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. The ASPCA Maclay National Championship, which first began in 1933, is one of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United States and is the last of four big indoor equitation finals held throughout the year. 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.
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.
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.
The course began with a long approach to an oxer headed towards the ingate to a vertical that spanned 30 feet in length and was distinguished by its false groundlines. Next was an in-and-out along the outside line to an oxer, where riders then had to hand gallop across the diagonal to fence five, an oxer, followed by another oxer directly after in the corner of the arena. Once landing fence six, riders were asked to counter-canter over fence two in the opposite direction then trot fence eight and counter-canter fence nine on a bending line. The final line, which proved to be one of the more challenging elements of the course for most riders, was an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination before finishing over the skinny ASPCA wall.
Last to go, 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. 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.
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.
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.
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. During the awards ceremony following the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, Freedman and Goetzmann shared the honors of receiving the Wilson Dennehy Award. 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.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Madison Goetzmann – 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship winner
On winning the 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship:
“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.”
On competing both in the jumpers and equitation:
“I think the jumpers have helped me learn to deal with the pressure. I was anxious last night being second for both the Maclay and U25 but Beezie [Madden] 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.”
On San Remo VDL:
“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. 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.”
On her initial plan for Sunday’s course:
“The course rode just as it walked. The only question really was the last line as an eight or seven. As the round went on we decided to just do the seven because historically San Remo has a big stride and there was no way he was spooking at the last fence.”
Stacia Madden – Beacon Hill Show Stables head trainer
On Madison’s win:
“It was a beautiful thing to watch it all come together. 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.”
Jordyn Rose Freedman – Second place
“Finnick is a really special horse. We imported him when he was 7 off of a video and I rode him and I just knew that he was a special animal. I am really lucky that I have gotten to grow with him as a rider. After four years we have a really special bond and I am fortunate to have this horse in my career.”
On being in the top three:
“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. I came out of the ring crying after the second round because I was just so happy that I kept it together.”
On her initial plan for Sunday’s course:
“My plan was just to do everything my trainer told me to do to the best of my ability. When I was at the gate, Linda [Langmeier] reminded me that the last line was a seven but I wasn’t feeling very sure about it because I hadn’t seen anyone do it. I was nervous to jump the last line but Linda was right as always.”
Grady Lyman – Third place
On You Wish:
“You Wish is a very, very special horse. Anyone who knows me knows that I love that horse with all of my heart. 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.”
On her initial plan for Sunday’s course:
“Going into the ring, I had my plan set but as the course went on I needed to change my plan a little bit. Going to fence seven, my horse flipped his tongue over his bit and I lost a little bit of control so I had to work my way around that. Coming into the last line, I had planned to do the seven but I added the eight to have a little more control.”
Ralph Caristo – 2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship judge
On deciding between the top two:
“They were both head-to-head right through this whole competition. Really the deciding factor was the flat work. Jordyn’s was a little different from Madison’s and that made a difference. It really came down to the last round and they were both fantastic. In the end, we decided to choose Madison but either one of them would be considered a champion today.”
On the decision not to test:
“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. 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.'”
2017 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm:
Place / Rider / Horse / Trainer
1. Madison Goetzmann / San Remo VDL / Stacia Madden
2. Jordyn Rose Freedman / Finnick / Linda Langmeier
3. Grady Lyman / You Wish / Ken Smith
4. Annabel Revers / Contigo 37 / Stacia Madden
5. Daisy Farish / Braavos / Andre Dignelli
6. Abigail Brayman / Cassini W / Missy Clark
7. Coco Fath / Class Action / Stacia Madden
8. Tanner Korotkin / Zapfier / Missy Clark
9. Emma Crosbie / Quadro D’Ag / Emily Williams
10. Cooper Dean / Kori D’Oro / Andre Dignelli
Jennifer Gates Captures $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship
Earlier in the day, the Alltech Arena saw jumper competition and the final round of the $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship. Twenty-two riders challenged Michel Vaillancourt’s test with four rounds spread across three competitions, which began on Thursday. Based on the FEI World Cup format, penalties continued to transfer over from each prior round. Eighteen riders returned Sunday for two rounds of competition in which Jennifer Gates and her mount Alex claimed the overall championship with only 4 faults acquired throughout all three phases.
Upon claiming Friday’s blue ribbon in the $20,000 jump-off competition, Gates led the way as the only rider to enter Sunday’s competition with no starting faults. Returning in reverse order, Gates entered the ring last and rode Evergate Stables LLC’s 13-year-old Westphalian gelding to another fault-free first round, but had one unfortunate rail down in the second round to finish with an overall total of 4 faults. Taking over the ride from Audrey Coulter just this summer, Gates has already ridden Alex internationally and most recently claimed the $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm U25 Grand Prix at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in September.
On top of winning the prized ASPCA Maclay National Championship, Madison Goetzmann and her own Prestigious finished just behind Gates with 6 total faults for the reserve championship after capturing the win in Thursday’s $15,000 faults converted speed competition. Goetzmann and her 10-year-old Westphalian mount also share a fairly new partnership, pairing up at the beginning of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.
Repeating her 2016 third place finish was Abigail McArdle, this year aboard Plain Bay Sales’ Chuck Berry 8. McArdle and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding finished the last round with 4 faults for a final total of 9 faults.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jennifer Gates – $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship winner
On the U25 series:
“The U25 classes have added a lot of depth to my learning. It’s an incredible format. It gives us young riders the opportunity to jump really hard tracks and put us under a little pressure in similar formats to World Cup classes. It’s been a priority of mine to try and compete in as many U25 events as possible. Winning this here is a huge honor and I can’t thank USEF enough for sponsoring such an amazing championship for us.”
