Skip to content

Four-Year-Old Tillman hits the Tunica jackpot




Walking horse crowds have seen a lot of special moments take place in the show ring over the years, and one of those happened in Tunica last week when four-year-old Boston Kate Tillman edged out the competition in the Novice Juvenile class. Partnered with the tried and true I’m Silver Too, the win will indeed go down in the history books. 

“She really enjoys it, and happens to be pretty good at it too,” said father Brock Tillman, who prepared her for the show. “She told me after, on the way home, ‘Daddy, I’m so proud of me.’ I told her, ‘Well, honey, you should be.’”

Many will agree with her dad’s words. She should be proud.

Boston Kate is no stranger to the show ring, having captured world grand championships at both the Spotted Saddle Horse and Celebration in lead line last year, aboard My Little Red Wagon. 

“It’s bred in her,” said her mom Lauren. “We’re so proud of her … Hopefully she will follow in her brother’s footsteps and win a world championship at the Celebration when she’s six. Until she is old enough to show there she will continue showing ‘Silver’ and her trail horse, Liza Jane, a horse that’s four months younger than her and one that her father and I bred and raised.”

Horses are truly in Boston Kate’s blood. In addition to her brother Cohen Abernathy being a world championship and reserve world grand championship rider, her father has won many blues at the Celebration including world grand championships and her mother has also earned many top ribbons. Her uncle, the late Chase Hawks, was also a world championship rider.

While she’s been riding before she could talk, this year served as her first year showing on her own in the real competition. Her father carefully selected her partner prior to the start of this year’s show season.

“I knew the horse and have had him before … He’s been around a long time and I knew he was gentle and compliant,” Brock said. “At one time I think he won the amateur stake at the Celebration and he sold for something like a quarter million dollars one time and $90,000 another time, so he’s real good and has been around a while.”

Brock said the horse had been lazy all last winter and came in to the barn at the beginning of the season with keg shoes on and out of shape. There was a lot of work to be done but Boston Kate didn’t miss a beat and practiced hard any chance she could.

“Their first show was at Asheville and in her first class they skipped and hopped around and she didn’t get a ribbon,” Brock said. “In the championship, she lost her stirrup and couldn’t get her foot back in but she hung in there and got a standing ovation on her way out.”

Tunica was only her second show, and third time showing, proving the third time is a charm. To make things even more impressive, the Novice Juvenile class is one that’s open to riders 17 and under, so she was riding against the big boys.

“She never held back,” Brock said. “I was excited for her. I thought she had a shot. She’s talented, but you never really know. I think she’s pretty special myself.”

In addition to honing her riding skills, Boston Kate’s upcoming goals include starting kindergarten next year at Liberty Elementary in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and also working toward her back tuck on the gymnastics floor. 
“She’s really special and talented,” her mom said. “She looked at me following the win and said, ‘Mama, I didn’t know they were going to call my name to win the blue ribbon!’”

More Stories

  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Celebration selects judging panel

    The 82nd Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will be judged by the experienced panel of Rollie Beard, Ross Campbell, Mike Hilley, Sam Sorrell and Leigh Stuart. The panel has a collective 20 Celebration’s judged between them.  Read More
  • Celebration making plans for 82nd World Championship

    The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration board of directors continued to finalize plans for the upcoming 82nd Annual Celebration to be held August 26th – September 5th. The board met July 6, 2020 and made some final decisions regarding the upcoming horse show in light of the COVID-19 recommendations from local, state and federal guidelines. Read More
  • Wartrace selects Slagle

    The Wartrace Horse Show has selected Rod Slagle to mark the cards for their 114th Anniversary event. The show will be held Jernigan Field in Wartrace on August 1, 2020, beginning at 6:00 pm. Read More
  • WHT Auxiliary supports education year after year

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Auxiliary is a national non-profit organization dedicated to charitable organizations. Each year the Auxiliary awards scholarships to any person involved with Tennessee Walking Horses who is furthering his/her education.  Read More
  • Coy Sanderson hospitalized

    The Walking Horse Report has recently learned that Coy Sanderson, new baby of Clay Sanderson and Kasie Caldwell has been admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville with a heart condition. At this point they are unsure of how long baby Coy will be in the hospital... Read More
  • Red Carpet Show of the South accepting online entries

    The Red Carpet Show of the South, scheduled for Saturday July 25, will accept online entries via www.entermywalkinghorse.com. The show will accept both online and in person entries. If you enter online and need to scratch an entry – do so at least 1 hour before the show starts and you will not be charged for that entry. Read More
  • Obituary – Charlene Cox

    Charlene Cox, age 67, of Seymour, Tennessee passed away on July 4, 2020. She was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Maloy Proffitt Allen. A horse enthusiast, Charlene was known across the East Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama show circuit. In addition to showing, she also enjoyed judging. Charlene judged the Racking Horse World Celebration in 2015. Read More
  • Get the news…FAST

    Hello Tennessee Walking Horse enthusiasts and friends,

    We are so happy to see so many of you finally enjoying horse shows this summer. We look forward to the continued support of these shows and hope everyone stays safe and healthy while attending...

    Read More
  • Marshall County Horseman's Association revises class schedule

    The Marshall County Horseman's Association Horse Show, scheduled for July 24 in Lewisburg, Tennessee, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More