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Cosequin Presents OTTB Showcase: Strong, Brave And Willing

Moby is ‘always looking out’ for young Lilly, says her mother

Heidi White's daughter, Lilly, fell in love with riding from the moment she started lessons about a year and a half ago. Riding at 12 Oaks Stables in Buford, Ga., Heidi and Lilly's trainer, Ashlyn Miller, decided it might be time to think about getting Lilly her own horse.

Ashlyn's family has been involved with horses for generations. Her father made a name for himself with Quarter Horses and her grandfather, Gilbert Miller, is a Thoroughbred owner and breeder in Kentucky. Often when horses in Gilbert's stable weren't cutting it at the track, they would be sent to Ashlyn's farm to start new lives. One of those shipments of horses to the farm included a big, gray gelding named Moby.

“I saw a 17-hand horse who was only five, but in Lilly's eyes he was perfect,” said Heidi.

Then ten-year-old Lilly was in love, and she had chosen her horse.

After much discussion and consideration, as well as Ashlyn helping to check his x-rays and connect with his trainer to learn about any quirks or issues he might have, one month later 4-foot-3-inch Lilly owned her first off-track Thoroughbred, and Heidi owned every book she could get her hands on about retraining them.

A huge fresh-off-the-track Thoroughbred often would not be the best choice for a young rider, but sometimes horses can surprise us.

Moby was a barn favorite as a racehorse. Nicknamed “Slow-B” by his riders, he was everyone's favorite mount and was often ridden in the mornings by riders who had a background in hunt seat riding. That level of equestrianism while on the track gave Moby a huge head start in the retraining process.

Lilly and Moby at their first combined test last year
Lilly and Moby at their first combined test last year

“The first picture I ever posted of Lily and Moby, three of his exercise riders who had loved him as a racehorse reached out to me and were more than happy to tell me everything they knew about him,” said Heidi.

The pair started slow, with light lunging and ground work under the advisement of Lilly's trainers.

“Lilly spent more time grazing him than riding him the first six months we owned him,” said Heidi.”

While Heidi grew up riding Western and barrel racing on mostly Quarter Horses, Lilly is keen to jump and compete with Moby in eventing. Moby is all for it, taking quickly to both jumping and dressage with Lilly as his pilot.

“Have you ever seen two souls that when together, you just know it's right?” asked Heidi. “That's them. He is one of the kindest animals – always looking out for his girl. He is strong and brave and willing.”

Lily and Moby competed in their first combined test last year, and this year they are working through their first full season of showing.

“I would have to say that in just under a year's time with him, I have never been so proud as I was at their first combined test. While she had jumped him lightly, he had never seen a full course. They nailed their dressage score and had they not had one refusal, they would have placed first instead of fifth. Her trainers see them going very far together in eventing. I believe the quote was 'They'll be unstoppable.'”

Lilly and Moby have done well together so far in dressage
Lilly and Moby have done well together so far in dressage

Away from the show scene, Lilly and Moby enjoy building their relationship. They play in the arena together, with Lilly running over poles and small jumps and Moby carefully following behind her.

When asked her thoughts on retraining a racehorse, Lilly's answer is simple. “It's fun. Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days, but he's worth it. He just wants to be a good boy.”

Even though the Whites have only had Moby for a year, it's safe to say he has a home with them for life.

“I love having complete strangers ask me about him, and her. I love, love, love it when they ask if they can buy him, and Lilly gets to say no,” said Heidi. “He is her protector, keeper of secrets, partner and best friend. He is a member of our family and I have a feeling he will be with us forever.”

The Deets:
Name: Moby S
Born: May 4, 2009
Color: Gray/roan
Sire: Scrimshaw
Dam: Prancing Tess
Sale History: None
Race Record: 9-0-3-1
Race Earnings: $4,902

If you have or know of a retired Thoroughbred with an interesting story to tell, we'd love to hear about it! Just email Jen Roytz ([email protected]) with the horse's Jockey Club name, background story, and a few photos.

Jen Roytz is a freelance writer and marketing and public relations consultant for various entities, both equine and non-equine. She can also still be found on the back of an OTTB most days.

Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.

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