What is it about fillies? I love them, but…
When I rode babies, in Florida, in what was clearly another lifetime, I used to look at the morning white-board with dread each day. The white-board had little magnets with horse numbers on them, and you could see all the horses you were assigned to for the day. Every colt I had made me smile. Every filly I had made my knees tremble. Some dreadful days, I only had fillies.
I strongly suspected that the woman who made the horse assignments disliked me, because I rode a lot of fillies.
It was a filly who went absolutely out of her little yearling brain and slammed me into the cinder-block wall of her stall when I swung into the saddle one morning. It was a filly who took me on that mile-long stirrup-free adventure once upon a time, as well. It was a filly who flipped over on me and knocked me unconscious with her rock-hard skull. (To be fair, that particular filly was half-Appaloosa, her name was Lacey, both of which things should be dead giveaways for me to not get on, but I owed some board money to her owner… yeah it was ill-starred from the beginning…)
Fillies are smart, and they are opinionated, and they are fairly certain that they are smarter than you. They are tough to intimidate. Colts – they’re just boys. Boys, you can yell at, and they want to go hide in the corner. Yell at a filly and she’ll make a face at you like, “You so do not know what you are dealing with,” and possibly turn her butt to you and start kicking.
Fillies know exactly how they like to be brushed, exactly where you are supposed to scritch them before you are allowed to curry comb or pick their feet, exactly how many holes you are allowed to tighten the girth. Fillies are competitive, aggressive, and will run down anything in their path on the racetrack.
Fillies are so hot in the shedrow, they’d rather bang into the walls than jog in a straight line. They spook because they like the excuse to rear/hop/spin/scare everyone within the barn. They forget nothing. One of my fillies had a horse kick at her in the middle of the shedrow about two months ago. Take her through the middle of the shedrow at your own risk. Daily. It’s a party, to say the least.
I call all of my fillies the Fillies of Doom. They’re an army of hooved demons. They will nuzzle you until they’re tired of you and then pin their ears and give you two seconds to get the hell out of their space. Walk them without a lip chain at your own risk. Be sure they’re tied up before you tighten the girth or brave that snaking head and bared teeth. Give them a rub when you’re walking down the shedrow, scritch their special spot, watch them close their eyes in ecstasy, get a kiss on the shoulder for your troubles.
(Fillies are awesome.)