HARRISBURG, Pa.--Sophie Gochman of New York, N.Y., had to go clean to win the Junior Jumper Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and, riding Carola BH, she did just that to finish on a combined total, over three days of competition, of six faults.
Gochman also rode on the bronze medal winning Zone 2 (N.J., N.Y., & Pa.) team in the USEF Junior Jumper Championship Team competition that was won by Zone 7.
Until Gochman entered the ring, Madison Goetzmann, also of New York, on Prestigious, led the field with a total of 8 combined faults, but after Gochman's clean trip she had to settle for the silver medal by a slim two faults.
On the heels of Goetzmann, and earning the bronze medal, was Lily Gottwald with her own Gaston Van T Steentje, who added a time penalty in the final phase resulting in a combined total of 8.5 faults for the three days of competition.
"I HAVEN'T really processed it yet," said Gochman immediately after the class. "I came in here thinking a top 10 finish would be great because it's such a challenging competition. It's a Nations Cup format, which I think is great for junior riders to experience. It's an honor to win it. I never thought it would really happen. It's crazy!"
"This was my first time not competing as an individual in Harrisburg, and I was the anchor," said Gochman. "I was so excited as there are not a lot of team competitions for horseback riding. It's such a great opportunity to bond with other people, you're rooting for a team and that's a really fun aspect."
"I've slowly stopped doing the hunters to focus on jumpers and equitation," said Gochman. "You can jump higher, faster, and pursue more international opportunities, and I felt that's what I connected with more. Bunny (Carola BH) is kind of sassy when you get on, she's so eager and excited to be out there and jumping."
MADISON GOETZMANN on Prestigious won the first Phase, a faults converted into seconds competition, with a fault free round in 58.112 seconds.
Samantha Cohen aboard Carmen, who held the lead early in the class took second with a time of 58.432 seconds, and Isabella Bleu Baxter with Jahil took third in 59.971 seconds.
Goetzmann and Prestigious were one of only eight horse-and-rider combinations to go clean.
"I've gotten used to the tighter track," said Goetzmann. "I feel like I do have an advantage because I've been coming here for so many years. My horse is little and neat and very tidy so this course went very well for him."
"Competing at this event is such an honor, it has such a prestigious reputation," said Goetzmann. "This is my fourth year competing at Prix de States, and it starts the championships in a perfect way. I feel confident and set up for the rest of the show. It's fun be a part of a team for championships. It's such great experience."
After te final class, Goetzmann was awarded the William C. Steinkraus Stytle Award, which is given to a rider competing in Prix des States Junior Jumper competition who exemplifies the American style of equitation and sportsmanship.