Sporthorse Star: Garant

Get to know Garant—the 10-year-old KWPN gelding who Beezie Madden hopes to take to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Beezie Madden and Garant at the 2020 Palm Beach Masters. © Amy K. Dragoo

Nickname: Junior

Breed: KWPN

Breeding: Warrant out of C’est La Vie

Age: 10

Sex: Gelding

Height: 16-16.1 hh

Owner: Abigail Wexner

Career highlights: FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for 5 year olds in Lanaken, Belgium with Dutch show jumper Willem Greve; 2019 $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup CSI4* at the American Gold Cup

How did you come to ride Garant?

He was with Willem Greve in the Netherlands. I saw him at a small indoor show in the fall of his 6-year-old year and loved him. It took us a couple of weeks to get a price and permission to try him. When we did, we loved him. He’s been amazing ever since. Willem did a great job bringing him along that far. And he’s been a winner all the way through the ranks.

What did you love about him when you tried him

His jump is amazing. He feels like he’s got helium in his body when he goes in the air. I liked his temperament. He’s a little bit feisty, but in a good way. He fights for you.

What does he do that makes you say that?

He wants to go to the fences. Sometimes he drives me a little too much to the fence. But, I think he has fun out there. He wants to go to the fence, he wants to make brilliant jumps. I think he’s quite smart. He’s that weird combination of careful and brave. That’s hard to find—super careful and quite brave.

How have you brought him along since you started riding him?

We got him in the fall of his 6-year-old year, so we really didn’t start with him until he was 7. We just tried to take him places to get him good experience. He went to Aachen and to Spruce Meadows and other shows during the year. He went to a few shows in Europe. I think he’s incredibly smart because, I wouldn’t try to go fast that many times, but when I did, he just knew what to do. If I aimed him to win a class, he either won it or came pretty close in the jump-off.

What’s his personality like in the barn?

He’s the type who’s always interested in things. He’s a little bit cocky. If he sees something he might be a little bit spooked by, he looks at it with these wide eyes, but then he wants to go up to it, too. He’s funny that way. That’s a lot of the things about him that remind us about Authentic [Madden’s 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medal partner]. That’s how he got his name—Junior—just because he reminds us in a lot of ways of Authentic. Nothing to do with the way he looks or jumps but his temperament and the way he is around the barn. He’s mouthy, he’s a little bit bratty, but nice bratty. A cocky and confident type of horse.

Beezie Madden and Garant at the 2020 Palm Beach Masters. © Amy K. Dragoo

What are his strengths?

I’d say how careful he is and scopey. And like I say, his intelligence, he just knows the right thing to do.

Is there any specific work you do with him to address any training challenges?

Mostly just rideability all the time. Because, like I said, he wants to pull me too close to the fence sometimes. [We do] lines where he has to go forward and come back. And, maybe exercises where he has to hold himself a little—gymnastic type exercises.

What’s your daily routine with him?

It’s pretty much the same for all our horses. They go on the walker in the morning and then they either get ridden or turned out depending on what time I ride them during the day. They all get ridden and turned out, it just depends on timing whether I ride them first or turn them out. At home that’s their normal daily routine.

Do you have a nutrition plan for him?

We feed Cavalor Feed. He gets Pianissimo, which is one that’s for horses with a lot of energy. Then he gets [Cavalor] FiberForce and timothy hay and grass in the field. 

Do you have a health-care routine for him?

He’s not so complicated. We have chiropractor who checks all our horses, so he gets that with Jim Mitchell who is part of the John R. Steele & Associates. But, he doesn’t have any special therapy so far. We’ve been able to avoid that. 

What kind of tack does he go in?

It depends on the week. Right now, I just have a straight bar steel pelham on him and a running martingale. Generally, he goes most of the time in a figure-eight noseband and we leave it a little bit loose. He fights it if it’s too tight. 

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