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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!’”

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