Jumping Clinic: Stirrup Placement

Beezie Madden explains correct stirrup placement and how it can affect rider biomechanics.

Overall: This rider has good angles in her ankle, knee and hip.

Leg/Hip angle: I’d like to see the stirrup more on the ball of her foot—it’s a little too far back. This placement should make it hard for her to have the correct angles at her ankle, knee and hip, but it doesn’t. They are all correct. Her toe is turned out the appropriate amount so her knee isn’t pinching the saddle. She has most of her contact in the back of the calf and a little in her thigh, which I like.

Release: She’s demonstrating a short crest release. Judging by the fact that she looks young and she’s on a pony, she’s probably riding at the novice to intermediate levels, so I think the crest release is appropriate.

Upper body: Her back, neck and head all look very relaxed and workmanlike, and she’s looking ahead to the next fence. I love her expression.

Pony: I also love the pony’s expression. It’s very relaxed and looking ahead, yet at the same time, he’s pretty generous over the fence. I like his style with his front end: His very even knees are high enough that his forearm is almost parallel to the ground. Plus, I love seeing the jumps out in the field.

Turnout: The tack looks well-fitted. I’d love to see the extra part of the stirrup leather that is hanging down cut off so it’s a little shorter and doesn’t flap, running the risk of accidentally hitting the horse. The saddle pads are clean, and her hair is neat under the helmet. 

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 Winter 2021 issue of Practical Horseman.