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Noble is a gray thoroughbred gelding who joined us for retirement this past fall. Noble was born in Indiana and is by the stallion Noble Novice and out of the mare Little Feisty Gal. Noble’s grandsire is Wardlaw who was a Santa Anita Derby winner, and his great grandsire is Decidedly who was a Kentucky Derby winner. Noble raced at Mountaineer Race Track in West Virginia. He had a total of 13 starts, all small claiming races, and he won three races before his short racing career ended. After his racing career Noble moved to a hunter/jumper barn in Pennsylvania, and he lived at this barn until his retirement with us.

Noble and his mom getting some last minute instructions before going in the ring at a horse show

The trainer from the h/j barn purchased Noble for one of her clients and he began his new career as a hunter. A few years later Noble’s mom began taking riding lessons at this same barn in 1999. She had ridden some as a kid but had never had her own horse. She began riding again in her 30’s and taking lessons at Noble’s barn. As fate would have it Noble came up for sale a few months after she started taking lessons there. At first his price was too high, however waiting for Noble to sell was holding up the divorce settlement of his previous owners, and they dropped his price significantly in hopes of a quick sale. In March of 2000 Noble was a surprise gift to his mom from her (now former) husband, and she officially owned her first horse!

Noble as a youngster; he is either a weanling or a yearling in this picture and he needed to grow into his ears! Look at how dark he is!

Noble looking around on his second day at our farm; he is now all white, including his mane and his tail

Noble’s mom said the first time she rode him that her thought was that he was like riding a Cadillac. He has a big rocking horse canter and she said his trot was like a carpet ride. He also had a very soft mouth and responded beautifully to lateral aides. The one thing he did not love was trail riding as he found things like deer, rabbits and birds to very scary.

Noble in the show ring; you can see how his coat, mane and tail are still dark in these pictures

Noble and his mom did a lot of showing together in their early years. They started in the beginner and green hunter divisions and worked their way up to the adult amateurs. One thing they did have to work on a lot together was Noble getting strong to the jumps. Noble’s mom said they probably were not the ideal match for each other since they both tended to be anxious and spooky. She feels he would have gone a lot better for a more confident rider, however they worked through things together and formed a wonderful partnership for eleven years of riding.

Noble playing with his friend Joey at his barn in Pennsylvania

Although they did a lot of riding and showing together Noble and his mom also had a great time just hanging out. Noble’s favorite game involved grabbing the back of her jeans while she was bent over picking out his feet. He also likes to wrap his head around you while having his feet picked so he can give and receive kisses.

Noble and his mom at their barn in Pennsylvania; he still has lots of dark areas in these pictures and definitely isn’t the all white horse we know today.

Noble’s mom credits him for helping her become a more confident rider. As she said Noble would challenge her and push her past her comfort level while she was riding him but then give her kisses afterward. Learning to conquer her fears and forming a partnership with Noble also translated into her daily life and her career. A classic example of how our relationships with our horses teach us about so much more than just horses. When her marriage dissolved Noble also took on the role of therapist and his mane soaked up many tears. But they made it through the hard times together.

I took this picture of Noble in October; it is one of my favorite pictures of him because he simply looks stunning in it.

The last few years for Noble and his mom have not involved any showing. His hocks started to get a bit creaky so they stopped jumping and focused on hacking and flatwork. With Noble’s soft mouth, lateral work and comfortable gaits this arrangement suited both of them. Their time spent together both under saddle and just hanging out was all about enjoying each other.

Noble and Spike enjoying a grooming session

Noble made the trip to Tennessee from Pennsylvania in October. He walked off the trailer and has pretty much acted like he owns the place since then. His transition into retirement was seamless. Noble is funny, he still likes to find things to spook at but it is purely for entertainment value. He’ll snort and spook at things visible only to him as you lead him up to the farrier, and then stand perfectly still while being worked on like he does not have a care in the world. Then when you lead him away he will start the game again.

Noble grazing with O’Reilly

My favorite part about writing this post was seeing the pictures of Noble, starting as a baby and going through his years with his mom. It was neat to see how he has changed from dark to light through the years, and also that he did in fact grow into those ears!

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Noble!

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