First impression: This is a pleasant-looking picture of an effective, strong rider with a good basic position and a happy horse.
Leg: The only part that spoils the picture is that the rider’s heel has drawn up, making a quite possibly good leg look not as classic as it could be. Her weight needs to stay more in her heels in the air. If she’s trying to use her leg, she can do it more effectively with her heels down and her toes turned out a little. The raised heel position has drawn up her knee, too. If she stretched her heel down, her knee would be lower in the saddle.
Hip angle: Fixing her leg would allow this rider’s hip angle to open more as well. It is closed too much for the size of the fence.
Upper body/release: Her back is flat, and she’s looking ahead to the next fence. The crest release is excellent, and she’s carrying the stick properly in her hand with it flat against the horse’s side.
Horse: I love the classic jumping style of the horse. His front legs are even, and his knees are a little higher than his elbows. He’s stretching his head and neck forward and down and rounding his back nicely. His expression is excellent, looking ahead to the next fence.
Turnout: The turnout is very good. The horse’s coat looks great, the tack fits properly and the rider’s clothes look excellent.
Side note: I love the jump and the decorations around it. It’s a nice grass field that people have put effort into to make look nice and a little unique. It looks like a lovely place to show.
What you’ll see in the video: We are in strange times with COVID-19 and haven’t been able to attend too many shows, so a home video is good. The rider set a nice, bold course to present. Right from the beginning in her opening approach to the first fence, I like the rhythm and pace. I like when the pace starts out the same as you’re going to need later in the course. At the end of the ring, the rider is keeping a nice rhythm, and the jumps are just coming up out of stride, which is what you want and happens better when you work out of this forward rhythm. Coming to the double verticals, which ride a little short, she has to slow a little, but she does it smoothly, and the horse settles and waits nicely. Then she’s right back to the normal rhythm again. As in the photo, this horse has a beautiful expression as he goes around the course, looking for the next fence. He’s good with his lead changes and he’s good at holding his leads off the ground to the fence, which can be difficult on some of these turns and bending lines. Overall, I think it’s an excellent round.
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 2020 issue.