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Jumping Clinic

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden critiques a rider and horse.
Jumping Clinic Spring 2020 2

Overall: The rider could improve her lower leg slightly for a better upper-body position.

Leg: Her heel is down and the stirrup iron is well-placed on her foot, but she is pinching with her knee, causing her lower leg to slide back and away from the horse.

Hip angle: The pinched knee has caused her try to catch up to the horse, so her hip angle is closed too far and her upper body is ahead of the horse—she’s almost ducking. If her lower leg were more secure, that angle could be more open.

Upper body: She has a relaxed back and her release is quite good. It’s a bit of a short crest release, but she’s allowing the horse enough freedom to jump the fence. Her eyes are up and looking ahead to the next fence, which I like.

Horse: He has a nice jumping style and good expression, and he’s looking at the next fence. Over this size fence, he’s making a beautiful effort.

Turnout: Making a gray horse look good is hard, but this one is well groomed, almost shiny. The tack is properly adjusted, and the rider’s turnout is neat and tidy. I like that she is carrying a stick. Some people avoid carrying one because they feel it lights up a horse, but when used properly, it becomes a good tool if you need to get a forward reaction. The horse needs to respect the stick but not fear it.

If you’re not wearing a coat, you should close your collar for a neater, more respectful look. Also, if you wear a necklace, a closed collar will avoid getting your stick caught in it. I’m not a big fan of necklaces and earrings. The necklace can get caught in your stick, and if you have a fall, an earring can cut your ear. 

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. Most recently, she won the prestigious CP ‘International’ at CSIO Spruce Meadows last September. She and her husband, John, are based out of John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, New York. 

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue.

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