Chamisa Goodwin comes by her love of horses and raceriding quite naturally, as part of an ongoing family affair with the equine world and the racetrack. She, her brother, Nik, and sister, Neah, can be found at Canterbury Park almost any day of the week, raceriding or galloping. All three spend their weeks on the backs of thoroughbreds and, in Nik’s case, quarter horses, too. Horses have been part of their lives since childhood. They grew up near Bemidji riding horses their father owned, so the next logical step, to any adventure loving youngster, had to be raceriding.
Chamisa’s inspiration came from watching Nik raceride. When she rode her first winner on a Minnesota racetrack Thursday night, he was one of the first in the jockeys lounge to greet her and offer a congratulatory fistbump.
Horses and the Goodwins seem to go hand in hand.
The family, except for Chamisa’s mother, Theresa, who was babysitting one of the grandkids, was at Canterbury on Thursday when Chamisa recorded her first Minnesota win.
It was certainly appropriate. She began her riding career late in the 2006 meet in Shakopee but injuries in the months and seasons that followed have prevented her from riding at home as regularly as she might have preferred.
After initiating her career in 2006, she left Shakopee for Penn National that September and then moved on to Philadelphia Park, where she broke a fibula and was sidelined for two to three months. She was riding in May at Philadelphia Park once again but was injured badly in a spill that left her with a broken back, collarbone and lacerated liver.
She has not ridden at Philadelphia Park since the accident, and it’s a safe bet listening to her talk that it is not part of any immediate or future plans.
Chamisa likely has a clearer picture than most riders of the impact injuries have on a body’s movement, knowledge she obtained while completing a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology at the University of Maryland. She spent hours learning about the physiological and mechanical aspects as well as psychological mechanics of the body.
And to think that while in high school, she had something much different in mind for herself, a vision formed in part from movies. “I wanted to be an FBI agent,” she said. “Eventually I figured out that it wasn’t for me.”
Chamisa’s mother and her father, Duane, are both art teachers. Theresa gives pottery classes. Duane teaches at the Leech Lake Tribal College. A statue made by Duane stands in St. Paul’s Mounds Park, a lifesized sculpture of a Native American woman with a sacred bowl, a smudge bowl used for burning sage, in her hands – the giver of life.
Chamisa, too, has an artistic bent. She does traditional Ojibway beadwork on pouches, bags and – her favorite – baby moccasins.
When it came time to make moccasins for Chamisa’s daughter, Aiyana, now eight, the job went to grandmother, however. Later, Duane made a pair for his granddaughter, too.
Chamisa has more free time to do her artistic handiwork during the winter months when she lives in Hot Springs, Ark., galloping horses while Aiyana goes to school. “I do ride a few horses down there near the end of the meet,” she said.
Aiyana seems interested, too, in carrying on the family tradition. “She wants to become a jockey,” Chamisa said. Like mother, like daughter…in more ways than one.
The name “Chamisa” comes from the western desert plant. “Aiyana” means blossom.
Artistic expression from the natural world.
This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.