Madison Goetzmann and Coco Fath

An interview with Coco and Maddy

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UEA students Madison Goetzmann and Coco Fath catch up with Clementine Goutal to reflect on the 2017 George H. Morris Horsemastership Clinic and their feelings heading into WEF this season.


CLEMENTINE: So many riders dream about being selected for the clinic but also know it’s a massively challenging endeavor. What was your reaction to being invited to take part in the clinic this year?

MADDIE: It was such an honor to have been selected to participate in this years GHM Horsemastership Training Session. From years in the past, during the infamous week of the George Morris Clinic, I would attentively watch every second of the worthwhile live broadcast. As I would watch and listen to the invaluable lessons illuminated by the acclaimed clinicians, I dreamed of one day being able to take part in such a reputable clinic. The day I received an email confirming my acceptance into the clinic, I was overwhelmed with excitement.

COCO: When getting the email saying that my wild card application was accepted I was ecstatic. I had thought entering would be a long shot, so making it into the clinic was beyond my wildest dreams.

CLEMENTINE: The George Morris Clinic pushes riders to their physical and mental limits. What was the most challenging aspect for you?

MADDIE: It was certainly a challenging week for the both the rider and the horse. It is unquestionable that taking care of a horse requires a lot of responsibility. Knowing that I was responsible for every aspect of my horse’s care and that their performance relied heavily on the care I gave to my horse was a little intimidating. In the end, being in the clinic was an incredible learning experience and seeded a great bond between my horse and me.

COCO: Learning about the anatomy of a horse was a huge learning experience for me that will hopefully help me understand what is wrong with a hurt horse of mine in more depth.

CLEMENTINE: Can you describe a particular learning experience which was especially relevant for you and/or your horse, and tell us how you will use this lesson or tool going forward?

MADDIE: Our days were filled with fascinating mounted and un-mounted sessions. We were taught by experts from all aspects of this sport. Grooms, physiologist, veterinarians, psychologists, and riders graciously shared their knowledge with us participants who were eager to learn. I wanted to develop a deeper understanding for the domain of our sport and participating in this clinic did exactly that. The most valuable lesson that I learned was that being a good horseman will you get you the furthest in this sport. Good horsemanship goes beyond good riding. Anne Kursinski stressed the importance of having a happy horse, a happy horse will never compare in performance to those that are angry and bewildered. Having a special understanding and bond with your horse most definitely pays off in the show ring

COCO: The most challenging aspect for me was the flatting. Doing this clinic made me realize how much more I have to pay attention to my flatting skills and how important it is to jumping.

CLEMENTINE: With WEF finally here, schedules get pretty hectic. Which tools help ensure there is time for academics, riding, and everything else you want or need to do?

MADDIE: During the WEF circuit days can get very hectic. Without the help of Upper Echelon Acadamy, I would not be able to successfully balance the act of getting an education and riding horses. The amount of effort put into every kid’s education is truly inspiring and I am so fortunate to be able to work with amazing tutors.

COCO: Creating a day-by-day schedule and using time management key in maintaining both riding and academics. Upper Echelon has helped me so much with creating a personalized schedule that allows me to ride the most I can and still keep up with my school.

CLEMENTINE: How do you maintain friendships and a competitive drive? Is it hard to face-off against your friends?

MADDIE: I chose to surround myself with amazing and supportive friends. When competing against my friends, we just push each other more and more. We are able to cheer each other on no matter what.

COCO: Of course you always want to win yourself, but having a balance between self-interest and the interest of your friends is very important. When it comes to competing against friends directly, I always wish for my friends to do well, but I still keep my eye on the prize.