Edited Press Release
The top equitation athletes of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) all went head to head after qualifying for the Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship by securing a top-three ribbon in the big equitation classes throughout the Traverse City Horse Shows circuit so far. The feature equitation class, taking place Saturday afternoon at GLEF 4, welcomed 39 entries over the first-round course, set by Marina Azevedo.
For round two, the top-12 scores returned over a slightly modified track. Madden set the top score in round one of 92, returning last in the second round aboard Mac One III. At the conclusion of round one, judges Steve Heineke and Sydney Shulman Desiderio invited Madden and Augusta Iwasaki, who scored a 90 in round one, to test.
“I’ve had Mac for a really long time so I know him well,” Madden said of her ride for the Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship. “Luckily I got to watch [Augusta Iwasaki] go first. She decided to hold the counter canter after the first jump, but my horse likes to land right so I thought I’d be better to let him land right and get the flying change onto the counter canter. I made a double inside turn to the trot jump and he jumped that great. I got a nice hand gallop to the next vertical and halted. He was really good; I’m proud of him.”
Iwasaki and Izar, owned by Ashland Farms, rose to second place after a flawless second-round performance, and Alexander Alston aboard Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg, for Plain Bay Sales, took third after a first-round score of 90.5.
Madden and Mac One III rode to several top placings in equitation finals, including a win in the USEF/Dover Saddlery Hunter Seat Medal Finals in 2020. Though she’s not actively competing with “Mac” much anymore, she still gets to ride him often.
“Paige Walkenbach has leased Mac for this year,” Madden continued. “I’ve been riding him and preparing him for when she comes back to the East Coast. She’s going to do all of the indoors with him, so this is his preparation.”
“I got him when he was eight years old and now he’s 13,” Madden said of the Anglo European gelding (Luidam x Lagos). He was very jumper-y [when I got him]. He was doing the 1.45m with Lauren Hough. He learned super fast so it took a year for him to get [the equitation], but as soon as he did he was hard to beat. I’ve known him forever and he’s helped me accomplish so many of my dreams.”
With her equitation years mostly behind her, Madden is now focusing on jumping bigger tracks in the jumper ring. During GLEF II, she jumped double-clear to second place in the $30,000 National Grand Prix.
“We love Traverse City,” the Wellington, FL, native continued. “We’ve been here since the beginning of June. we’ll definitely be here longer next year; it’s just so pretty here.”
Final Results: Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship
1. Mac One III / Taylor Madden / Taylor Madden / 92
2. Izar / Augusta Iwasaki / Ashland Farms / 90
3. Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg / Alexander Alston / Plain Bay Sales / 90.5
4. Jamaica / Luke Jensen / North Run / 88
5. Iwan / Christian Dominguez / Christian Dominguez / 86
6. HH Moonshine / Tessa Downey / Double H Farm / 91
7. Munich / Stella Wasserman / Elvenstar Farm / 87.5
8. Commentator / Elianna Kirson / Skyler Fields / 85.5
9. Tanzanite De Semilly / Cody Rego / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc / 87
10. Bigtalu G Z / Hanna Dolan / Missy Clark / 85.75
11. Conthacco / Ellie Aronson / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc / 86.5
12. Jeffery RW / Josselyn Merserau / Joyce Merserau / 85