Articles: Press Release
New York's Brianne Goutal Takes the Trophy at 2004 BET/USEF East Coast
Show Jumping Talent Search Finals
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
4047 Iron Works Parkway,
Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
Fax (859) 231-6662
Web site: <"http://www.equestrian.org">www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2004
Gladstone, NJ - After two days of rigorous testing, topped off with a
final-four ride-off, 16-year-old Brianne Goutal surpassed even her own
expectations with a well-earned, but nonetheless, surprise victory.
"I was never expecting to get into the top four," Goutal says. "I asked
my trainer before the last round what score I would need and she
wouldn't give me an answer. She just said 'ride well.'"
And ride well, she did. Give her a few years, and she may be replacing
her French Leave Perpetual Trophy for a chance at Olympic glory-much
like past finalists have done.
Show jumpers Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Chris Kappler and Peter Wylde
all made their mark at the 2004 Athens Games, years after claiming top
rankings in Talent Searches themselves.
That's part of the reason the BET/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals
are unlike any other competition. Without fail, the system of tests
identifies some of the most talented riders, who often go on to compete
for the USEF in international and Olympic competition.
"I feel this system has proven itself," says Ronnie Beard, one of two
judges for the Finals. "It really brings the best riders to the top."
The system Beard refers to is composed of three phases-each judged out
of 100 points, but weighted differently based on the level of importance
and difficulty of each skill. During the flat phase, judges maintained
the original score; during the gymnastics phase, scores were multiplied
by one and a half, and during the final jumping phase, scores were
multiplied by two.
"We ended up with the four that were clearly the best riders over the
two days," says Laura Kraut, the other of the two judges.
After the scores were tallied from each phase, the top four riders
competed against each other to determine the grand champion. With the
score card wiped clean, each was required to ride a new and shorter
course of jumps four times-first riding her own horse, then rotating
with each of the other finalists' horses.
"We had to help each other," says Goutal, whose strong performance led
the way to a solid first place finish in the final ride-off. Goutal
secured 367 out of a possible 400 points.
Not far behind, 15-year-old Addison Phillips of New York City came in
second place with a final score of 360. "I wanted to be as good as I
could be," Phillips says. But don't expect her to call it quits after
making it to the top four. "I'll be here next year," she says with a
With a score of 357, first-time finals competitor Megan Young of
Jacksonville, FL guaranteed a third place finish. "It was a lot
different than I thought it would be, but it was a lot of fun," says the
18-year-old Young. "It was a good test-a good course."
A mere five points behind Young, 17-year-old Catherine Wright of Old
Chatham, NY rode to a fourth place finish with 352. "I liked this year's
course better than last year's course," Wright says.
The judges say one thing that sets these four ladies apart-their ability
to take a chance.
"They weren't cautious-if they were cautious, they had time penalties
and that's a no-no," Kraut elaborated.
Fellow judge Ronnie Beard agreed wholeheartedly. "They were bold, they
had very correct position and they got the job done," Beard says. "They
weren't posers, but they had all the finesse and style you'd want to
Other riders ranking in the top ten include:
5. Gabby Slome, Riverdale, NY
6. Cassie Herman, Westport, CT
7. Michael Del Fiandra, Delray Beach, FL
8. Whitney Hollinger, Dover, MA
9. Julie Welles, West Simsbury, CT
10. Caroline Kelly, New York City, NY
For more information, contact Sarah Lane, Public Relations Manager, by
phone (859) 225-6974, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.