Since her first ride at age two, the equitation and show jumping champion has been hooked on all things equestrian.
It’s no surprise that 19-year-old Madison Goetzmann has already achieved great success in her equestrian career — she’s been working at it for almost as long as she’s been alive!
Maddy was only two years old when she first fell in love with the horses who lived across the road from her grandparents’ summer home in Skaneateles, in upstate New York. Maddy credits these trips for awakening in her an enduring passion for everything horses.
During those summer trips, Maddy and her cousins got to attend pony camp. It was a dream come true for Maddy. “I was always so excited to be around the horses,” she remembers.
And before long, Maddy was hooked on competing. As her cousins gradually began pursuing other interests, Maddy’s passion for horses kept growing: “I got more and more serious about the sport.”
When she set foot at her very first show as a five-year-old, she loved it instantly. “I remember wanting to show every single day,” she laughs.
It’s no surprise that, 14 years later, Maddy has several titles to her name, including the highly-coveted ASPCA Maclay National Championship title in equitation. The prestigious equitation final, which began in 1933, is an important competition for many junior equitation riders in the United States.
Thanks to her hard work and dedication to the sport, Maddy won the title when she was only 17. With the help of her partner, San Remo VDL, a 19-year-old Latvian Warmblood gelding, their victory was seamless — and elegant. “It was so special for me to ride him,” she says. “He’s the true winner.”
Now, Maddy’s new partner is Prestigious, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding. Their partnership has been special, and marked by growth. Together, the duo has progressed from the 2* level to the 5* level in show jumping.
“He’s a different ride than I’m used to,” Maddy says. “He’s very sensitive and quick. He’s one of my favorite horses because he has incredible scope and always wants to jump clear.”
Though their partnership is new, they’ve already made enormous strides together. “My biggest jumps have been his biggest jumps,” remarks Maddy. “We’ve grown to really trust each other, and I think we’ve both learned so much from each other.”
Maddy, who excelled in equitation, finds that the two sports enhance her overall skills and work well together. “Equitation really helps so much in the jumper ring,” she says.
And it’s true: Maddy has found enormous success in the show jumping ring. Last year, she and Prestigious, along with a team of young riders, won gold at the Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships. Maddy went clear in two rounds to seal the victory.
That win gave the young rider team the opportunity to compete last September in Belgium at the inaugural FEI Young Rider Nations Cup Finals. Maddy and her teammates produced four perfect rounds to secure the gold medal in the Young Rider ‘Challenge Cup.’
For all her success, Maddy is in many ways the “girl next door.”
Unlike many young equestrians who opt for homeschooling or online classes, Maddy attended a traditional middle school and high school. “I’ve developed ways to balance both of them,” she says. And although she’s currently taking a gap year to focus on horses, she’ll be attending the University of Richmond in the fall. “It’ll be a big change,” says Maddy, “but I’m excited to go.”
As for what’s next in Maddy’s equestrian career? She’s looking forward to a variety of summer shows with Prestigious and taking advantage of her free time before she’s off to college. She’s especially looking forward to competing at Spruce Meadows, a show in Calgary, Canada. “It’s a show that I’ve fallen in love with,” she says.
For young riders like Maddy, your support provides opportunities to follow their dreams, develop their talent, and, one day, pursue a spot on the U.S. Equestrian Team. “The USET Foundation has always done an incredible job supporting US Equestrian’s programs to get the riders where they need to be,” says Maddy.
Thanks to fans like you, who are just as passionate as Maddy, the future of your Team is in great hands — and we can’t wait to see what happens next!