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Brianne Goutal Tops Another Equitation Final in 2005 ASPCA Maclay National Championships, Kacey McCann Impresses Judges in Her Maclay Debut
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
It was another big win this afternoon for the talented young rider, Brianne Goutal. The 17 year old New York City resident rose to the top of a competitive field to win the ASPCA Maclay National Championships at the Syracuse International SportHorse Tournament. Kacey McCann of Palmyra, Pennsylvania stayed consistent throughout the day and finished in second place, while Jessica Speiser of Wellington, Florida made a big move to third place.
By winning the Maclay Final, Goutal was awarded a $10,000 scholarship for higher education from the ASPCA. She also won the ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy and a Bates Caprilli Close Contact Saddle.
The ASPCA Maclay National Championships are held through the cooperation with the National Horse Show Assocation of America, Ltd. Board of Directors member Leo Conroy said that the NHSAA was extremely pleased with the event’s first year in Syracuse. “It was beautifully done,” he stated.
It was an exciting day with three rounds of competition that found Goutal rising from fifth place to first in the final round. Goutal capped off an amazing year that saw her win both the USEF Hunt Seat Medal at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Maclay Finals in 2005. This is a feat that only eleven other riders have accomplished since the Medal Finals began in 1937.
The ASPCA Maclay Finals, which started in 1933, has a rich tradition of its winners continuing on to international showjumping competitions. The prime example of this is the 1952 Medal and Maclay winner, George Morris. Morris is now the Chef d’Equipe of the U.S. Showjumping Team and was one of the judges for today’s Maclay Final. Along with Susan Humes, Morris designed and judged a very challenging first round course that tested the 148 qualifiers for the class.
About the Maclay Final, Morris remarked, “It’s just the first step if you have ambition for international competition. It’s very important to have an event like this, held at the same time with the top national riders and our Olympic riders.” Second place finisher Kacey McCann said, “Watching the grand prix riders here was so inspirational. You see them and think, ‘Wow, if I really want to have a future in this sport, I can start improving myself now.’” Goutal’s trainer, Frank Madden, added, “These are the types of riders that are going to develop as international riders some day.”
The first round in the final asked many questions in stride adjustment, steering, and basic skills. Goutal and her horse Logan only had trouble with a very short turn to one fence and had a rail down. “I thought the course was very challenging and difficult,” she admitted. McCann had a beautiful trip on the big black gelding Marcellus and clearly became one of the chosen few at the top. “It asked for everything, all the basics,” McCann explained. “Your horse had to be very rideable, and if you were missing a little piece, it would show up.” Speiser had a smooth first round on Simplicity and was ranked in 19th place.
From the first 148 riders, thirty were asked to return for the under saddle phase. They were called back in groups of ten and tested on their position and control of the horse on the flat. At this time, Julie Welles of West Simsbury, Connecticut was in the lead. McCann was ranked second, while Goutal was fourth. From those thirty under saddle, 17 were asked to return for a second over fences round.
After the first two phases, the top 17 riders negotiated a course that offered options in turns and striding. Speiser returned in seventh place and had a smooth round. Going into the third round, Goutal sat in fifth place. She took risks, and they paid off with a brilliant trip. The judges rewarded her with the move up to first place. McCann was more conservative in her trip, but nothing could shake her firm second place position. Returning last, Welles had a “distance problem” on the course, Judge George Morris acknowledged. A small error in the extremely competitive field moved her into fifth place for the final standings.
Goutal remarked about her performance today, “I was so happy after the USEF Medal, and I came here with nothing to lose. Going into the second round, I just laid it all on the line. As usual, I called on Logan a lot, and he answered.” Although she was in fifth place going into the final round, Goutal’s eye was always on the prize. “Through the three phases of the Maclay, you’re always asking, ‘How can I get to the top?’ I thought that I had a chance in that position.”
Goutal’s trainer, Frank Madden, disclosed, “When I had a chance to walk the second course with my two girls, Sloane and Brianne, all of a sudden a new light came into my system as a coach. I felt that there were so many options on the course with turns and striding. I felt great and thought we were in a position to capitalize.”
After Goutal’s second over fences trip, Madden said, “I walked away from Brianne’s round thinking, ‘What an incredible ride.’ She took all the risks to win, and she pulled it off. At that point, as much as I would have liked to win, the ribbon meant a little less. The performance that she gave was what mattered most.”
“Being from New York, the Maclay has always been a big deal to me,” Goutal revealed. “It’s always been a great experience for me to show in the Maclay, and I’ve always dreamed of winning it.”
Kacey McCann was an amazingly consistent performer today. She said with a laugh, “I’m shocked and amazed. My horse and I just clicked today, and it was more than I could ask for.” She added, “I just wanted to ride it like I had nothing to lose. It was my first Maclay Finals, and I haven’t ridden my horse for very long, so I really just wanted to have personal success.” Trainer Susie Schoellkopf stated, “I think she’s a very, very talented child. It’s been a huge team effort. She is a great role model for the other kids in the barn, and she and Jennifer Alfano have worked very hard with her horse.”
This was Jessica Speiser’s final year in the junior division, and she was hoping to finish strong. “I worked really hard leading up to this,” she mentioned. “I was happy to ride well, and my horse went great.”
Judge Susie Humes said succinctly, “They were good all day. Brianne was ‘Wow’ in the second round, Kacey was so consistent, and Jessica kept moving up, up, up. The most important thing is that they’re great girls, and they care about their horses.”
Another year has passed, and equestrian sport has seen new leaders in the ASPCA Maclay National Championships. The future of our sport lies in these riders. The experience that the equitation finals gave these riders today will help them become the champions of tomorrow.
2005 ASPCA Maclay National Championships
1. Brianne Goutal, New York, New York
2. Kacey McCann, Palmyra, Pennsylvania
3. Jessica Speiser, Wellington, Florida
4. Jack Hardin Towell Jr., Camden, South Carolina
5. Julie Welles, West Simsbury, Connecticut
6. Addison Phillips, New York, New York
7. Maggie McAlary, Amherst, New Hampshire
8. Sloane Coles, The Plains, Virginia
9. Shelby Wakeman, Westlake, California
10. Josephine Nash, New York, New York
Photo Credit: Brianne Goutal and Logan win the 2005 ASPCA Maclay National Championships at the Syracuse International SportHorse Tournament. Photo by Randi Muster.