He showed up like a bad penny, then shined

Siouxperlucky was once considered a bad seed, a lost cause. Until he found his person.

Siouxperlucky was once considered a bad seed, a lost cause. Until he found his person.

Siouxperlucky was like a bad penny.

Just when his last Maryland owner thought she had him sold, he’d come bombing back down the driveway of her farm, returned by yet another dissenting rider.

“A lot of people didn’t like him. They didn’t trust him,” says Emily Goldstein, a young Maryland equestrian who eventually agreed to take him on as a project horse, but wound up finding her soul mate.

“My friend had him for two years and she just couldn’t get rid of him. He just wasn’t a fun ride.”

More to the point: He was a wiggly, frenzied mess when she first got on.

Barn name: Mo
Sire: Siouxperheart
Dam: His Laura
Foal date: March 2, 2006
“It was about two years ago when I first tried him out. I admit I was nervous: I couldn’t touch his mouth; I couldn’t steer him. And, he’d run out from under me as I got on him,” she says. “But even though he was all over the place, I could feel this big movement on him. And I knew that if he could it together, he could be so nice.”

She suffered many indignities in the early days. Other riders watched the pair try to get around a ring, or over a jump, and the recriminations flew. “He was crooked and weak and people would say, ‘oh, he’s so bad, and oh, he can’t jump.’ He couldn’t jump a straight line at the time.”

USDF Gold Medalist Barbara Strawson taught the pair dressage, the foundation of everything.

USDF Gold Medalist Barbara Strawson taught the pair dressage, the foundation of everything. Photo by Amina Abdelatey and courtesy Goldstein.

Their words were meaningless however, in the face of a fast bond between the horse who never had his own ally and the rider who took a chance.

“So many people tried him or took him on a trial and I think he was so mixed up because he never had that one consistent person in his life,” she says. “By the second week of me riding him consistently, he started coming up to me in the field, like he knew he finally had his person.”

She purchased him weeks later. And the pair has worked diligently with two top trainers to learn dressage and jumping. USDF Gold Medalist Barbara Strawson has “taken his dressage from almost-frightening to schooling at second level,”and Mary Macklin of Red Hawke Eventing has helped Siouxperlucky discover his inner jumper.

To get him straighter and balanced for the jumps, two critical and necessary improvements, they worked diligently on the flat first. Classical dressage work was critical in building up muscle in all the right places. “A lot of three-day Eventers don’t really like Dressage, but I think it has made a huge difference in what we’re able to do,” Goldstein says.

They couldn't jump a straight line until they went into training with coach Mary Macklin. Photo by GRC and courtesy Goldstein.

They couldn’t jump a straight line until they went into training with coach Mary Macklin. Photo by GRC and courtesy Goldstein.

She adds, “We had to make sure we were good on the ground, and that he had his balance, before we could jump. I also got him supple and strong and we did a lot of hill work, and now he’s so good he can sit down and use himself really well. He’s vey adjustable.”

And when she took Siouxperlucky for jump lessons with Macklin, the coach figured out the animal’s needs immediately, and helped groom him for bigger challenges.

“He was a horse who couldn’t jump a straight line two years ago … and now he’s so good that we’ve won ribbons at every show we did last year, rated and unrated,” she says. “We’re not going to the Olympics next year, but after two years of training, I’ve got a brave steady Eddie who is competitive against all kinds of horses. He’s just a beautiful example of a classic OTTB who just needed to find his person.”

The future looks full of fun and possibilities for the pair.

Come spring, they will aim for novice events and possibly try going Training level. “This will be a move-up year for us,” she says. “A lot of people think you need to spend big bucks on a Warmblood, but he’s proving there’s nothing better than a Thoroughbred.”

13 responses to “He showed up like a bad penny, then shined”

  1. Lynne Jones

    Siouxperlucky is a beautiful horse and I’m so happy he found his “person”. This proves that given the right person and the right purpose, these animals can showcase and show what a valuable asset they can be. I’m envious of your having such a great companion and wish you much luck, happiness, and great feats together for many years.

  2. Emily Goldstein

    Thanks for the nice comments everyone! I was so excited to have his story told. 🙂

  3. Karen Jo

    What a remarkable reality and well told tale! Emily and Susan, this sounds like the meat of a good picture book for kids told from Siouxperlucky’s point of view. Brava, Emily! Bravo, Siouxperlucky!

  4. jojo zumwalt

    What a wonderful story and inspiring to me.

  5. Susan Lauffer

    I love the way you tell Mo’s story. I’m the “previous owner” you mention. I always believed in the horse but couldn’t get anyone else to agree. He’s put together really nicely, but he has this big movement that he couldn’t control. And we really needed a person of his very own. Mo and Emily clicked really well. She’s a lovely rider and has taken her time with him and built up his confidence with correct training. She also fussed over him and he loves it! I couldn’t be happier. They’re a perfect match.

  6. Alplily

    I love how relaxed and softly connected you both look. Really nice work. Congratulations.

  7. Rebecca Hill

    I am so glad he found..”his person” and the qualified trainers who are working with the new owner and this wonderful & smart ottb!!..love stories like this.. My best to this team to go far and wide to show off the American bred Thoroughbred!! ..;)

  8. Jeanne Mirabito

    Very cool.

  9. Susan Galvan

    If it’s not an OTTB, it’s just a horse. <3

  10. tbdancer

    “Dressage” is nothing more than “training” and while cowboys talk about the value of “lots of wet saddle pads” to get the horse going well, it all comes down to th same thing: Learn the basics, get a good foundation–call it what you will–and then move on from there. ANY riding discipline works better when the horse is straight, forward, responsive and has the muscles to do the task. Mo was just more discerning than some horses. He knew when “his person” was on his back 🙂

    1. margie

      well put tbdancer… :))

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