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Jumping Clinic: Relaxed Elbows Versus Turned-Out Too Far

Beezie Madden explains how a rider's elbows being turned out can affect the line from the horse's mouth to the elbow.
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Overall: This rider has a solid leg, but I would like to see a softer arm.

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Leg: The stirrup is too far back on her foot—I’d love to see it right on the ball of her foot. But the angle of the stirrup is correct, and her heel is down. She has nice contact with her calf, and her knee is in contact with the saddle but relaxed.

Seat: The fence is not very tall, and the horse is not making a huge effort to get over it, so her seat is out of the saddle the correct amount. Her hip angle is slightly open, but it’s correct for this size fence.

Release: Although she has almost a straight line from the horse’s mouth to her elbow, the release looks low and stiff because of the way her elbows are turned out. She needs to relax her arms and allow them to be an extension of the rein, instead of having that broken line from her wrist to her elbow.

Upper body: She is looking ahead to the next fence.

Horse: He looks like a relaxed, happy-to-do-his-job kind of guy, rangy with a big gallop and nice scope. He’s not that expressive, though it’s hard to tell because the photo timing is a little late. He’s making a nice effort for the size of the fence and being efficient in his jumping style.

Turnout: The turnout is pretty good. It must have been muddy because the horse’s legs and tail are dirty. The tack fits properly, and it’s nice to see a horse in a fat snaffle even doing the cross country, which is a compliment to the horse. The rider’s boots look clean, and her clothes fit properly. Her hat looks as if it has slid down over her eyes, so she should check that it’s fitting properly.

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. S Most recently, she won the prestigious CP ‘International’ at CSIO Spruce Meadows in September. he and her husband, John, are based out of John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, New York.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Practical Horseman.

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