First impression: This rider’s hips are just over the pommel, ideal for this size fence, but she’s lying on her horse’s neck.
Watch the video below and listen to Beezie's comments and suggestions:
What you’ll see in the video: I like how she’s working out of a nice rhythm going to the third fence, the oxer at the end of the ring, and then she has a very nice lead change. She gets straight to the next line and jumps right in the middle of the fences, then makes an inside turn, which will help her make the time allowed. I like how she pushes her horse away from the fences everywhere. That’s how she is going to get under the time allowed efficiently without taking a big risk at the next fence, especially since her horse is so kind and rideable. Around the end of the ring, she’s still thinking of the time allowed and keeping the rhythm. On the diagonal, she lets the jump come to her nicely.
Moving to the jump-off, on the opening circle, she’s trying to set the rhythm. I would love to see a little more pace—there should be more than in the first round. Here she’s got just a first-round, normal pace. Again, she’s landing pushing away, which is good, but as she gets more experienced, she can tighten up the turn. She could have kept pushing a little longer at the end fence so that same distance could come up a little easier. She’s approaching the next fence on a nice angle. When she has more experience, she’ll be able to turn inside of the jump on the end of the ring to get to the last jump. For a jump-off that’s a little wide.
This rider has nice timing, and she works out of a good rhythm. The horse looks like a very good guy to do that with. Overall this was nice riding and a lovely horse. With a little more experience, the rider will be able to tighten the turns in the jump-off and come up with some faster times.
Leg: The stirrup is too far out on the rider’s toe— I’d like to see it right on the ball of her foot. Other than that, I think her leg is in a good position with her heel far down. She may be pinching slightly with her knee, but it’s hard to tell because her knee is a bit hidden.
Seat: Her seat is also in a good position. Her hips are correctly just a little over the pommel of the saddle, but I would like to see her hip angle more open and some space between her upper body and the horse’s neck.
Release: Her short crest release is good.
Upper body: Her eyes are looking up and ahead to the next fence, and her back is excellent.
Horse: I’d like to see the horse more even in front, but he might be coming out of the air at this point, just starting to land. He has a cute expression and a very nice topline in his jump—his neck and back are round.
Turnout: The turnout is excellent. The rider’s clothes fit beautifully. Her hair is up neatly under the helmet. Her boots are polished to a T. It looks like a very hot day, but the horse’s tack is presented beautifully, though I’m not a fan of blue boots. I like to see more classic brown or black boots.
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. 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 2021 issue of Practical Horseman.