying much--even the pony's above Cowboy.

One thing all this has done is make Beautiful appreciate me more. I've stepped in to move Shadow off when she overstepped the boundaries and it looked like she might get hurt. When her lessons aren't brutal, I usually stand back and let her learn them.

She has had one kick mark on her belly--a swelling the size of a hoofprint, and one bite mark. Other than that, if she minds her place, they are quite sweet with her. Shadow tells her when and where to eat and who to hang out with and who to avoid. If she listens, they graze peacefully together and he watches over her while she sleeps.


  1. Love the story about your daughter - I have two horsedaughters! We've never had the experience of raising a baby from scratch - congratulations to your daughter on her work with her horse!

    Glad Beautiful is settling in - those herd dynamics can be tough on a newcomer.

  2. Getting all settled into the herd and learning ones place is hard on a horse, especially a young one like Beautiful. A horsey daughter would be a wonderful thing.

  3. Kate---I don't know if I'd recommend raising them from babies--so you probably haven't missed out on much! :) But that's what Shiloh wanted, and she learned a lot.

    The lessons are hard to watch sometimes--with the herd dynamics, that is! My farrier told me he would have let her out A LOT sooner than I did so that she'd learn her place. Maybe I made a mistake waiting... hmmm...

  4. I agree, Lea--it's hard to watch. Sometimes it looks horrible and scares me to death---with all of them. They've taken off hide escaping each other. So far, none of them have ever seriously hurt each other, so I have some faith that they'll only go so far.

  5. What a great story & photos. I hope my daughter follows down a horsey road. She's just starting out!

  6. Jennifer--I hope she does, too. Your love of horses is so great--I bet it will pass down to her!!

  7. Lucky you! I thought William was a girl when I was pregnant. I remembering telling people I was going to have so much fun with my daughter and Foxsun. (I was pregnant when I bought Foxsun).


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