Where Are They Now – Goosebumps

Our Nightmare Before Christmas Freestyle - High Time Photography

We recently reprinted the story “My Journey to the National Dressage Pony Cup” about the mighty (and occasionally naughty) Appaloosa pony named Goosebumps.  Emily Grimstead, the original writer of the story we pulled from the YourDressage Archives, shared this great update about what Goosebumps has been up to since their story was published in October 2017.

By Emily Grimstead

After a very successful dressage career, Goosebumps is now happily retired from showing. Here’s what he has been up to since his last feature!

Christmas Goosebumps by K. Hoogkamp Photography

After we went to the National Dressage Pony Cup, we had several wonderful years of showing together. Goosebumps was the Adequan®/USDF All-Breed Champion (Adult Amateur Training Level) and Reserve Champion (Open Training Level) in 2017. In my mind, the highlight of his career was when we received a 69.167% in our “Nightmare Before Christmas” First Level Musical Freestyle at a USDF show and conquered the three-loop-serpentine at the canter.

In 2019, Goosebumps was feeling a little burnt out of classical dressage and was telling me to slow down, so I decided that we should try western dressage to see how he responded to something a little different. It turns out that Goosebumps excelled at western dressage, and it was enjoyable for him! He was the North Carolina Dressage and Combined Training Association (NCDCTA) Horse of the Year in Basic Level Western Dressage in 2019. He also won a year-end award with the International Rescue Horse Registry for western dressage.

Goosebumps and I at a Western Dressage Show

I had hoped to debut him at USDF Second Level in 2020, but Goosebumps developed some lameness problems very suddenly. He was diagnosed with “navicular changes” as a result of caudal heel pain which led me on a hoof care journey to learn as much about hooves as I could for a non-professional. While in the hoof rehab process, it was discovered that he had a fractured hock which happened sometime between his sets of radiographs. I decided then that it was time for him to retire from competition and give him what he deserved most—a good, long rest and time to heal.

Goosebumps in a beginner riding lesson

Goosebumps is now used in a beginner lesson program, teaching the next generation the basics of horsemanship. Sometimes, Goosebumps and I still enjoy a fun bareback ride. I have a cabinet full of awards and accolades from my heart horse, but the most important thing to me is that when he told me what he needed, I listened. Having a relationship with a horse is a two-way consent, and I always wanted to make sure that I wasn’t pushing him too hard for my goals at his expense. He still loves being groomed and having all my attention when I am at the barn. I will never have another horse like him, and I am so thankful that I still am able to enjoy our partnership in other ways in his retirement.

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