Maddie Tosh Secures USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic Title

Eighteen-year-old Maddie Tosh of Milton, GA, made her Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship debut a winning one in the USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, during opening day on Wednesday in Traverse City, MI. When she returned for round two sitting third, Tosh and her mount Daktari, owned by Betsee Parker, had the win in sight and climbed their way to the top across the final two portions of competition.

Maddie Tosh & Daktari. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Starting the day, 126 of the country’s top junior riders took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring at Traverse City Horse Shows to chase the coveted Gladstone Cup. Tosh sat third on a score of 89.25, just behind the leading score of 91 set by Sydney Raidy (17) of New York, NY, and Mac One III over Meghan Rawlins’ course. With determination to move up the podium, Tosh came back 41st of the returning 44 in round two, laying down a foot-perfect round and the high score of 90 to take over the lead. After impressing again in the third round where the top-six riders switched horses and completed the first eight fences of round two again, Tosh took the win.

“I went a little later in the order which was nice because I had more time to come up with my plan and get my horse and myself prepared,” said Tosh, daughter of Hunt and Mandy Tosh, whose surname can easily be found at the top of some of the most prestigious leaderboards in the U.S. “I know my horse very well. We’ve grown up together in the equitation—which is super special—so I wanted to go in and have a nice confident round and basically stay out of his way because if I do that he’s always on it.”

Tosh’s confidence in the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Diacontinus showed its merit as the pair moved to the top spot after the second round, before she took over the reins of Taylor Ashe Cawley’s horse, Oki D’Eclipse for the third and final round. With everything on the line, Tosh had to hold onto her lead with a horse she’s never ridden before. 

“Taylor’s horse is amazing and both Taylor and Stacia [Madden] and everyone at Beacon Hill were so helpful going into the second round. They gave us lots of pointers for him about what he likes and what he doesn’t like,” said Tosh, who along with the other five finalists, had 90 seconds of schooling and two warm-up fences to get to know their new mounts. 

Taylor Cawley & Oki D’Eclipse. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

No stranger to high-stakes equitation pressure, Tosh won the 2023 Washington Equitation Final and the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final in 2022, both with Daktari.

“Our career started when I wanted a horse to show in the age-group equitation at Capital Challenge and Missy and John [Clark] were generous enough to send us Daktari. We all fell in love with him,” said Tosh of her winning mount. “As did Betsee Parker, and I owe her everything in the world for this opportunity to be able to show him.

“He was a green equitation horse that knew nothing and I was a green equitation rider that knew nothing, and we’ve made it all the way to this point; our third finals win together,” beamed Tosh. “That’s something that’s really special and we have a super special partnership.”

Cawley (16) of Wellington, FL, who returned with Daktari for the third round, took reserve after posting the second-highest score of a 90 in round one and staying consistent through the second round with an 89. Taking third with an impressive round-three was Olivia Sweetnam (15) of Wellington, FL, riding Class Act to scores of 88 and 84.25. Raidy ended in fourth on a second-round score of 86.25.

Olivia Sweetnam & Class Act. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“After I won a final last year, I wanted to be able to recreate that this year,” said Tosh. “This is actually my first time at the Junior Hunter [National Championship] and first time doing the class, so coming in I just wanted to have a good experience for myself and for Doc [Daktari] to put our best foot forward and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him today.” 

While her focus this week is Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship, Tosh will soon make plans to attend the University of Georgia and compete on their SEC equestrian team. 

Action heats up at the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship on Thursday with the opening over-fences rounds of the week. Live coverage of every round is available on USEF Network. 

View complete results, here