Madison Goetzmann had been groomed to take the Maclay trophy by trainer Stacia Klein Madden, the 1987 Maclay winner, and her team at Beacon Hill Show Stables in New Jersey. Olympic show jumping gold medalist Beezie Madden and her husband, John, also contributed their expertise to develop the 17-year-old star, whose victory today seemed like destiny.
“It’s really just an incredible feeling to have this win,” said Madison, a high school senior from Skaneateles, N.Y., who rode the veteran San Remo VDL.
After Saturday’s first round over a subtle but demanding course that culled the top 25 from a field of 177, she stood second behind her longtime friend, Jordyn Rose Freedman of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, on Finnick.
The flat phase today put her ahead of Jordyn—all those afternoons of working without stirrups at Beezie and John’s farm paid off. In the second round, the young women were each so outstanding that even the judges thought it was a close call.
“The deciding factor for us maybe was the flat work on Jordyn’s part, as opposed to Madison,” commented Ralph Caristo, who judged the class with Bernie Traurig, the 1961 Maclay winner.
“They were both champions today,” Ralph emphasized about the top two. And the pals did wind up tying for the award given to the high point rider of the fall equitation championships, grasping hands for a moment as that trophy was presented.
Third place went to Grady Lyman of Rancho Santa Fe, California, on You Wish. Grady, who is coached by Ken Smith, moved up from seventh after the first round to third following the flat phase, another example of that segment’s importance.
The final round called for a hand gallop to a wingless oxer of round white rails that had appeared in the first round as a triple bar. Riders also were required to counter-canter two fences and trot over a log off a turn. While several competitors often are called back for additional testing after the second round, that didn’t happen this time—the test already was built into the route designed by Bobby Murphy and Bernie.
Jordyn, coached by 1983 Maclay winner Linda Kossick Langmeier, was quite emotional about her experience in the class.
“I was just happy to be in the ring getting an award. I actually came out of the ring from the second round crying because I was just so happy I kept it together,” said Jordyn.
As the top three stood in the arena, waiting for the announcement of their placement, “my heart was definitely pounding,” said Madison.
“It was a dream of mine to win. Any way that it went—Jordyn, if you won, we’ve grown up together and it would have been an awesome win for you; Grady, same for you—the way it panned out it was great but any result would have been incredible.”
Earlier in the day, Madison was second in the Under 25 National Jumper Championship. She has extensive experience in the jumper ring, noting that has helped her deal with pressure. Beezie, who has been the anchor rider for so many U.S. teams, has given her hints to help her cope.
“I knew she had the ability to have the composure and the focus,” said Stacia, Beezie and John’s former sister-in-law.
“She’s been in so many clinch situations in jump-offs and team competitions that I really felt she pulled from that experience.”
Madison has another year as a junior rider, so her name may well be on more equitation championship trophies going forward.