Tim, Blythe and Kelly GoguenTim Goguen is an exceptional trainer, competitor, teacher, and husband. Tim and his wife Kelly have created a world-class group of equitation, hunter, and jumper horse and rider pairs. Their efforts have paid off in their season at WEF. Boggs Hill Farm is a premier facility overlooking the landscape of Lexington, KY, and only minutes from the prestigious Kentucky Horse Park. The Goguen’s train junior rider Vivian Yowan, and have coached talented equitation athletes such as Hayley Barnhill. There accomplishments throughout WEF 2012 have been remarkable, with weekly wins in the junior and young horse divisions. As the season steadily comes to an end, watch for Tim Goguen and his team of esteemed riders.How is your WEF season so far? Any highlights that you would like to share?
I have got a couple of green horses that I just got over in Europe and have come along quite nicely. They have been winning classes the last few weeks. Charming got here two days after Christmas, and he was just gelded, so I thought it was going to take a bit to get organized, but he has turned out great. He has been winning every week. I also have a horse called Captain, who has been showing with Vivian Yowan and has been pretty good in the Green Working Hunters. He has been dueling up and doing the Junior Hunters on the weekends and has been champion and reserve. She also has “Whatever” who has been winning in the Small Juniors, as well. It has been a really successful season thus far, and just very consistent.
What is the game plan when you finish up here in Wellington?
We go back to the farm in Lexington, and then show at the horse park. We go to Devon and then back to the horse park, and there is a bit of a break when we go to Vermont as well. We do love going back because the Kentucky grass is a lot more luscious than it is here, so the horses love it and after being down here for so long, we love to get back home.You manage Boggs Hill, what can you say about the daily duty of having such an important job?
My wife Kelly does all the preparation and organization, as well as teaching, so I am so blessed to have her. We used to have a lot more on the road but now we have about 18—that is just enough to stay busy but not go crazy. We do get some downtime, and we try to participate in activities outside the industry, like tennis. It is just so many weeks, and we did take last week off, but it is hard on the horses and the riders. It is important to get that relaxation. We are trying to get them qualified, and we have been so lucky to have some great healthy horses, but we need to make sure that we don’t push them too far. You were injured two years ago; can you tell us a bit about the steps you took to recovery, and the persons or aspects that helped you through it.
This is my first year fully back riding after breaking my pelvis, and I still have some nerve damage, but it has been a great year. I was on the walker for a while, and not weight-bearing, yet once I started moving more and was able to come to the farm, it helped a lot. I felt great once it felt like I could be a part of the farm. I was bound and determined to not let this derail my life, and with a lot of physical therapy I made it. The most frustrating part is that it takes time. Is there any one thing that you would say to a rider going through the same circumstances?
I can certainly relate to several of the top riders who have had this problem. I have not gotten to speak with McLain, but I can relate to the fact that it may be a very frustrating process. I would just say that this comes with the job and it is important to keep your head up and work hard to recovery. Don’t let it hurt your future.In this industry your success depends tremendously upon your health. Did that fall have you worried?
I honestly don’t think about it that much. It comes with the territory and it’s so unfortunate when it happens, but the only thing you can do is get through it. You always know that it can happen, but you love to compete and ride, so you can’t let it affect your riding. For the most part, with the amount of riding and training that everyone does, it is a safe sport. We try to keep it as safe as possible, but accidents happen. The only thing you can do is keep riding and work hard.
Tim Goguen and Safari
George Morris has made a comment on the jumps in the hunter ring. The debate regards the dilemma of whether these jumps actually challenge our horses, because they are built up to create great form. How do you feel about this?
I am quite satisfied with the courses this season. I don’t disagree with George; however, I feel that the dilemma is a hard one to fix. I think that it is hard to put all the pieces together to begin with. You want them to go around nicely and be expressive, and of course changing the jumps may separate the naturally athletic and quality horses from others. I agree that the courses need to be more complex than inside and outside lines, which they have done successfully this season, but I believe that the building of the jumps is a more difficult question to answer.
What is your opinion on the use of the equitation and hunters rings, and how they assist in generating jumper riders?
I think that the hunters is a bit of an artistry, as far as getting the jumps to match, and I think that this is an increasingly difficult task. I am not saying that you don’t have to ride to get success in the jumper ring, but you can get in a little deep and still make it over the fence, while the hunters are judged at each fence. I believe absolutely that the equitation and hunter riders will use their skills in the jumper ring, and vice versa. Being able to navigate a course in the hunters can certainly set a rider up for success in the jumper ring.