A California OTTB who passed from the finest hands in horseracing to an owner so devoted she made sure the spirited red gelding got everything he could ever want, has begun to show promise as he trains with FEI Grand Prix jumper Erika Cooper.
Milyone, a Kentucky bred great-great grandson of Majestic Prince who was once trained by Kentucky Derby winning trainer John Shirreffs, has continued his grand affiliations with good horsemen at the direction of his doting owner, Linda Moss.
After providing an abundance of care to address feet and back issues—treatments included months of rigorous chiropractic, theraplate, and functional stimulation therapies at Templeton Farms Equestrian in California, Moss decided it was time to get her horse equivalent of a sports car to someone gifted enough to bring out his sport horse talents.
Sire: Maria’s Mon
Dam: Queen of Millbrook
Foal date: March 1, 2005“My husband and I are proud to be able to do this for him. We have such a special connection to him … and we wanted to give him the opportunity to do what he’s meant to do,” Moss says. “The way John Shirreffs trains his horses, he always puts the horse first. And we tried to mirror that, by doing everything we could for him” before turning him loose on the sport horse world.
And when he finally got a chance to strut his stuff, he was quite a powerhouse, says Cooper, noting that the very first thing she taught him was where the brakes were.
“When I first got on Milyone, he was strong and fresh and would whinny and pull me along,” she says. “The first time I took him out on an endurance hill, he was so wild I had to keep him glued to the fence line; I think it took us two months to have a normal riding day.”
Soon after, they clicked so well that Cooper can conduct phone interviews while riding him on the buckle!
Thrilled with the opportunity to train Moss’s treasured OTTB, Cooper is starting Milyone in the deep end of the pool. Though careful not to “over face” him with jumps too imposing, she is seasoning him at A-rated shows, helping him acclimate to the big atmosphere while competing in shows against the very best Warmbloods and competitive sport horses.
In April, the pair participated in the 94th annual Flintridge Horse Show, competing in classes with as many as 28 other horses. Despite the overwhelming atmosphere of 300 horses, Moss notes her horse showed “flashes of brilliance” in his maiden voyage.
And Cooper concurs that Milyone just well may be off to a roaring start in his second career.
“He’s got a lot of jump in him and he’s definitely brave,” Cooper says, noting that in a sport dominated by Warmbloods, she is proud to ride a Thoroughbred where few compete.
“I grew up working with racehorses and I started working with them when I was 12,” Cooper says. “I kept my own first OTTB until he died at age 24. I’ve just always loved their heart and bravery. I get that same sense with Milyone … and I would love to see a horse like him do well in a world dominated by Warmbloods.”