The thought of making the step up to the professional level can be a daunting decision for junior riders, but for 20-year-old Madison Goetzmann, aka “Maddy,” going pro simply made sense. A longtime student of Beezie Madden, Maddy’s junior career was nothing but impressive. She won the 2017 ASPCA Maclay Finals, placed second at the 2018 USET Medal Finals (by one point), and won the team gold medal at the 2018 FEI North American Youth Championships. But Maddy isn’t resting on her laurels. She’s keen to launch her career to the next level.
Training With the Best
Under Beezie’s tutelage for four years, Maddy is absorbing priceless knowledge and horsemanship skills from the Olympic gold medalist. But what’s it really like to train with such a legend?
“It’s hard to put into words how incredible it is being around Beezie on a day-to-day basis,” Maddy says. “I feel so lucky to train with her. I learn so much from her every single day and just being around her I’ve learned everything, from the way she polishes her boots to how she cleans her tack and obviously how she rides. Everything is so inspiring.”
The “Average” Day
There is no “average” day for Maddy as she’s constantly on the road traveling from horse show to horse show. For those rare days she is not, you can find her at Beezie’s home base in Cazenovia, New York.
"I leave my house at 5:45 a.m. and stop for coffee. I actually don’t like coffee; I get hot chocolate or tea. Then I get to the barn around 7 a.m. or a little earlier. We do the chores — clean the buckets, stalls — and start riding at 8 a.m. Then I’ll usually ride between three and eight horses,” Maddy says. “I usually get done around 2 p.m. By then we bring the horses in from the paddocks, fill the water buckets, and sweep. Then it’s 3 p.m. and we’re feeding.”
From Equitation to Jumpers
The American style of riding has deep roots in the equitation. The best American riders build their foundation off of this classic style, and for Maddy, that’s no different.
“The equitation was really beneficial to riding in the jumpers for me — developing the American style of riding that a lot of the Americans at the Olympic level have a reputation for. Beezie puts a strong emphasis on being smooth and that helps form efficient tracks. The equitation really helps establish a good position and being poised and calm throughout the round,” Maddy says. “That really goes hand-in-hand with being smooth in the jumper ring.
“The equitation has such a strong emphasis on using your tracks for the courses because as the jumps get bigger, your track becomes more important. Plus, you have to practice the time allowed a lot in the equitation which is a huge factor in the jumpers.”
A Family Affair
At two years old, Maddy caught the pony bug while attending pony camp across the street from her grandparents’ summer home. Quickly developing a natural talent in the sport, Maddy and her older brother rode the famed medium pony, Sportster, to numerous Pony Finals ribbons.
“My family is super supportive. My oldest brother used to do the pony hunters so he kind of gets the whole riding thing and has cheered me on — all my brothers cheer me on,” Maddy says. “My mom and dad try to come to as many shows as they can. They’re both very into it — my dad always comes with his camera and takes pictures. My mom was down in Florida the entire circuit with me. She’s into it — she loves the sport and is always watching shows.”
Making the step up to the professional level may be intimidating for some, but Maddy made the step-up with poise and confidence.
“It’s kind of insane to say that I’m a professional now. When I was aging out of the juniors, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do because I am going to University of Richmond this fall. And obviously, for most people, it makes sense to change to professional after your college years. But for me, I decided to take a gap year and really focus on riding for one full year,” Maddy says.
“Since I only have one horse myself (Prestigious), I was doing a lot of catch riding during my junior years and I really wanted to carry that over to being a professional. In terms of riding people’s horses and selling them, becoming a professional was the right call. I’ve also been acting as a working student for John and Beezie.”
Fast Facts: The Top 5 Lessons Maddy’s Learned from Beezie
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Photography by Sportfot.