Jumping Clinic: Stirrup Iron Position

Beezie Madden examines a rider's jumping position, sharing suggestions for improvements on stirrup iron placement.

Overall: I like this rider’s position, and she looks like she has good determination in her expression. 

Courtesy, Elizabeth Beer

Leg: Starting with her stirrup-iron position, she looks like she’s riding on her toe. I’d like to see her foot a little farther in the iron with the iron right on the ball of her foot. Even saying that, the angles in her ankle and her knee are excellent. She has good contact with the horse’s side in the air.

Seat/hip angle: The angle in her hip is also excellent, and her seat is up over the pommel of the saddle. 

Release: She is using a nice crest release, pressing her hands into her pony’s neck, trying to give him freedom to jump the way he wants.

Upper body: The only criticism I have in her position is that her back is a little roached. It could be because she’s having to reach because her pony is stretching forward with his head and neck. I like that her eyes are looking up and ahead to the next fence. 

Pony: The photo may have been taken a second too late to show the pony’s jumping style, but he looks like he’s a little drapey with his front end. But he seems to have plenty of ability to jump this fence height anyway. He’s got a good bascule in his neck and back—he’s rounding them as he stretches his neck forward and down. 

Turnout: They look dressed for practice rather than a show. She could cut the ends off of the stirrup leathers so they don’t flap and risk bothering the pony. He’s missing the right hind boot. Her boots could be a little spiffier, shinier—even if she’s just practicing at home.

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 Spring 2023 issue of Practical Horseman.

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