When seventeen-year-old Madison Goetzmann first started competing in the ASPCA Maclay National Championship classes five years ago, she started with smaller scale dreams. This year, however, with the support of friends, family, and her trainers Madison was able to put all of the pieces together to bring home one of the most competitive junior titles in the world.
Recognizing the Road to Success
Madison fell in love with riding at the tender age of two years old after visiting her older brother while he was at pony camp just across the street from her childhood home. Even in her youngest years, she knew the barn was where she wanted to be. Not long after that, Madison began her pony career in the Short Stirrup at Fairfield County Hunt Club. She later moved to Heritage Farm during her Pony Hunter Career.
Around the age of fourteen, Madison decided to move her focus to the Jumper ring and transitioned to training with John and Beezie Madden. It was at this time that Madison was also introduced to Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables and decided to pursue equitation, as well.
“Equitation was something that always appealed to me. I think it has helped so many top riders excel in their careers and I hope it will one day have the same impact on me,” Madison shared with JN. “Equitation was something that always appealed to me. I think it has helped so many top riders excel in their careers and I hope it will one day have the same impact on me.”
For the past five years, Madison has competed in various Maclay classes as she continued to train with some of the industry’s best. “At first it was just a dream of mine to get through regionals to the actual final. Lots of no-stirrups and eq lessons later, I finally made it the championship and these past few I have been lucky to have been in the top three at the Final. This year it was a goal of mine to really seal the deal.”
Finding the Perfect Partner
With that goal in mind, Madison worked harder than ever to give herself a winning edge. Of course, a good rider needs a good horse — enter Elizabeth Benson’s San Remo VDL. “Remo is just about as special as a horse you can get,” said Madison. “He is apart of the Beacon Hill family and to have been given the opportunity to ride him means so much.” Remo is no new face to the Equitation ring, in fact this 17-year-old seasoned expert knows his job so well that he gets to spend the majority of his time just being a horse at the Madden’s iconic farm in Cazenovia, New York.
“He spends his winter, spring, and summer in the field at John and Beezie’s …. though I have only been riding him for three months, I feel like we have such a special bond.”
Putting it Together in the Final
Riders have to contest several phases to work their way into the final round of competition, but as Madison schooled prior to entering the ring for Phase 1 she felt as if all the pieces were coming together. “Knowing that my horse was on his A game I felt very confident and comfortable that we could turn in a good round. My biggest focus was keeping my horse balanced and straight over the fences, especially over fence 3. Fence 3 was a wide oxer in the corner of the ring that was angled so the horses were anticipating the right turn. Remo tends to drift a little right so with him already thinking about turn right, it was a big focus of mine to keep him straight off the ground.”
Of course, Madison and Remo put in a beautiful trip and were called back for the flat phase where they also put in a stellar performance. Going into the final phase, Madison knew all of her hard work had prepared her for this moment and that she had the team of a lifetime behind her to support her.
“Stacia Madden and Max Amaya both pulled me aside before the last phase and reminded me that I could do this and that I should stay cool, calm and collected. I told myself to just ride the best to my ability and to, most importantly, enjoy myself.”
It was easy for Madison to make that happen when she glanced at what they would be faced with in the ring. “Once I saw the last course I cracked a small smile because I knew the course best suited myself and my horse. I was most excited about the stretchy double vertical double to the patient six-line because Remo is adjustable and I knew I had an advantage in that line being on him.”
Madison Goetzmann is the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Finals Champion!
Posted by EQSportsNet on Sunday, November 5, 2017
As the pair put in their final trip, the word elegance comes to mind. Madison and Remo worked together to dot all of their i’s and cross their t’s- those little details that are crucial to winning the Maclay Final.
When the class pinning finally arrived and the announcer called Madison’s name, she was in awe. “It’s almost fuzzy thinking about when I was crowned the Champion. All I can remember was the rush of tears flowing down my face.”
The large crowd that gathered around Madison during their celebratory photo was just a testament of the many hands that play an integral role in getting a young rider to the top of the ASPCA Maclay Final. “Not only does it take a village to accomplish something like this, but it takes a family and I am so beyond grateful to have the amazing people I have supporting me in my life.”
While this is one dream marked off Madison’s wish list, she has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. She plans on attending college, but might take a gap year to ride and continue learning the ropes of the industry. This ambitious young rider aims to continue to train and develop herself as a horsewoman with a goal of a spot on a Nations Cup team one day. By adding her name to a storied list of junior riders, Madison Goetzmann is well on her way to leaving her mark on the sport now and for decades to come.