Jumping Clinic: Exaggerated Bascule

Beezie Madden examines a horse with a generously round bascule and describes how the rider is handling it beautifully. 

Overall: The horse has an almost exaggerated round bascule for this size fence, which the rider is handling beautifully. 

Courtesy, Andrea Russell

Leg: Her foot is in the stirrup correctly. She’s absorbing some of the horse’s thrust by weighting her heels and having the correct angle in her knee. She has good contact with her calf, knee and thigh.

Seat: The rider has allowed the horse to both push her seat out of the saddle and to close her hip angle appropriately. 

Release: She’s using between a long crest release and an automatic release. It’s not quite automatic because she doesn’t have a straight line from her elbow to the horse’s mouth. She’s pressing her hands into the neck and allowing the horse to put his head and neck down. 

Upper body: If you looked just at the rider’s back, you might say that it is slightly rounded. But when you compare her back to the horse’s, they match up well. Her eyes are looking up and ahead beautifully.

Horse: This is the kind of jump that I love in a horse because he’s using his bascule very generously. The horse looks like he overjumps a little at this stage in his career, which can be a good quality as long as he levels out a little as the fences get bigger and he gets more experience. His expression indicates that he likes to study the fence on the approach and in the air. This is also a good quality as long as it doesn’t go too far. His front end is not in a classic hunter style because he’s slightly uneven, and his right forearm is not parallel to the ground. I like that his front end is a little loose but still high over the fence.

Turnout: The turnout looks very good. The horse is shiny and clean, which is challenging for a gray. He’s in a loose-ring snaffle, which is nice. The clean tack fits well. The rider’s boots are shiny, her shirt is tucked in and the helmet fits well.

About Beezie Madden

Beezie Madden captured Olympic show-jumping team gold medals in 2004 as well as 2008, where she also earned the individual bronze medal, all riding Authentic. She won the FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in 2013 with Simon and in 2018 with Breitling LS. Other accolades include an Olympic team silver medal in 2016 riding Cortes ‘C’, with whom she also took World Equestrian Games team and individual bronze medals. She won the prestigious 2019 CP ‘International’ at CSIO Spruce Meadows and was voted the 2019 USEF International Equestrian of the Year. She and her husband, John, are based out of John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, New York. 

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Practical Horseman.

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