By Delores Kuhlwein
Obsessed To Be Best, the 2019 Bay Gelding by The Lopin Machine and out of Its Best To Be Hot (RL Best of Sudden), has been purchased from Susan Juroe by the Goffard Family for Catherine Goffard.
What follows is more than just a horse purchase story, however. The full-circle tale of how this horse will now bless the lives of the Goffard Family and their show career is one for the books.
A Young Career
Ridden to Western Pleasure fame primarily by Aaron Moses, “Calvin” started his winning career as Champion of The Madness Equine Chronicle Three Year Old And Older Maiden Western Pleasure Slot Class with Aaron’s assistant trainer, Cody Conover.
The double registered gelding went on to win at the APHA World Championship in the 3-Year-Old Breeders Trust Western Pleasure with Aaron and was crowned Champion in the 3-Year-Old Novice Horse Limited Rider with Katherine Crowe.
He continued to rack up titles with Aaron, such as World Champion in the 3 Year Old Novice Horse Western Pleasure and the Color BCF 3 Year Old Western Pleasure at the NSBA World Championship Show, followed by the L1 Western Pleasure at the 2022 All American Quarter Horse Congress. Just recently, he also won the L2 Junior Western Pleasure with Aaron at Arizona Sun Circuit.
More Than Just A New Pair
There’s a bit of a back story, however. Tim and Shannon Gillespie had discovered Obsessed To Be Best at The Championship Show in Ocala in 2021, and they had their longtime client, Susan Juroe, buy him from breeders Jay and Kristy Starnes, knowing Susan loves to have futurity horses.
Calvin and Aaron Moses Show Horses made 2022 a year for Susan to remember, she explains. “Aaron Moses and his team were so careful and deliberate in bringing Calvin along slowly. I’m grateful to have had a year to remember winning over $35,000 and a Congress title.” She appreciated the Starnes’ breeding program so much, in fact, she has purchased another double registered prospect for next year.
In the meantime, another of the Gillespie’s longtime clients, Catherine Goffard and her family, were slowly trying to recover from losing Gallant Zippo, one of the greatest APHA horses of all time, in January 2023.
The 2007 gelding, was known for his winning youth career with Ally Fink, followed by incredible success with Catherine (Cat) Goffard and her mom, Rachel Goffard, with numerous Number One Youth and Amateur year-end titles plus countless World Show wins. At one point in his career, he had broken his hock, but he persevered to come back and win.
The once in a lifetime horse, “Gilly,” had just come off winning another Amateur High Point title with Catherine at Copper Country POR in Arizona, when he suffered a life-ending leg injury and was put down January 10, 2023. “Catherine took his death harder than I have ever witnessed in all my years of training,” explains Tim Gillespie. “She just loved Gilly so much.”
Hope on the Horizon
A bright spot was waiting for Cat Goffard, however. Tim says though Calvin wasn’t really for sale, they were able to take him to their barn for a week, and Cat was able to spend her entire spring break with him. “They clicked unbelievably and he melted her heart right away. Every day I saw the joy and the spark come back into Cat’s eyes, and she started laughing and smiling again. He has such a good personality that she was riding him bareback with a halter, and he’s so talented for the all-around as a natural lead changer. He also picked up the showmanship in two days. It’s a wonderful bond they already have,.”
He explains that it’s even more exciting to watch the horse they saw as a long two year old come full circle and impact the life of the Goffards. The fact that he’s a double is icing on the cake (Calvin is a full sibling to Livin Da Dream and his dam is a full sibling to Heartstoppin), since Cat’s sister, Emma, shows Candy Confidential (also raised by Susan) in APHA, because Cat will get to show with her sister as well.
“We’re hoping to still have Aaron help us at the big events for the Pleasure. He’s a really talented horse,” concludes Tim, “and we’re so blessed Susan would give us this opportunity.”
Susan says, “I’m beyond thrilled to see the Goffard/Gillespie Team take Calvin for the next phase of his development. Cat is a very talented rider and I believe this team will go far!”
Cat Chimes In
Cat explains that one of the biggest points of appeal for her in a horse is their personality, and she adores Calvin’s. “Calvin and I really clicked in that aspect; he’s one of the sweetest horses I ever had the opportunity to put a leg over,” she says. “The first day I rode him, I got to hop on him bareback. He’s so easy going, patient, and he genuinely loves attention.”
She also found he’s extremely smart, picking up the Showmanship on the first day they introduced it, and he’s already been started in Hunter Under Saddle and Trail to prepare for his all-around career. “He’s so patient and willing to try anything.”
Her responsibilities as a nursing major at TCU and as a rider on their equestrian team keep her busy, but she has learned to fulfill as many duties as possible during the week to keep some weekends free so she can practice, now with Calvin.
Though a big hole remains in her heart for Gallant Zippo, she’s learning how to apply what Gilly taught her to Calvin. “For me, my biggest fear is that people will start to see me the way I see myself, and I think Gilly was the first thing to actually fully see me for who I am and be there for me,” Cat reveals. “Gilly taught me not to measure how valuable you are by the way you’ve been treated. I think about him every day.”
Cat says she had always been grateful for Gilly, spoiling him and thanking him for each ride, but now she understands how much he did for her. “Going back to the barn has been hard since he was gone because he brought so much light to the barn. But he did like to push my buttons, and now when I just need a hug, Calvin is a lot more cuddly and I appreciate that.”
She explains that she’s been able to apply what Gilly taught her – appreciating brushing your horse, taking them for walks on the property, grazing in the grass – to Calvin and every other horse she rides now. “I have learned to give them an opportunity to enjoy their time with us.”
Cat concludes, “Gilly was a part of my life for so long, it’s going to take me a while to accept he’s really gone, so I appreciate Calvin has been taking that role. I’m excited to see how much he teaches me, and I can already see how good he is about me learning to teach him as well. I’m so excited for us to learn together.”
Congratulations to Cat and the Gofford Family and the Gillespies on this great new partnership! We will be cheering you on!