Jumping Clinic: Too-short Stirrups

Beezie Madden explains what can happen to your position if your stirrups are too short.

Overall: This looks like a secure rider who needs to ride with a longer stirrup.

Leg/Seat: The stirrup iron might be a little too far out on her toe. Also, her knee and hip angles are almost a little too closed. I say that because for this size fence, she doesn’t need to make such a big move with her body. I think her stirrups might be a little short, causing her to try to catch up with the horse’s motion. Too-short stirrups force your seat too far back in the saddle on the approach to the fence. Despite this, she looks like a very secure rider.

Release: We have a demonstration of the long crest release, reaching halfway up the horse’s neck and pressing right into the crest. You can see how much freedom it gives the horse—there’s a slack in the reins for him to make a nice effort over that fence.

Upper body: Her back is relaxed yet flat, and her eyes and head are looking ahead to the next fence.

Horse: The horse is making a generous jump. His body is high enough that he doesn’t have to fold his front legs that tight and be tidy. But he is even with his knees and perfectly safe—he’s just very relaxed and not having to make a big effort. I like his expression—he’s looking ahead to the next fence. His ears are pricked.

Turnout: The rider’s turnout is neat and tidy. I think she has half chaps on, which are fine for schooling. The figure-eight noseband has a ring on the side, and it looks like it’s too far forward, close to being on the horse’s cheekbone. I’d like to see the figure-eight adjusted so the ring is back by the cheek piece of the bridle that attaches to the bit.

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.

The Pursuit of Suppleness
Hone the Half-Halt
Stirrup Control for Greater Stability
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