First impression: Both the rider’s position and turnout are excellent.
Leg: Her foot is correctly in the stirrup and the angles in her ankle and knee are appropriate for this size fence. She seems to be pinching with her knee a little, causing her lower leg to slide back. I’d like her to relax her knee and have her calf a little more against the horse to let her lower leg establish her balance.
Seat: I like the rider’s hip angle, and her seat is nicely out the saddle.
Release: She’s demonstrating a nice short crest release, giving enough for the horse to use himself.
Upper body: Her back looks relaxed but not roached, and her eyes are up and ahead, looking at the next fence.
Horse: He looks like a pretty good jumper. His front end could be a little more classic with his knees a little higher, but he seems to have some range and scope to his jump. At this point, he looks as if he is going to follow through nicely and that his bascule is going to be good.
Turnout: The rider’s turnout is excellent. Her boots are shiny and everything is clean. The horse looks clean for a gray horse in a bit of a muddy situation. I like seeing a rider schooling and competing her horse in a snaffle bit.
What you’ll see in the video: On the opening circle, this horse seems a little green because he’s either looking around, maybe spooking a little, or he’s really cutting in. As the rider approaches the first fence, you can see that she’s working out of a little deeper seat than I would on a horse with more schooling, but that’s probably appropriate for an inexperienced horse. After the first fence, at the end of the ring, he’s late with the lead change. At the second oxer and again at the next vertical, when the distance starts to get awkward, she sits a little deeper in the saddle and I like that for a green horse. Again, at the end on the end of the ring, he’s not very schooled about the flying lead change, but he can do them. Down the next bending line (brown vertical to double), I can see that for an unschooled horse, the rider is doing a good job about being accurate in her ride, which will give the horse confidence in the long run. At the vertical (sixth fence) and at the impressive-looking blue and white oxers, there is a positive, forward ride. The final end of the arena is a bit better. There are people standing in front of the next combination, so I can’t tell if he put in an extra stride, but he finishes solidly over the last fence. In general, he doesn’t have a classic jumping style, but that will get better as he gets more experience. It looks like the rider gave him a nice, positive ride.
Watch the video below to hear Beezie's commentary.
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. Most recently, she won the prestigious CP ‘International’ at CSIO Spruce Meadows in September. She and her husband, John, are based out of John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, New York.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue.