By: Megan Arszman
It’s the proposal that was heard all around the APHA World Show—the surprise marriage proposal between Kyle Crager and his then-girlfriend Kelley Goldsmith (now Crager) at the photographer’s booth in 2010. You’ve probably seen the photo pop up every now and then, especially during this time of year.
Of course, Kelley said yes. The couple was married August 27, 2011, in an outdoor ceremony at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., right next to the track.
The wedding, which was themed “A Day at the Races,” incorporated the couple’s love of their home’s Bluegrass traditions and their fun-loving personalities. Instead of the traditional bouquet and garter toss, guests were invited to compete in stick horse races during the reception. The couple later honeymooned in Aruba, which of course included a ride on Paso Finos along the beach. “We’re nerdy like that,” Kelley laughs.
Kelley and Kyle still live in Lexington and run the training portion of Cross Creek Farms, a branch of Kyle’s family’s Paint Horse breeding operation, which is home to The Ultimate Fancy. Kelley gave up her Amateur card in 2012 and is now training full-time. Kyle still works in civil engineering at Summit Consulting Group full-time, but he trains with Kelley on the weekends.
“It’s nice to have someone on the ground to advise me like he does when he comes to the barn,” says Kelley. “I think if I was a solo trainer, and I didn’t have that second set of eyes, it would be a lot harder to progress like things have.”
The couple usually competes against each other in the western pleasure ring, but they don’t take the competition too seriously. “He always beats me; I don’t understand it,” she laughs. “I’m the one who trained that horse, and then he goes and beats me? It’s alright though, I’ll let him take the win and he makes up for it later.”
The couple is still recognized by horse-lovers in the industry because of their brush with fame in 2010. “Last year, the photo showed up out of nowhere (on social media). I’m really glad that, in the picture, my hand is covering my face so no one recognizes me. While it’s pretty cool, it’s slightly embarrassing,” says Kelley.
“I don’t think Kyle thought it’d get as much notoriety as it has,” says Kelley. “We should just use that photo on our ads, and everyone can be like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re those people!’”
Hesa Real Steal, the equine star of the photo, is still in the barn and still gets lots of attention from Kelley. “He gets to be the one that stays,” she says. And as if his presence isn’t enough to have jumpstarted the couple’s marriage, “Tino” is a Valentine’s baby and celebrates his birthday on February 14th.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the lovers and horse-lovers out there, from The Equine Chronicle!