THE BLACK COWGIRL
Who is Caitlin Gooch?
Hey y'all, I am Caitlin Gooch also known as "The Black Cowgirl."
I have never known a life without horses and everything I do includes them in some way. Having a love for animals at an early age, I obviously wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. Little did I know I would make a large impact on the world in a different way. In 2015, I graduated college with a B.S. in Sociology. I immediately started working with youth. Once families found out I had horses, they wanted their kids to take horseback riding lessons. I offered lessons (in addition to working full time) for a while but I felt like there was more to my purpose. Soon after stopping lessons, I founded a nonprofit called Saddle Up and Read to help kids read more and better. From there, everything changed. I began to focus on healing bonds with horses and teaching horsemanship. I started to acknowledge my gifts and speak my truth. To this day, I have inspired thousands of people to let their light shine.
It's HER Lifestyle
My dad put me on a horse's back when I was three years old and I have not looked back since. I rode in a round pen at the barn. I rode in the pasture in front of our house. I rode practicing the barrel pattern at a walk. Sometimes I would just sit and watch the horses. And of course living on a farm means you help care for the animals! Every chance I could get to be outside with my horses, I took it. When I was six years old I asked my parents if they could put my bed in a stall so I could sleep in the barn. My passion for horses was so strong at a very young age. Aside from living on the horse farm, we rode trails and attended rodeos most of my life. Every Friday as a kid was so exciting for me. Fridays meant the weekend was here which meant it was time to go to a trail ride. The best way I can explain our east coast rides is: a family reunion + camping trip every weekend with horses. My family had created one of the first publications to highlight Black horsemen and women in the early 2000s. My roots run deep when it comes to horses.
Most times I am the first Black cowgirl people meet. I was fortunate to grow up around hundreds of Black equestrians on the east coast. I know how important it is for me to show up. I will never forget the time I was reading to families when a Black man told me he wanted to be a cowboy when he was younger but his mother told him, "There are no Black cowboys." I never want those words to be said to a child or anyone again. As I continue to show up as an example of what is possible, I am planting seeds for the future of the next generation of equestrians.
It's OUR History
"I never had a book or coloring book with Black people and horses as a kid, so I created one."
Visiting the library is what led me to start a book collection of all the published books featuring Black equestrians. I was sitting in the library flipping through books when I picked up one about the Black west. From there I did research to find more books. Sadly, most of them were not for children. In 2019, I decided to create a coloring book based on the people in my book collection. My Black Equestrian Coloring Book Volume 1: The Trail Blazers is the representation people have been looking for.
The Black Cowgirl on YouTube
Watch some of my time with horses on my YouTube Channel, The Black Cowgirl. When I was in elementary school, I choose to make a video about my daily routine with the horses for a project. It was recorded on a VHS. I was so shy I felt embarrassed when it played in the classroom. Fast forward to now and I am being heard on an international level! To this day I have no idea where the video is but I am still proud of how far I have come.