GALION – Britleigh Goodman didn’t let COVID-19 get in the way of her dream. In May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, she purchased a horse boarding farm in Galion and then proceeded to offers lessons, too.
Goodman is originally from New Philadelphia, near Sugar Creek.
“I saw the farm was for sale and I started the process of visiting the place to make sure it would be a good fit for me and what I wanted. I wasn’t even entirely sure what I wanted,” she said.
The farm, formerly known as Hidden Springs, was already an established boarding farm owned by Ray and Jan Weithman.
“I didn’t even get to meet the owners,” she said. “We just kind of passed each other during signings.”
After the purchase Goodman renamed the farm Crooked Creek Farm.
“Little 13-year-old me came up with that name when I had my own personal barn where my horses were. I played horses. I made my own barn; I made my own lists. I ran my own lesson plan when I was a kid. That’s how I played.
“When we had our horses at home, I came up with that name. We lived on Crooked Run Road and there was a creek behind the house, but I liked the horseshoe logo and that was the picture in my head I came up with. I said, 13-year-old me needs to see it through. It’s actually an LTD: it’s legit,” she beamed.
The farm’s logo is formed by two outward facing linked horseshoes.
When she was that young girl dreaming of horses, she boarded friends’s horses. “It wasn’t a business; it was still a friend’s horse at my barn but it lived there and I’d take care of it.”
Goodman had her first pony when she was three years old and started taking lessons when she was six. She began with an English seat and hunter/jumper riding until she was 14. But when she was 12, she also got another horse and started stock riding with Paint and Pintos.
She started at the 4-H level, but then her abilities outgrew those competitions and she sold both of her horses and pursued Western all-around competition.
“I did APHA and PTHA circuits, all as a youth kid, traveling around Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. I traveled all the time,” Goodman said.
She graduated from Kent State University in 2020 with a veterinary technology degree and worked in an animal clinic. But when she purchased the farm, it demanded her attention. She does, however, work part time performing administrative tasks at a senior living community. It’s work she’s familiar with because she got off the bus every day at her father’s mechanic and towing shop and managed the front desk.
Her boyfriend, Clay Miller, moved with her to Galion and also works at Boise Cascade Building Materials in Marion.
He’s relatively new to the horse world, she said.
“He’s great at it; he’s awesome at it. I joke that he’s the grunt man behind everything. He does all the hard stuff—when the tractor breaks down or the fence needs fixed, or when we get the tractor stuck,” she said.
Crooked Creek Farm can accommodate 32 horses. Currently there are 28 horses; six of the stalls are occupied by her own horses. Current farm boarders are from Galion, Lexington, Ontario, Shelby, and Bucyrus. She offers self-care and full-care boarding and the horses range from a Mustang to Quarter Horses, Standardbred, and Paint. And the horse’s owners ride for pleasure, competing, and even rodeos.
The farm has an outdoor arena and an indoor arena, three tack rooms and a wash rack, round pens, fields in the front and 20-some acres of trails.
I offer riding lessons, Western and English, for all ages from whatever beginner level of riding you are, but I think with my history in competing and riding horses I really like helping the rider/horse team combo.
“My horse and I are considered a team, in my book, because we’re going to work together to set our goal and reach our goal, whether it’s going to be in the show pen or something as basic as we really want to make something like a lead better. It’s important to set goals. If you have your show schedule planned out, you say, ‘I have a goal have my horse set a pivot in the showmanship class.’ It’s really important to set that goal,’ she said.
Ohio in is the top six in horse ownership. Goodman said that’s particularly true for Quarter Horses with the All American Quarter Horse Congress held in Ohio. That is the largest single-breed horse show in the world, Goodman said.
‘It’s here in Ohio, in our state. So that’s really cool. We have a lot of big-name trainers in Ohio, not just quarter horses. We have Arabian trainers that are well-known here, reining trainers that are well-known here,” she added.
“I dreamed of having the indoor arena to ride during the wintertime. I think it’s so neat I can offer that to other people. It makes my little girl heart sparkle. It makes me happy inside. And horses make me happy. It’s not just my six horses that make me happy; I come in the barn in the morning and I literally say, ‘Good morning, kids. I’m the one that gets to feed them in the morning.’”
For more information, contact Goodman at [email protected]
Crooked Creek Farm is located at 1271 Biddle Rd, Galion, Ohio.