The Goolsby Family: Showing and Winning is a Family Affair
One of the wonderful benefits of showing horses is that it can be enjoyed together as a family. This is the case with the Goolsby family who recently returned home from the Pinto World Championship Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a long list of World Champion titles to their name.
The Goolsby family might be new to the Pinto Horse Association, but not to the horse show world. Leslie Goolsby has been showing Appaloosas at the national and world level for over fifteen years. Her 11-year-old daughter April started showing two years ago and Leslie’s husband, Larry, decided to get into the show pen for the first time last year.
At the Pinto World, the Goolsby family ended up with five world champion titles and four reserve world champion titles. Leslie and April showed their Appaloosas and Larry showed their Gypsy Vanner throughout the thirteen days of the Pinto World Championship Show, all winning World Champion titles. This power family shared with us what it was like showing together at this level for the first time.
Taking a Chance
April’s first world show was nothing short of phenomenal taking home a total of seven buckles (pictured right). She won the youth walk-trot solid trail, western showmanship, and the three and over halter geldings. She was also reserve in the youth walk-trot solid hunt seat equitation, hunter under saddle, horsemanship and western pleasure. Fit For Royal Te was shown in the hunter under saddle and Shes Zippin Rageous was ridden in all the other classes.
“Winning the trail was my favorite part of Pinto World,” April said. “I’ve never shown her (Shes Zippin Rageous) in the trail before and that was my first time doing a gate with her.”
Showing horses can be difficult when you are eleven, especially if you are coming back from a scary experience. April has faced some challenges but she has fought through and perservered and made her the strong rider she is today.
“I put April on my retired Appaloosa, Dreamin Dirty, when she was eight months old,” Leslie said. “She had a bad accident with a horse when she was four. It was pretty devastating. She’s had a hard road because it did not come easy for her. She didn’t take to it much until she was about nine.”
Pinto World Show
The Pinto World Championship Show is home to exhibitors and horses of all kinds. One of the best parts about the Pinto World Show is the multitude of classes offered for all types and ages. Three arenas were being used everyday at the same time. This is usually fine if you are only showing one horse by yourself, but it can be a challenge with a family of three sharing horses. The Goolsby’s trainer, Courtney Cruse, mentioned how it was difficult, but completely worth it.
“It was a good show,” Courtney said. “That was our first encounter with PtHA. April shared Fit For Royal Te with her mom. It was very rewarding watching April go out and succeed like she did. After working so hard with her, it all paid off.”
Larry made his first appearance in the world show ring this year. He showed the family’s Gypsy Vanner, King Henrys Ransom (pictured right) and was crowned the World Champion in the pleasure driving. “Henry” became a part of the Goolsby family a year ago and everyone absolutely adores him. His first show driving with Larry was last summer at the Oklahoma State Fair.
“Showing him is unreal,” Larry said. “He’s the smartest horse I think I have ever been around. If I get in trouble, he takes care of me.”
“We went out to see Henry and Larry fell in love,” Leslie said. “Larry’s never ridden; he’s always been in the stands. He loves Henry and just being with him, whether it’s a show, parade or anything. Henry kind of draws his own crowd wherever he goes.”
More Than Handsome was shown by both April and Leslie in the halter classes. He is an eight-year-old gelding by Always Dignified. He won three world titles himself in the open, amateur, and youth halter geldings. Courtney’s father, Steve Cruse had “Handsome” until he was four. He was then sold and used as a parade horse. Courtney found him advertised as a trail horse on Facebook and told her dad he had to go buy him back.
“My dad bought him back and put all his weight back on him,” Leslie said. “He is one of my dad’s favorite halter horses,” Courtney told us.
“We call him the trifecta now,” Leslie said, referring to the three World Championships he won in Tulsa. “He’s an amazing horse. For a horse to come back and trust after all he had been through is pretty incredible. We’ve had some amazing times and memories with him at the world show.”
Memories to Last a Lifetime
The Goolsby family loved spending all thirteen days at the Pinto World Show. This was the family’s first world show together, and they are already looking forward to next year.
“We are really excited with PtHA and how wonderful they were and how much fun it was,” Leslie said. “While no horse loses its identity, they’re all totally different. The fact that there is so much diversity, and so many classes for all types of horses for everything from a solid Appaloosa to a Gypsy Vanner. It’s all exhibitor friendly. They do a great job making sure everyone is happy. It was a lot of fun. It was probably the best world show I’ve ever been to. We will go back to Pinto World next year.”
Leslie has shown for over fifteen years and won multiple national and reserve national titles. This was her first world title, but she said the best part of this show was watching April show and win.
“Those titles and that success seemed so elusive to me,” Leslie said. “When I watched my daughter walk out with that third world title of the day, it made me think of how much she has been through. When she struggled and was almost killed, she got up and back on the horse. She works hard for what she got. Her titles mean so much more to me than mine have over the years. It was a very special thing for us.”
The Goolsby family currently lives in McKinney, Texas, but will soon be moving to Tioga. They recently closed on a ranch, which they are naming the Three G’s. This facility will house their seven horses, along with clinics and events from trainers who helped with the family’s recent success at the Pinto World Show.
“We want to thank Training Resources, Jean Brown, Jenny Fidler, Courtney Cruse, and Steve Cruse,” Leslie said. “It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s not about the buckles. It’s not about the trophies. It’s not about anything other than family and memories.”
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About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Courtney Hall is a graduate student at Missouri State University. She is obtaining a Master’s Degree in Agriculture with research in Agricultural Communications. She started showing the APHA all around circuit as a youth and continues today as an amateur along with AQHA.
Photo © Terri Cage and Jeff Kirkbride