"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Monday, December 8, 2014

TOA Blog Hop: History of the Horse

Beka over at The Owls Approve is hosting a weekly blog hop in honor of Archie's 18th birthday coming up in 18 weeks! This is the first installment:

Before you met, where was your horse? Who bred him/her? What do you know about his sire and his dam? What do you know where he came from? Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.


My understanding is that Lily was born in Ocala, FL.

Typical Ocala horse farm
Her first trainer, a Ms. Holly Homewood, purchased her from whomever it was that had her in Ocala and started her under saddle at her facility, Exceptional Equines, in Fort Myers, FL. Ms. Homewood focused mainly on Western training of stock breed horses so I'm still surprised about her purchasing a Thoroughbred cross for her program. Ms. Homewood seemed kind of shady when I went looking for more information on her, thanks to Lily's original Coggins, but regardless of the woman's criminal record, she put a solid foundation on Lily. She must have had her for 6 months-1 year, during which she taught her the basics, including small 18" fences. I was able to get all of this information directly from her when I contacted her directly but she would not tell me who was Lily's first owner in Ocala. That will always remain a mystery because Ms. Homewood died this year.

She put Lily up for sale at age 3 as an Iberian (Andalusian) cross shortly before she moved her training operation to Texas.

Lily's name was originally Lely. Her first sales ad is still floating around the Interwebz:

Embiggen to read.
I'd say her description was 100% accurate of the mare I discovered after working through the poor training she would receive afterwards.

At the time of this ad, Judy, the woman who would become my dressage trainer in FL, was working with an adult student that had fallen in love with Judy's Andalusian cross mare Rose. The student wanted an Andalusian of her own and she found Lily's ad. This student was an intermediate rider at best. She purchased the filly against Judy's advice for almost half of what she was advertised. Judy was there the day that Lily was delivered and apparently Ms. Homewood basically dumped her at the property and drove off, never bothering to check up on how Lily was doing. Judy helped the student with Lily's continued training during the first 6 months that the student owned her. This came to an end when Judy moved to a different farm a good 40 minutes away. 

The student realized she was ill-equipped to train a young horse by herself and so she hired the other trainer at the farm: the cowboy. I've said it before on the blog, but for whatever reason the cowboy decided to train Lily for Western Pleasure (I don't know if the owner was aware of this given that she originally wanted to do dressage??) She has neither the build nor the movement for it so go figure. I've explained here how sensitive Lily is and this guy rode with spurs. They reached an impasse when he tried to train her to spur stop: Lily developed a bucking habit. Enough to buck the cowboy off frequently. I'm guessing her aversion to whips started around this time. I was also told that she would charge when her stall door was opened. Knowing this horse, I'm going to guess she was not trying to trample the person entering her stall, she was simply trying to escape in terror from said person through the only exit available. 

He must have worked with her for a few months, 6 months tops. Ultimately the cowboy declared her a dangerous horse and refused to continue working with her, so her owner was obligated to sell her. She contacted Judy to let her know and ask her if she knew of anyone who might be interested. She was willing to give the filly, who was now 4 years old, away for free to a good home. By then I was taking lessons with Judy; she approached my BM and I about picking her up as a training/resale project and that's how she ended up at my barn as my project horse. The rest is history.

I never thought Lily looked like an Andalusian cross, to tell you the truth. I thought she had to be either full Thoroughbred that never got tattooed or maybe an Appendix. Her DNA test proved that there really is no Andalusian in there. Which maybe explains why Ms. Homewood was so reluctant to give me the information of the possible breeder? We'll never know.

For more details on Lily's history, you can go here. To read about her training journey with me, go here.  


It is so much easier to figure out a horse's history when they are registered. Gracie, registered name Milli-On-Aire, was bred by Bonnie Robinson, who apparently is the widow of THE founder of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse breed, Robert Robinson, Jr. I found an interview with her here and you can read about Mr. Robinson here.

I have the name of her original owner who registered her but I can't find much information on him online. Gracie was born on April 1st, 2006 in Edgewood, KY. She is by Amigo Blue (you can see his pedigree here) out of Rocky's Sassy.

Amigo Blue, Gracie's sire, was owned by Mr. Robert Robinson, Jr.
Gracie looks A LOT like her daddy!
Tobe is the stallion from whom this breed originates. He had 5 sons: Sewell's Sam, Yankee, Maple's Squirrel, Kilburn's Chocolate Sundown, and Sam Clemon's Tim. Gracie has Tobe, Kilburn's Chocolate Sundown, and Nance, one of the breed foundation broodmares, both on her dam's and sire's sides. You can read more about these horses here.

