Sophie and Mimi Gochman made their first appearance at the Adequan® FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) a truly memorable one as the sisters each claimed an individual gold medal in the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) North American Show Jumping Individual Championship. Sophie captured the title in the Young Rider division, while Mimi emerged victorious in the Junior division as the NAYC wrapped up at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, on August 4.
“It was a great week for the Gochman family!” said Sophie. “I think we’re both just really grateful for our parents, who supported us, our trainer Ken Berkley, everyone at our Baxter Hill Farm, and [Zone 2 Chef d’Equipe] Ralph Caristo. I don’t think many sister pairs have won gold medals at NAYC, so it’s pretty cool that we got to do that.” In fact, only one other sibling pair has won NAYC show jumping individual golds together—in 2014, Wilton and Lucas Porter collected Young Rider and Junior gold medals.
Sophie, 16, and from New York City, N.Y., came into the last of five rounds in second place behind Canada’s Sam Walker, but turned in a crucial clean round with Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Carola BH, a 12-year-old KWPN mare. When Walker picked up eight faults in his round, Sophie took over the gold-medal spot. “This week was bit of nail-biter for me because it was so close between me and Sam,” Sophie said. “But [Carola BH] is the best horse in the world, and she kept getting better and better. It was great for it to all come together. To win at NAYC and get to do that victory gallop is such an honor.”
Sophie has ridden Carola BH for two and a half years and has had success at the Under 25 grand prix level with her. “I’m just so thankful for her,” Sophie said. “We’ve created such a bond at this point that I just think it and she does it for me. She puts her heart into every single round.”
The Gochman sisters decided last summer to make NAYC a goal for their 2019 season and they both jumped on the USHJA Zone 2 team for their respective divisions. Sophie helped her Zone 2 Young Rider team take bronze, while Mimi helped the Zone 2 Junior team earn silver. “We decided that it’s an important competition and we wanted to go for it. We’re sometimes a little competitive, but we’re also really supportive of each other,” Sophie said. “This week was nice because we weren’t in the same division. We were really cheering each other on this week and it’s so great that we both got [individual] gold.”
Walker, 17, from Caledon, Ontario, ended up with the individual Young Rider silver with MarBill Hill Farm’s Coralissa, a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare. Earlier in the week, he’d helped his Canadian Young Rider team win the gold medal.
Natalie Dean, 20, of Palo Alto, Calif., rode Marigold Sporthorses LLC and her own Don’s Diamant, an 11-year-old KWPN stallion, to the individual bronze, adding that to the team silver she’d helped her USHJA Zone 10 capture.
Sophie also was awarded the United States Equestrian Team Foundation Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award, which includes a trip to an FEI Nations Cup competition. Sophie will be able to observe what goes on in the stabling, veterinary inspections, schooling, and show office, as well as being able to walk the courses with U.S. team riders and the chef d’equipe.
In addition, the top two U.S. competitors in the Young Rider division on the podium —Sophie Gochman and Natalie Dean—will be considered for the opportunity to qualify for selection for the U.S. Jumping Youth Team for the FEI Youth Nations Cup Final.
In a special award presentation, the Ground Jury recognized USHJA Zone 2 Young Rider competitor Gracie Allen with the Style of Riding Award.
Mimi Mines Gold in Junior Division
Mimi, 14, from New York City, N.Y., turned in two clean rounds in the individual final aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Street Hassle BH, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding, to clinch gold in the USHJA North American Junior Show Jumping Individual Championship.
“I’m so honored to be here and to have won gold. It’s an amazing experience,” said Mimi. “My goal was just to stay consistent throughout the week and have nice clear rounds. It feels great to have five clear rounds. My horse jumped his heart out for me.”
Street Hassle BH joined the Gochman family two years ago. “He’s the most quirky, amazing horse in the barn,” Mimi said. “He has a dent in his face, which makes him unique. He loves to eat, and he loves treats. He always jumps his heart out; he’s very competitive.”
Mimi was the only Junior competitor to jump clean over all five rounds at NAYC. She noted that her trainer, Berkley, had advised her to “Measure, look, and don’t go too quick,” said Mimi. “He told me not to go too fast or too slow, but to stay consistent and try my best.” Mimi had prepared for the championship by riding in Europe, competing at the CSI2* level at shows in England, Switzerland, Belgium, and France.
