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
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.”
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.
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.”