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Jumping Clinic with Beezie Madden

Beezie Madden critiques a rider's jumping position in a photo and video.
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Sallie Gutt Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography Winter 2019 copy

Overall: This is a very pleasing photo of both horse and rider.

Leg/Hip: What I first notice is the rider’s leg has slipped back quite a bit in the air. That’s caused her knee and hip angles to close slightly more than is needed for this size fence, but it’s not bad. It’s a little hard to tell where the stirrup is positioned on her foot because the standard is in the way, but it looks like her toes are turned out a tad too far.

Seat: Her seat is a little too far out of the saddle, but I wouldn’t criticize it. Instead, she needs to think about keeping her leg closer to the girth.

Release: Her short crest release is pretty good—it’s giving enough for the horse to use himself.

Upper body: The rider’s eyes are up and looking ahead. Her back is flat, almost to the point where she’s stiff-backed. I’d like to see her back a little more relaxed.

Horse: He’s not classic in front, but he’s making a nice effort over this fence. His bascule is quite good. His expression almost looks as if he’s looking back at the rider, which makes me think that he’s a little lazy. But he certainly has a sweet face and he’s making a nice jump here.

Turnout: The turnout is excellent.The horse looks good, the braids are beautiful. I like that she’s carrying a short crop. The tack and saddle pad are clean.

What you’ll see in the video: My first impression of this rider in the video is she is a little heavy in the seat for a hunter class. The horse looks like he’s a bit lazy so she pushes him with her seat, leg and spur. This could be one reason her leg has slid back in the photo. I’d like to see the horse a bit livelier to her leg and carry himself better, especially down the first line. The rest of the course looks quite good—it’s just the first line doesn’t match it. In the opening circle, the rider could get the horse more in front of her leg so down the first line she doesn’t have to drive him so much with her aids, what I call being “scrubby” with her seat.

Having said that, the rider is quite accurate down the first line and the horse got down it fine. He wants to cut his turns a little after the fences, so she could work on keeping him straighter there, but it’s a pleasant picture. The horse has a nice expression and it looks like he has a nice, big stride. He’s not making spectacular jumps but nice jumps for this size fence. The rider is smooth and the pace is even. All in all, the round is quite good.

It strikes me as a beautiful show ring with the trees all around it. It looks like we could use more places like that. 

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 Winter 2019 issue.

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