First impression: This rider has a good leg that with a few changes can be even better.
Leg: Her stirrup is in a good position on her foot. Her heel is up a little, but she looks like she’s using her leg in the air to encourage her horse across this wide jump, which is good. A lot of riders abandon the horse once he leaves the ground, but you can still influence the horse in the air. The flag is hiding her knee, but she might be pinching with it, so she needs to relax it.
Seat: In contrast to the previous rider, this rider’s seat is more over the pommel of the saddle, so she’s more with the motion of the horse and her hip angle is accordingly more open, giving her better balance.
Release: Her release is excellent. She’s allowing the horse some freedom but she doesn’t have a slack in the reins, and she’s pressing her hands into the crest of the neck. Because her hands are in the correct position for the release, her stick is still and alongside the horse, which I like. When the horse sees the stick sliding up out of the corner of his eye, it threatens him.
Upper body: Her back is excellent, and her eyes are looking ahead to the next fence.
Horse: This attentive horse seems like he really tries to do his job. He’s putting in a good effort over the jump to make it across, and he’s jumping in good style.
Turnout: The turnout is very good. The figure-eight noseband is beautifully adjusted. I’m not a fan of the colored boots and saddle pad, but it all matches along with the rider's shirt. Her attire looks tidy, her hair is neatly up under her helmet and her boots are shiny.
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 Winter 2020 issue.