Sunday, November 20, 2011

Silky

Silky is a 28 year old Appaloosa mare who was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was bred to race and her sire is Deep South who is in the Appaloosa Hall of Fame and out of Go Yummer. Silky’s early career was at an Appaloosa race track and she raced under the name Strumming Yummer. After just a handful of races Silky injured her back, and somehow she made her way to Oklahoma where she was a barrel racer for a couple of years.


Silky

After her barrel racing stint Silky was labeled as “psycho” and “untrainable” and wound up at an auction. A trainer from Florida, Lynn, happened to be attending the auction. She purchased Silky and took her to Florida with plans of retraining her for a career as a hunter or a jumper. It was in Florida, 23 years ago, that Silky and her mom met.

Deep South, Silky's sire

Silky’s mom was attending summer camp at the barn where Silky was living. It was her first time being around horses and she was assigned a 30 year old mare named Star. Star was slow and bombproof and gentle, but Silky’s mom found herself drawn to another stall. The stall that everyone was warned to stay away from. This horse would kick the stall walls, charge the stall door, and snort and grind her teeth so loudly that you could hear it on the other side of the barn. This horse was, of course, Silky.

Silky napping with Missy and MyLight hanging out

Silky’s mom began hanging out around her stall. Silky didn’t trust this new person at all but she was curious. They began to bond over their shared love of apples and carrots. Once Silky got used to her eating in front of her stall she started paying her some attention, and eventually Silky’s mom was able to feed her and pet her. Eventually the summer was over and Silky’s mom had to go back to school.

During this time Silky’s mom had recently been adopted, but she felt more alone than ever. After summer was over and she went back to school she acted out, badly and often. One day her father finally dropped to his knees in front of her and tearfully asked what he had to do to get her to accept him and her mom and her new life. She said she wanted Silky. Her dad called Lynn and said they wanted to purchase Silky. Lynn was opposed to it as she didn’t feel it was a good idea to match a beginner child with a difficult horse. However her father told Lynn they would pay whatever it cost in order for Silky to be properly trained and that week Silky’s mom officially became Silky’s mom.

Silky on the run

A few weeks after that, Silky promptly tossed her mom into a puddle -- her first fall. As soon as she fell, Silky stopped, craned her neck to look at her, tossed her head and walked back toward the barn. She never fell off of Silky again. Silky learned (somehow) how to shift herself under her weight when she felt that her young rider was off balance. Countless times her trainer yelled, “she just saved your ass kid.” They learned together and soon found themselves ranked number two in Florida for the 13 and under division on the hunter circuit.

At this point, with the riding going so well, the family decided to move to Tryon, NC to immerse themselves in the horse scene. They bought 20 acres and built a house, a couple of barns, and put in an arena. Additional horses were purchased to maximize showing and training, but Silky remained the “go to” horse.

A couple of pictures from Tryon, NC

Silky’s riding career almost ended shortly after the family moved to North Carolina, she had a severe tying up episode. Silky was paralyzed from the top of her neck to her rump. She would not, or maybe could not eat, drink or do anything. Her mom found her that way during the morning feeding before school. When she got home from school her mother and the vet pulled her aside to explain that Silky was going to have to be put down. They were telling her to say her goodbyes.

Silky grazing with Traveller

That night she did not leave Silky’s side. She cried and begged Silky to move, to do anything. Her mom brought her some food and a soda at some point. When she popped the top on the coke, Silky’s ears moved to the sound, showing interest. Silky’s mom poured the coke into a bucket and held it up to Silky’s lips. Though she wouldn’t drink water, she drank the entire coke. By the end of the hour, Silky had drunk three cokes and was trying to move around her stall. Her parents called the vet back out. By the time, the vet arrived, an hour or so later, Silky was moving stiffly around her stall. The vet warned them that they were not out of the woods, but she was happily shocked by this development.

Happily Silky continued to improve. The vet said that she would need a minimum of six months of easy work and no showing, and they decided to breed Silky during her time off. Silky had a filly and her mom named her Goddess. Goddess would be 16 now and is an Appaloosa/Hanoverian cross. The goal in choosing a sire was to keep Silky’s speed, personality and love of jumping while hopefully adding to the mix a love of dressage. Goddess was a beautiful chestnut filly who inherited Silky’s personality. As soon as the little chestnut filly hit the ground she was independent, just like her mother. From the moment Goddess started walking, she walked away. Other than when she rudely demanded to be fed, Goddess had little to do with Silky.

Silky's filly Goddess (with Silky's mom)

After having her foal Silky returned to riding and showing. She was a Pony Club rally champion and they immersed themselves in eventing. Dressage was Silky’s weaker phase. Silky did not (or as her mom said WE did not) have the patience for dressage, but they were stars in the other two phases of cross country and stadium jumping.

In her entire career Silky never refused a jump, no matter how scary looking. She thought about it once during a cross country round. One of the jumps was a gazebo that you had to jump into, take two strides and jump down out of. The roof was unnerving to both of them and the pounding of her hooves while inside the gazebo was horrendous. In her mom’s words “as we came up to it, I felt her withdraw. She slowed, shortening her strides and lifted her head as if to say, “seriously?!” We were thinking the same thing. I closed my legs around her and leaned forward, urging her for more speed. She trusted me. I’ll say it again, she has NEVER refused a jump.”


Silky and her mom continued their winning ways together through college, and after graduating from college Silky’s mom retired her to light riding. She was 19 years old at that point. Her mom continued to enjoy trail riding Silky until she was 25. During this time they remained constants in each other’s lives and moved together to several states.

Maisie and Silky

Silky joined us this past spring. Her mom knew that she was going to be moving overseas, and a few months before we met Silky her mom contacted us. She was in the middle of a thorough search of potential farms where she would be comfortable leaving Silky. Somehow we managed to pass the screening and the background checks and Silky joined us in the spring. She remains as opinionated as ever, but we are happy to report that her opinions and feedback have all been positive so far - with the exception of having her teeth floated. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Silky!

8 comments:

Kate said...

Nice introduction - I love strong-willed mares!

Funder said...

What an amazing backstory! Can't wait to hear more about Silky.

raphycassens said...

Welcome Silky!!!

C Tanner Jensen said...

I needed a story with a happy ending today.
Thanks from Flagstaff.

MyLight's mom said...

The magic of horses never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Melissa for another wonderful story.
MyLight's mom

Long-Time-Lurker said...

I love the "meet the residents" posts. We hadn't seen one in a while, glad you gave us our fix!

Jenny said...

I love to read back stories on your residents. Sometimes it's amazing what horses have done and where they've been. It's always nice to see them enjoying "Their" farm with you guys! Thanks for all you do.

Amish Stories said...

I'm visiting new blogs today for the first time, so i also thought id wish you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers. And i hope that the day is spent generating positive memories for years to come. Richard from Amish Stories.