A bold T’bred trains with Grand Prix jumper

Milyone and Grand Prix jumper Erika Cooper pose at a recent show in California.

Milyone and Grand Prix jumper Erika Cooper pose at a recent show in California.

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!

Cooper describes Milyone as a brave jumper.

Cooper describes Milyone as a brave jumper.

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.”

10 responses to “A bold T’bred trains with Grand Prix jumper”

  1. Delrene Sims

    Wonderful story of a horse and his owner and the care he has constantly received. And all the love to boot. Look at him. He is just gorgeous. Love Maria’s Mon babies.

    1. Linda R. Moss

      Delrene, thank you so much for your post! We think Maria’s Mon is SO SPECIAL and we are delighted to have one of his “gorgeous” sons 🙂

  2. Cynthia

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written story of Linda and Milyone. If ever there was a human/horse match made in heaven or on earth, this is it. The two of them are remarkable in so many ways, and I know that there will be exciting sequels to come. I cannot wish them enough good fortune in the future, and I believe that they will have it, based on the large investments of faith and love that have been made.

    1. Linda R. Moss

      Cynthia, thank you for your kind words and thoughts! It has been a wonderful journey so far and with Erika in the saddle, we have every chance of doing great things! <3

  3. cheri

    Very nice!

  4. Daryl J Conner

    Wish him and you well, I bet you prove to be a pair to watch out for.

  5. Susan Kayne

    So refreshing to read a story of a horse off the track for which the owner stays involved for the right reasons. Is Linda related to Jerry and Ann Moss? They share the same trainer on the West Coast. I had the great privilege of hanging out with Jerry and Ann in New York City when I had my horses in training with Bobby Frankel. Susan, this is an important story to share as so many racing factions stay involved or make a donation to assuage their conscience after racing maimed and lamed their horses. Linda certainly seems an exception to this normality. I wish the team great success and would love to learn more about Linda and why she made the decision she did at her expense to help this wonderful horse.

    1. Linda r. Moss

      Susan K – Appreciate your kind words! Happy to connect with you offline – but it is largely because I watched his racing career, knew he was very special, and the thought that we could give him a good life was too good to be true. We are so lucky to have him!

    2. Crista

      Susan K. There are MANY owners that stay involved and take back not only the horses they have bred and owned and raced but others as well. If you actually know “factions…[who] make a donation to assuage their conscience after racing maimed and lamed [? doesn’t even make sense?] their horses”, then the best thing for you to do is call those people out.
      The fact that you have a rescue and think you know it all may not necessarily be true.

  6. Linda R. Moss

    Susan – Thank you for this beautiful article on Milyone! So pleased to be your Memorial Day blog post <3

Leave a Reply