Moving Up Through The Ranks: A Conversation With U.S. Show Jumper Madison Goetzmann

Madison Goetzmann during a lesson with trainer Beezie Madden. Ph. ©Tori Repole for NF

On Friday, June 16, 2017, a career’s worth of lessons, competitions, sacrifices, and efforts paid off for 17-year-old U.S rider Madison Goetzmann. In her first trip to the famed Spruce Meadows show grounds in Alberta, Canada, Goetzmann piloted the 8-year-old Selle Francais gelding Atticus Diamant (Diamond De Semilly x Vas Y Done Longane) to her first ever international win in the Canadian Utilities U25 Winning Round.

In the weeks following her career defining win, we caught up with “Maddy” in between her busy show schedule at Spruce Meadows. There, we discussed her current string of horses, what it’s really like training with Beezie Madden, and most importantly, her journey through the sport and the hopes she has for herself in the future. What’s your first memory with horses, and competing?Madison Goetzmann: I first sat on a horse when I was two years old, but I must have been competitive when I was five in the small pony hunters. I remember being younger, probably seven or eight, and the big jumps always looked a little intimidating to me. But once I turned 12 or 13, I knew that show jumping and the jumpers was what I really wanted to excel in.

NF: How has that process been, of transitioning from the smaller jumps to the international arenas?
MG: I feel like it’s almost the same for everyone—it’s a gradual change and everyone has to get used to it. But as you get more in tune with your horse, the bigger classes and the change becomes unnoticeable.

NF: How would you describe training with Beezie Madden?
MG: I’ve been training with Beezie now for almost three years. It’s incredible, and words can’t describe what it’s like just being with her day to day. Once I started riding with them I saw show jumping in a completely different way. There are so many things that I’d never thought of before or would even think to practice. She is so inspiring, and really makes me want to excel in this sport.

NF: What are the top five things you’ve learned from John and Beezie that have benefitted you as a rider, or as a person?
MG: On the spot? That is hard! One, Beezie’s a very humble person. She is very respectful and has a very good reputation throughout the show world. She emphasizes on being a respectful horseman and treating your horses right.

As for horses and riding, John and Beezie emphasize as a team that smoothness is everything. When you’re in the show ring it’s easy to get caught up in things, but it’s important to stay with your horse and be cool and collected.

Madison Goetzman & Prestigious at Spruce Meadows

Horses come first. It’s easy for riders to get caught up in the money, results, and the fame. But, Rio is a perfect example of it—Beezie knew what was best for her horse, and even though it was a tough call, being at the Olympics, you have to do what’s right for your horse. Also, you sometimes have to remind people that horses are animals, they’re not machines, and you have to treat them with respect.

Another thing I’ve learned from Beezie is that nothing really fazes her. If she has a bad round, she comes out with the same confidence as with a big win—tomorrow’s a new day. John actually has a saying: today’s news wraps tomorrow’s fish.

She is just so hardworking and dedicated to the sport. Everything about her is so aspiring, so it’s hard to pick just a few things.

NF: Can you describe your current string of horses?
MG: Right now I have three jumpers here at Spruce. Prestigious is ten years old. He came from Kuwait actually, and we have been going really slowly. At WEF we did the 1.30m and small 1.40m classes, and our partnership has really started to grow since May. We had some wins in the High Classics, and we won the Show Jumping Hall of Fame at Devon. He’s really been a super horse and we’ve connected well. I think he’s going to be a really good horse for me in a few years.

I just leased Atticus Diamant for the summer and I started working with him a month ago. He’s 8-years-old and he’s a super horse. We still need to get to know each other a little more, but I’m excited for him.

I have Wrigley who is 14-years-old, and I’ve had many many successes with her. We’re taking things slow right now. She had a little bit of a break during Florida and we’re working our way back up. Hopefully I can be jumping some bigger classes with her again soon.

NF: Speaking of bigger classes, lets talk about your first international win, in the Canadian Utilities U25 Winning Round on June 16. Can you describe that day?
MG: It was an incredible feeling. I went into the competition thinking that I would have a better chance of winning with Prestigious—it was my first 1.45m class with Atticus. I wasn’t expecting a lot but he just gave me so much confidence going into the jump off. I kind of smoked around, and hearing your name going into first, especially at this beautiful venue, is a feeling that really sticks with you.

NF: Lastly, what are your short and long term goals moving forward?
MG: My short term goals for the summer is to get to know my horses a little better and better develop our relationships. I know I’ll be doing a few two-star, three-star shows over the summer.

As far as my long term goals, everyone has hopes in making it to the top of the sport. I do really have aspirations to become a professional and really take on the sport head on. Keep learning, getting better, and improving.

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