Mimi has many hunter accolades to her name, but in recent years has started adding jumper victories as well. “I started off in the hunters and I’ll always love doing hunters, but the jumpers is a totally different feeling. My goal is to do NAYC again next year and hopefully be as consistent and successful in the Young Rider division,” Mimi said.
The Junior individual silver medal went back to Mexico with Maya Ines Denis Chambon, 15, from Valle de Bravo, Mexico, and Carine Chambon’s Flying Dutchman, a nine-year-old KWPN stallion. Earlier in the week, Denis had earned team gold with the Mexican team.
Virginia Bonnie, 15, from Upperville, Va., and Kimberly Prince’s Corneel, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding, claimed the bronze. Bonnie, who was making her NAYC debut, had jumped on USHJA Zone 3 team.
Parada’s Perfect Week Wins Children’s Gold for Mexico
The youngest show jumper at the NAYC, competing on the oldest horse in the show jumping, claimed the individual gold in the USHJA North American Children’s Show Jumping Individual Championship. Isaac Parada Urtaza, 12, from Guadalajara, Mexico, was competing at NAYC as an individual from Mexico and rode Amelia Vernon’s Tarnot, a 19-year-old KWPN gelding, to two clear rounds on the final day of competition to clinch the gold.
Last year’s NAYC Children’s individual gold medalist, Olivia Stephenson of Canada, claimed silver this year, while Ella Bikoff from USHJA Zone 2 took the bronze individual medal.
“I am really happy. When I heard the Mexican crowd shout, it made me really excited,” said Parada. He’s been riding Tarnot, a horse with previous experience to the 1.50m level, for a year. “I have a great connection with my horse. He does everything for me. If anything happens, Tarnot is there for me,” he said.
Parada just started riding two years ago and usually shows in the Guadalajara area. His older brother, Arturo Parada Vallejo, shows internationally and has represented Mexico in senior Nations Cup competition. Parada and Tarnot didn’t have a single fault over the five rounds of jumping at NAYC and were the only Children’s competitors to finish on a score of zero.
The NAYC was Parada’s first time competing in the United States, but in June he traveled to Langley, British Columbia, with the Children’s team from Mexico to show in the CSIOCh Nations Cup. There, he and Tarnot helped the Mexican team earn bronze in the Children’s Nations Cup.
Olivia Stephenson, 13 and from Calgary, Alberta, rode Cheree Stephenson’s Chaccana, a 12-year-old mare, to a total of two faults over the five rounds to take silver. She’d also helped the Canadian team take bronze in the team competition.
Ella Bikoff, 14, of New York City, N.Y., rode Bikoff Equestrian LLC’s Basimodo, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding, to a five-fault total to earn individual bronze. They’d helped the USHJA Zone 2 team claim silver earlier in the week.
#FEINAYC Special Jumping Awards
Natalie Pedley accepted the Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsman Trophy for the hard work, team spirit, and dedication she showed. Pedley was entered as an individual from Puerto Rico in the USHJA North American Children’s Show Jumping Championship, but her horse didn’t pass the first veterinary inspection so she was unable to ride, but she spent the week helping and cheering on her fellow riders.
Each year at NAYC, the Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsman Trophy is given to the athlete who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. This award is presented annually by the U.S. Equestrian Federation in honor of Captain Andrew B. de Szinay who was a teacher, dressage judge, technical delegate and long-time supporter of the Young Rider’s program.
The Howard B. Simpson “High Five” Trophy is awarded annually to the volunteer who best exemplifies Howard's spirit of volunteering, and Dee Steb was named to receive the honors. The award honors Howard B. Simpson, who served as the NAYC Director at Tempel Farms for many years. Simpson also served as sponsor and tireless volunteer. The recipient of this award, which is presented by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, embodies Howard's dedication and commitment to the championships.
The Mexican show jumping Chef d’Equipe, Maria Fernanda Hegewisch, was awarded the Ralph Caristo Cup, a trophy named after the longtime USHJA Zone 2 chef d’equipe and given each year to a participant at the NAYC who displays sportsmanship and perseverance.
Catch all the action of the NAYC on demand through the USEF Network.
View the NAYC schedule and results.
Follow @FEINAYC on Facebook and Twitter, and join the conversation by using #FEINAYC, #NAYCatOSF, and #OSFlove.
Stay up to date on Old Salem Farm at www.oldsalemfarm.net, and on social media as Old Salem Farm on Facebook, and @oldsalemfarmny on Twitter and Instagram. Follow for an exclusive and behind-the-scenes look at the Old Salem Farm experience.