Madison Goetzmann is Your 2017 ASPCA Maclay Finals Winner

“Honestly, I tear up just thinking about it. My trainer also won this final, which makes it a really special win. It’s just incredible. It was a dream of mine to win.”

Madison Goetzmann, Maclay Finals Winner. PC: Phelps Media

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 5, 2017 – In its 134th year, the National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events, with its rich history and classical traditions, yet it is also known as the place where one very hard-fought dream comes true each year for one special junior rider.

Capping off a fantastic week at the Kentucky Horse Park, the CP National Horse Show concluded on Sunday, crowning Madison Goetzmann as the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Champion and adding her name among some of the biggest in equestrian sport on the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Madison Goetzmann is the 2017 ASPCA​ Maclay National Finals Ch…

Madison Goetzmann is the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Finals Champion!

Posted by EQSportsNet on Sunday, November 5, 2017

This year’s championship began with 177 horses and riders in Saturday’s preliminary round of over fences competition. Goetzmann, trained by Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables, and Elizabeth Benson’s San Remo VDL went 128th in the first round order-of-go, but quickly moved to the top of the standby list in second place, behind Jordyn Rose Freedman, after her confident and smooth round over the challenging 12-fence serpentine designed by Bobby Murphy.

Sunday’s final rounds of competition brought back the top 25 combinations from Saturday’s first round and consisted of a flat phase and one final over fences round. The flat phase of the championship was divided into three groups, where judges Ralph Caristo and Bernie Traurig tested the riders’ degree of adjustability and harmony with their horses by giving them a variety of undersaddle tests to complete including demonstrating a counter-canter, flying changes, a hand gallop, an extension and collection at the trot and canter and confidence on the flat with no stirrups.

Goetzmann expertly showcased her ability to adjust her mount, tackling the challenges the judges presented with ease. She demonstrated a high level of skill and control, maintaining connection with her horse and being effective with her aids, which ultimately was enough to move her up to first place in the rankings heading in to the final round.

“I think we both felt that as soon as [Madison] picked up the canter, from the first jump to the last jump, she just performed very confidently,” said Caristo after the class. “We just watched her. We didn’t even mark the card because she didn’t make any mistake that required it and we just looked at one another and said, ‘That’s it, no test.'”

Madison Goetzmann and San Remo VDL. PC: Phelps Media

The second round of over fences competition followed, where the top 25 returned to the Alltech Arena for one last chance to impress the judges before the final results were decided.

Returning in reverse order of ranking after the flat phase meant Goetzmann and San Remo VDL were the very last pair to contest Sunday’s course. Goetzmann and San Remo VDL navigated the track effortlessly and in textbook form to maintain her lead from the flat phase and seal the championship prize, following in her trainer’s footsteps who also won the championship in 1987.

“I think the jumpers have helped me learn to deal with the pressure,” said Goetzmann. “I was anxious last night being second for both the Maclay and U25 but Beezie has helped me a lot. She has been an anchor rider for many teams and she’s really helped me learn how to slow things down and stay focused.”

Upon Goetzmann’s win, Madden was awarded the Maclay National Championship Trainer Award, while Goetzmann’s family was also presented with the Gordon Wright Perpetual Trophy.

“It was a beautiful thing to watch it all come together,” said Stacia about Madison’s win. “For me, I knew that she had the ability to have the composure, the focus and the basics. She is very focused on being the best rider that she can be. We made an executive decision to sell her equitation horse so that she could focus on the jumpers but she has also kept with the equitation. She spent a lot of time in Europe over the summer, which was an unbelievable experience for her.”

“Equitation teaches you about discipline and track and all of the things that make you fast in a jump-off. I’m really happy that this ended up so well for her. Winning the finals is the end result of a good plan, hard work and everything coming together.”

Madison Goetzmann, 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Champion at the CP National Horse Show. PC: Phelps Media

The seasoned veteran, San Remo VDL, is an equitation expert at 17 years of age, having won multiple finals at the Washington International Horse Show and Capital Challenge Horse Show with past riders. Goetzmann was able to qualify for Maclay regionals while at the Winter Equestrian Festival this year and only recently teamed up with the Warmblood gelding at the Hampton Classic after spending her summer campaigning in the jumpers in Europe under the tutelage of John and Beezie Madden.

“San Remo VDL is a very special horse. It’s hard for me to take credit for all of this because really he is the one who helped me get where I am right now,” said Goetzmann. “I first started riding him in late August and we started off with a win. For me, riding this horse has been a big deal because I know what a huge part of the family he is at Beacon Hill [Show Stables]. He is really a championship horse and I am glad I could give him the win he deserves.”

After claiming the Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championship at Old Salem Farm in September, the pair continued their winning streak to take home the prestigious national championship.

The 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, is Goetzmann’s first equitation final win, which proved to be an emotional one as the 17-year-old high school senior shed tears of joy during the awards presentation.

Madison Goetzmann and San Remo VDL. PC: Phelps Media

Freedman, who trains with Linda Langmeier of Kelianda Farm, and Finnick were leading after Saturday’s first round and stayed consistent on Sunday to finish as reserve champion.

“Madison is one of my best friends, since we were on ponies, and once they said we were the top two I was just so happy, no matter how it went,” said Jordyn after the class, showing complete grace and sportsmanship in her reserve honors. “I came out of the ring crying after the second round because I was just so happy that I kept it together.”

Jordyn Rose Freedman

Congratulations to Jordyn Rose Freedman on claiming Reserve Champion honors at the 2017 @ASPCA Maclay National Finals

Posted by EQSportsNet on Sunday, November 5, 2017

During the awards ceremony following the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, Freedman and Goetzmann shared the honors of receiving the Iris McNeal Perpetual Trophy, donated by Susie Schoellkopf, David Distler and Walter J. Lee. Both Freedman and Goetzmann were recognized for their strong work ethic, horsemanship and outstanding sense of sportsmanship.

Rounding out the top three was Grady Lyman, who trains with Ken Smith of Ashland Farms, with You Wish, moving up from seventh place after the first round.

“You Wish is a very, very special horse. Anyone who knows me knows that I love that horse with all of my heart,” said Grady.  “Last year we paired up at this competition and it was love at first sight. He is an incredible animal and I can’t thank Ken and Emily [Smith] and Sophia Pilla enough for giving me the opportunity to ride him for the year. This third just means so much more to me because of how much I love that horse.”

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