“My trainer, Hardin [Towell], had seen [Alex] four years ago when I was jumping the 1.20m. He liked him, but I wasn’t ready for a horse of that caliber yet. I have watched him with Audrey [Coulter] and this summer she was kind enough to let me try him. I am grateful for the opportunity to have him.”
Madison Goetzmann – Second place
On competing in the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and U25 championship in the same day:
“I really have my trainers, John and Beezie Madden, to thank for [preparing me today]. They’re always telling me to slow things down, take a second to breathe and think about smoothness around the courses. When I woke up this morning, my main focus was the U25 and I wanted to successfully complete those courses before switching my focus to the Maclay. It really hasn’t been too stressful. My trainers have helped me a lot through that.”
Abigail McArdle – Third place
On the U25 series:
“I absolutely love [this championship]. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a great in-between division — between not being a junior or an amateur but trying to step up to being a professional. It’s a great division. I think it’s super competitive and I’m just happy to be here.”
DiAnn Langer – U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider chef d’équipe
On Sunday’s U25 results at the 2017 CP National Horse Show:
“These are three incredible athletes. They are fantastic at what they do and courageous, committed and disciplined. It has been an incredible journey to watch their careers progress. They have been on teams and have taken part in all of the educational programs that we have given to enhance their experience. I couldn’t be more proud of what they showed us today.”
$100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship (overall ranking):
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Total Faults
1. Alex / Jennifer Gates / Evergate Stables LLC / 4
2. Prestigious / Madison Goetzmann / Madison Goetzmann / 6
3. Chuck Berry 8 / Abigail McArdle / Plain Bay Sales / 9
4. Great White / Daisy Farish / Daisy Farish / 9
5. Quite Dark 2 / Haley Gassel / Westwind Equine Training Center / 12
6. Huckleberry / Coco Fath / Hillside Farm LLC / 12
7. Gentille / Kaely Tomeu / Siboney Ranch / 12
8. Iliano Van D’Abelendreef / McKayla Langmeier / Linda Langmeier / 17
9. Waliba VDL / Mackenzie Drazan / Mackenzie Drazan / 19
10. Julio Vh Elzenhout / Giavanna Rinaldi / Blue Chip Bloodstock / 21
11. Clockwise Of Greenhill Z / Uma O’Neill / Uma O’Neill / 23
12. Haylie Van De Groenendijk / Kelli Cruciotti / Serenity Farm / 26
Annabella Sanchez and Cassano Z Win $15,000 Equithrive Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship
The final day of the 2017 CP National Horse Show kicked off with the $15,000 Equithrive Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper series championship, presented by Horse Network. The final class of the series hosted a first round comprised of 31 competitors, which saw nine horse-and-rider combinations advance to the jump-off round.
Six of the nine jump-off competitors were able to pilot their mounts to double-clear jumping efforts. Annabella Sanchez of Chicago, Illinois, rode her own 9-year-old Zangershide, Cassano Z, to a blazing time of 36.623 seconds. That time was a mere 1/100th of a second faster than Giavanna Rinaldi and Carben Farm’s Always Me, who completed the short course in a time of 36.631 seconds. Taylor St. Jacques and her 13-year-old Selle Français, Qantar Des Etisses, rounded out the top three spots with a time of 36.840 seconds.
Not only did Sanchez take top honors in the class but she was also awarded the Jean Maccoll Hart Perpetual Memorial Trophy, generously donated by Deborah C. Hart and Gwynn H. Hubbell.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Annabella Sanchez – $15,000 Equithrive Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship, presented by Horse Network, winner
On Cassano Z:
“[Cassano Z] is 9 years old. I recently got him this spring. He’s pretty new for me but he’s been great so far. He’s a younger horse so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’s going to be when he’s older. He’s already amazing.”
On the jump-off:
“Gia and I both ride at Our Day Farm with Maggie and Alex Jayne and Haylie Rolfe. She’s a great rider and I always look up to her. She had an amazing jump-off. I saw it on the screen and I thought, ‘Wow, I really have to go for it!’ He’s been turning really well lately — we’ve been working on that with him since he’s younger. He was just on it; he was amazing today. I’m just so grateful for him.”
On winning the championship:
“This is actually my first indoors. It’s amazing. I did the jumpers in Harrisburg then came here. It’s just surreal. I wouldn’t have expected it to happen, but my horse has been so on top of it. I just do jumpers, but hopefully in the next year I’ll get into both the hunter and equitation rings.”
$15,000 Equithrive Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship, presented by Horse Network:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Cassano Z / Annabella Sanchez / Annabella Sanchez / 0 / 0 / 36.623
2. Always Me / Giavanna Rinaldi / Carben Farms LLC / 0 / 0 / 36.631
3. Qantar Des Etisses / Taylor St. Jacques / Taylor St. Jacques / 0 / 0 / 36.840
4. Helene Ve / Alexandra Pielet / Co-Pielet, LLC / 0 / 0 / 37.314
5. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook LLC / 0 / 0 / 38.129
6. Carmen / Samantha Cohen / Samantha Cohen / 0 / 0 / 39.899
7. Alberto II / Daisy Farish / Stone Ridge Farms, LLC / 0 / 4 / 38.307
8. Pippi / Kaely Tomeu / Siboney Ranch / 0 / 4 / 40.239
9. Quite Close VD Smis / Claudia Villamil / Claudia Villamil / 0 / 12 / 55.750
10. Bluf / Sophie Gochman / Gochman Sport Horse LLC / 1 / 70.714
11. Conero / Christina Fisher / Christina Fisher / 1 / 70.735
12. Divace / Alex Parrish / Lexander Farm, LLC / 1 / 70.925