Jumping Clinic with Beezie Madden

Beezie Madden explains how pinched knees can cause issues.
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First impression: This is a nice photo of the horse and rider being together.

Watch the video below and listen to Beezie’s comments and suggestions:

What you see in the video: This rider is approaching the first fence in a nice medium gallop, and the jump comes up beautifully. I like how she pushes the horse away from the jump after Fences 1 and 2, which is going to make it easier for her to make the time allowed and also make sure she keeps that competitive gallop. She gets a little bit of a long distance to the oxer (Fence 3). As she comes around the island, she gets the horse back together nicely for the end jump. After it, she gets back in her medium, competitive gallop again down to the double two-stride and jumps it beautifully—she lets the horse back himself up between the two fences. Then you see her pushing through the turn around the end of the arena to the next oxer (Fence 6), which makes it come up beautifully. She has to shorten a little down the five-stride line, which she and the horse both do well. She gallops around the island efficiently, which again will help her make the time allowed. Then she rides very well through the one-stride double and pushes away to get to the next fence. And again, she pushes through the turn—it must be a tight time allowed or a speed class. She gets a big jump to the second-to-last jump but pushes away anyway. She gets him back a little in the turn to end with a beautiful ride to the last jump.

When reviewing the photo of this rider, I said she pinches a little with her knee. In the video, you can see how she kind of snaps back in the air over a lot of these fences. I think that's because instead of getting her balance from her base of support and her heel, she’s getting her balance by kind of snapping back in the air. At this size fence, it’s not going to make a big difference, but when the fences get bigger, when she snaps back, it’s is going to throw her off balance on the landing and possibly interfere with the horse’s arc and interfere with his finishing the jump. So if she could work on getting her balance more from her base—landing in her heels—I think she’s going to have a little better result.

Photo Analysis

Photo 1_Video

Leg: This rider is standing on her toes in the stirrup in the air, and she’s pinching with her knee. These two faults usually go together because if you don’t have support for your body in your heel and stirrup iron, where it should be, you have it in your knee. These faults have caused her leg to slide back, and she looks like she is squeezing him with her leg in the air. I don’t think she means to do this because she probably doesn’t need to at a vertical.

Seat/Upper body: Her hip angle is closed the correct amount, and her seat is out of the saddle enough to allow her horse to use his back. Her back is flat, and it looks like her eyes are up and she is looking ahead to the next jump.

Release: She is using a nice crest release with her hands halfway up the horse’s neck and pressing into it, which gives her horse the freedom to jump.

Horse: The horse looks scopey over this size fence. He has a little bit of a loose style with his front end. His knees are not up as high and as even as we see in a classical style, but he is jumping high enough to do his job. There are a lot of good horses who don’t necessarily have a classic front end but jump well. His bascule looks excellent.

Turnout: The turnout of both horse and rider is excellent. Her boots are shiny, and her clothes fit well. The horse has beautifully fitted tack and looks well groomed. 

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 Summer 2021 issue of Practical Horseman.

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