Brianne Goutal-Marteau said her $230,000 MLSJ American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5* win felt like fate, and maybe it was—grasping the same trophy twice is no coincidence.
The American Gold Cup is one of the most coveted trophies in North American jumping sport. Goutal-Marteau first etched her name on the perpetual trophy back in 2013 with Remarkable Farms owned stallion Nice de Prissey. Today, she added her 16-year-old mare Viva Colombia to the hallowed list.
“She’s been just a dream horse of a lifetime in the couple of years that I’ve had her. And she’s had a great season. We’ve been knocking on the door a little bit…and I just said, ‘you know what, I’m going to be first or I’m going to be third,’ and she was just unbelievable.”
It was an assertion she echoed from her longtime coach Max Amaya; whose been an integral player in her riding from her stellar junior career to a professional with a successful business.
“I kind of attacked fence one and the seven strides showed up nicely off of that. I took a big entrance into the double. She was amazing coming out. I kept pushing her down the seven strides and then I just flew to NetJets, because I did not want to waste a millisecond there,” said Goutal-Marteau, recalling her jump-off.
“Then I said, ‘I have to slow down, I’m overcooking a little,’ so I slowed down…I thought I was risking it for a second, and then I just blasted through the timers.”
The twist of fate comes with knowing Viva Colombia was never a horse she intended to ride. The mare was originally for her student at the time Chloe Heimowitz, who decided to move to California to go to college. At the time Viva Colombia joined her string, Goutal-Marteau had just had her first child, and was admittedly a bit low on horsepower.
“I took over the ride on the horse. I was never intending to buy her myself. I was never intending to even ride her ever,” said Goutal-Marteau.
Yet, sometimes the best things gallop into your life when you need them most.
“The connection was kind of instant, and I just adore her. I think she’s allowed me to do so much. She kept me in the top sport and she’s challenged me…I should say, she gives me everything when she needs to. And I mean, she’s just been unbelievable. I run a pretty big business now and I have two kids, and it’s not that easy to manage. It’s a lot of a lot of moving parts. And she really keeps me there.”
The American Gold Cup’s 5* distinction promises a challenging track, which tests even the most seasoned horse and rider combinations. Course designer Alan Wade ensured the 51st installment wouldn’t divert from tradition.
“This was a very difficult course. When we walked I was thinking that fence one, two, three not so bad, and then as I kept going I was like, ‘yeah, it’s getting worse!’ I thought it was very fitting,” said Goutal-Marteau.
“This is supposed to be a very hard class. It’s supposed to be a very big class, and it delivered.”
William Shakespeare famously said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” So while it’s possible Goutal-Marteau’s win was fateful, perhaps it’s more a testament to perseverance, talent, and having a good team behind you.