Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden has been riding since she was 3 years old when her parents, who owned a farm near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, gave her a small gray pony named Flicka. She rode in junior equitation and hunter divisions, riding a borrowed horse in the then American Horse Shows Association National Hunter Seat Medal Finals, where she finished eighth. Interestingly, she didn’t ride in the jumper division until she was 17 when she moved her junior hunter to the junior jumper division. After graduating from a two-year-college, she became a working student for Grand Prix rider Katie Monahan Prudent and rode in her first grand prix in 1985.
Beezie and her husband, John Madden, the former FEI 1st Vice President and chairman of the FEI Jumping Committee, are based out John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, New York. With his help and the help of their team, which includes three grooms who have been with them for more than 25 years, Beezie has won most of the top accolades in the history of show jumping:
• Represented the United States at the last four Olympic Games, winning two team gold medals (2004/2008), a team silver medal (2016) and an individual bronze (2008).
• Rode for the United States in the 2006 and 2014 World Equestrian Games, earning a pair of silver medals and bronze medals.
• Appeared in three Pan American Games—in 2003, 2011 and 2019—winning two team gold medals (2003, 2011), a team bronze (2019), and individual silver and bronze medals (2011, 2019).
• Won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final with Abigail Wexner’s Simon in 2013 and the second in 2018 with Mrs. Wexner’s Breitling LS
Beezie is a proponent of the American forward-riding system, having been a pupil of Mike Henaghan as well as Katie Prudent. She’s a strong believer in the basics because, she says, “The ability to control the horse comes from the base of support and the classic position.” She shares those insights evaluating riders from photos that Practical Horseman magazine readers send in of themselves in the Jumping Clinic column.
In this episode Beezie shares what she learned from Mike and Katie, some of the many special horses in her life, winning the 2013 World Cup Final, her training philosophy and favorite exercises, as well as the challenges of navigating the highs and lows of life with sporthorses.
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