Amanda Gomez grew up in an environment that every horse-crazy little girl dreams about: the backside of the racetrack. With a jockey for a father and a mother who was an assistant trainer at the time, it’s no surprise the now-professional rider turned horses into a career.
“Spending days at the track is what really developed my love for horses,” Gomez said. “I kind of fell into the show jumping scene because that’s what my mom grew up doing too. As I got better, my Mom and Dad started to bring in horses off the track for me to retrain. Of course, it was challenging at times, but looking back now these were the horses that made me the rider I am today. I slowly started developing these horses day by day and eventually had horses to show, and that’s where I started,” Gomez says of her background.
Today, Gomez rides for Rising Star Equestrian. Her string of horses include everything from off-the-track Thoroughbreds to Westphalians.
Coldplay, a 14 year old gelding who’s known as “Tito” around the barn, is one of Gomez’s Westphalian horses and was actually given to her by a good friend. “My friend imported him from Belgium and rode him here for a couple of years on the circuit in the 1.35 meter classes,” Gomez says about the gelding. “He’s very quirky and needs a very quiet, soft ride, as he can build and gets nervous easily. That aside, he’s probably the most talented horse I’ve ever sat on. I currently show him in the 1.45 meter National Prix’s.”
Gomez told us Coldplay enjoys being ridden bare back more than being ridden in a saddle. “I’ll occasionally even jump him bareback to keep him enjoying his job!” Gomez said. Her plans for the future with Coldplay include jumping him in the 1.50+ meter classes competitively.
Another of Gomez’s Westphalian horses, a mare named So Fly, is also her very first home bred sport horse. “She’s by the world famous Flexible out of a Borrego mare, which is another horse that my dad had great success with,” Gomez said. “So Fly’s got that Flexible attitude and is a talent! She definitely will be a horse to watch for as she develops.” So Fly’s personality shines in the barn as well, and she knows how to smile for cookies and pictures.
Gomez told us her future plans for this mare are to continue developing and showing her in her age classes. “Hopefully winning a young horse championship
too!” Gomez adds, regarding goals for the mare’s future.
Of course, true to her roots, Gomez has several Thoroughbred mounts. “I’ve always had a love for the Thoroughbreds,” Gomez said. “I developed one of my off-the-track Thoroughbreds into a fantastic grand prix horse and one of my top horses. I try to retrain and rehome as many off-the-track Thoroughbreds as possible! I still prefer their type over a typical big boned warmblood. Can’t beat the heart of a good Thoroughbred!”
All Star, also known as Ben around the barn, is an off-the-track Thoroughbred with a very special story. “This is a horse that my mom and dad bred to be a top quality racehorse,” Gomez said about All Star. “My Dad actually rode his sire Pioneer of the Nile on multiple occasions and even placed second in the Kentucky Derby with him. Ben was born at our farm and has been with us for the entirety of his life. When he was just a yearling, he jumped and cleared the pasture fence. At that moment I turned to my mom, laughed and said that’s going to be my Grand Prix horse!”
Gomez’s mother was merely amused by this, because All Star’s sire’s stud fee was a whopping $150,000 at the time, and he’s also out of an A.P Indy mare. With exceptional bloodlines like that, Gomez’s parents clearly had high hopes for the then-yearling’s racing future. But, as many racing and horse professionals have learned the hard way, sometimes horses have other plans.
A year or so later, Ben made it clear he wanted nothing to do with racing. “We took him home (from the track) and that’s where we found out what he really enjoyed doing, which was jumping! Fast forward to now, he’s 9 years old and one of my top horses, and shows in the National Grand Prix’s!”
The Thoroughbred Makeover, an annual Thoroughbred retraining competition held at the renowned Kentucky Horse Park, is a competition to which Gomez is no stranger. One of Gomez’s current Thoroughbred mounts, Racing Ace aka Ace, is one of her two mounts for the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover. “He was given to me for the event by trainer Charles Treece and his wife Debi. He’s only four and has a fantastic future in front of him!”
Racing Ace is by Upstart out of a Van Nistelrooy mare. Gomez will be entering Racing Ace in the show hunter and show jumper divisions at the makeover and has her sights set on the title of “Most Wanted Thoroughbred” for Ace as well.
Gomez said after the unfortunate passing of her father, she felt compelled to promote the Thoroughbred breed as a whole, especially within the hunter/ jumper world. “My Dad always had a special kind of love for the horse and gave all credit to these amazing animals that gave him their all on the track. He always wanted the best for them,” Gomez said.
Many Horses, But One Feed: Hygain
As many Thoroughbred owners know, keeping weight on this and other high-performance breeds, can be a special kind of challenge. For Gomez, this is where Hygain came into play for her horses.
“Hygain has been absolutely life changing. I have never seen results like you get with it. All the products truly work and the horses love them! I struggled for many years with horses coming straight off the track. They come in fit, but of course, lean. As time goes on, they begin to lose muscle due to the drastic change in workload. I’ve found that if you immediately start them on a scoop of Trugain, they start to gain weight and hold more muscle without becoming hot or fresh!
I also love the Trucare as a base in all my horses’ diets along with Flexion and Safeguard. Hygain truly keeps them happy, healthy and beautiful!”
Gomez and her string of horses usually show on the West Coast and compete year round. “We love The Nilforushan Equisport Tournament put on by Ali Nilforushian. Ali has put together a Thoroughbred program at his shows as well, making it more affordable to show our Thoroughbreds at top venues. Which I admire and use often!”
“We also love to attend the West Palms shows put on by Dale Harvey. They always put on a fantastic show! Great classes and always fantastic hospitality,” Gomez said of some of her favorite show circuits.
One of Gomez’s favorite recent events with one of her horses, Sky, was when she won the 5-year-old classic at The Oaks, which was is quite the accomplishment. When we asked Gomez what her favorite memory competing with her horses is, she mentioned a class with her horse Ben. “Ben winning the 1.30 meter classic at Riders Cup against all the big warmbloods, is one of my favorite competition memories of all time!” Gomez said.
Whatever her goals – in the show ring and otherwise – Gomez is sure to continue achieving them. Her careful attention to the health and happiness of her horses ensures each one will achieve their full potential. Those are lucky horses indeed.
This article originally appeared in 2022 Vol. 2. The full issue can be read online here.