Kilburn's Chocolate Sundown, a Tobe son and one of the breed foundation sires
She was bred as a 3-year-old. I don't know if it was deliberate or accidental, or if it happened before or after she changed hands. Her breeders seemed to be reputable people who loved their horses so I'm going to assume it happened after she was sold. Regardless, she ended up on another farm in Whitley City, KY. I know the second owner's name but I couldn't find much information about him online or whether he had a proper breeding operation; all I could find was that he was a horse trader that worked with Rocky Mountain horses. Gracie had a filly and at some point was broken to saddle before or after. Her third owner, whom I purchased the mare from, got her from this man in Kentucky. Gracie's filly was over a year old at the time and still suckling. Gracie was skin and bones.

Her third owner bought her as a 5 year old and brought her to Maryland. She had her at home for two years, where she rode her occasionally on trails. I'm not sure how often, as this owner already had 3 other horses and a family and other animals to take care of + working full time. Either way, Gracie was a lot more horse than she had originally bargained for: Gracie's mom preferred to ride at a leisurely pace on the trails and while Gracie loved trail work, she preferred to move faster than a walk and could be opinionated about it. Her owner eventually sent her to Trainer Bob to re-start her under saddle. Trainer Bob brought her to the barn where I was boarding at at the time and she was on training board for a couple of months, being ridden/worked with 1-2 times/week. She did very well with him during that time but then Gracie's mom had some complications in her personal life that kept her from coming out to the barn to ride. Gracie finished her training but then sat in the pasture for almost another year before I came into the picture.

I have looked to the ends of the internet and can't find any more information on Gracie herself or her filly, which means Gracie was not shown and neither has her filly yet. I know the filly was born around 2010-2011, but I don't know her name nor the sire's, nor even if the sire was a KMSH/RMH to begin with.

I found some other horses sired by Amigo Blue, Gracie's dad.

Gospel Ryder, Gracie's half brother, as a 2-year-old
He is now 8 and standing at stud at Honeysuckle Hill Mountain Horses
Blue, Gracie's half sister
Broodmare at LexStone Ranch
So there you have it: the somewhat obscure histories of my horses. :)


  1. Wow that was really interesting! You know a lot about their history, but there's also a lot still missing hehe. I hope you can eventually find out more about Gracie's filly. I didn't realize she had ever had a foal. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. It was fun trying to find more information on Gracie. I was excited when I found pictures of her sire and his owners! :D

  2. "but regardless of the woman's criminal record" made me snort OJ through my nose. . . .

    Thanks for the laugh.

    1. You're welcome! Hahaha ;) Petit theft, and she didn't show up in court. Mugshot and everything. When you look up more information on how she died, you find photos of the man that was driving the car...he looked like a real piece of work. Someone blogged badness about her earlier this year too...found all this because I was trying to find the link to her business again! She used to have a website but I guess someone took it down after her death.

      The stuff we can find on the internet...

  3. now I want to go look up Gem and see what I can find. Interesting post and it is great that you know as much as you do about your girls.

    1. It'll be great to see what you can dig up about Gem since she's registered!

  4. I had forgotten that Lilly was a WP prospect? Very interesting. Glad you ended up with her!

    1. Me too! I never understood why that guy thought that was a good idea. She can do a nice slow collected trot but it certainly does not look like a WP horse's. Her canter US was a wreck for a long time: I always wondered if that was a result of the WP training.

  5. Lily's story is so interesting, definitely know the buy and drop off act well -___-

    1. If Ramone had come from Texas, I would have wondered if it was the same trainer!

  6. Lily has an interesting story!! WOW!

    1. It was great that Judy was involved in her training with her previous owner; there are so many things we would've had a hard time figuring out otherwise!

  7. Gaaa! Western pleasure training can be quite cruel (as can any discipline, I guess). It's too bad Lily had to go through that, but luckily she came to you!:) And so awesome about finding pics for Gracie's history - I love doing that kind of research:)

    1. It's kind of a wonder that Lily retained her natural inclination to trust people after all she went through. She's such a sweet horse.

      And yes: looking up Gracie's history was a lot of fun!

  8. I can't wrap my head around the concept of a spur stop. When I touch you firmly in the same place where I touch you to move over or go, I want you to slam on the brakes. What?

    I'd say that the asking price for Lily on that post definitely doesn't reflect the quality of the mare. And Gracie's sire is gorgeous. I know there's some generic issues with it, but I love the chocolates.

    Thanks for joining! :)

    1. The chocolate RMHs are stunning, even with their genetic issues.

      The spur stop stuff makes no sense to me either. And once a horse learns it, it is so difficult to train them for a different discipline!

  9. I LOVE Gracie's registered name! How clever :)

    I need to do this for Ozzy (and find out the answers about JR!)