Friday, March 19, 2010

Beezie Madden vs The Rest of Us

Goal No. 7 from Denny Emerson: "Strive to look and ride like Beezie Madden over fences! OK, just a joke. But it’s not entirely a joke because correct technique is learnable through practice. Find some photographs of jumping riders whose style you admire, cut them out and study them. Place photos of yourself next to these role model photos, and study the differences. Study the “physics” of jumping, the lines and angles."

I had the chance to meet Denny for the first time at last year's USEA Convention. What a riot! And what a horseman! I sure hope I have the chance to ride with him sometime in my life, even just once - I know he won't disappoint! So, what Denny says - I'll do! I won't subject pictures of my students or friends to this little game (but I sure hope you guys join in!), but Denny's Goal No. 8 is "Expand the emotional trait of courage." So...

Photo #1: ME!

One thing I'm really proud of over the last few years is my lower leg. I always felt like I struggled with it as a young rider, and I'm really pleased with my strength recently. It's clear in this picture that my stirrups are too long - a consequence of not having enough room in the knee of the saddle to shorten them. Am anxious to start getting competition pictures in the new saddle! I'm also a rein creeper - I think they could easily be 5 inches longer, which I know Katchi would appreciate.

Photo #2: Obviously, Beezie

Wow! Denny's right. She looks great. She's making the fence look like it's the easiest thing in the world - and it must be nearly 6 feet tall!

Photo #3: Me, again.

I chose to post this picture, because it shows exactly where I ain't Beezie (reins and stirrup length aside)- it's really in the butt! In fairness to me, if Katchi would just tuck his knees up, his body jumped a 5 foot fence! I sorta wanted to jump the 3 foot fence. But Beezie didn't get swallowed by her saddle over the 5 foot fence. This is how Katchi jumps. And we're a team, so I've got to figure out how to stay with him.

Photo #4: Beezie, again.

Clearly, this is what Jim Wofford means when he says I need to stay up over my knees in the air. Her lower leg is perfect, her hands are soft, she's in perfect balance over the center of the horse, and her horse loves her for it! Denny's right - the angles and lines are fascinating. The physics of her jump is amazing. And "technique is learnable" - right?!

So, how do your pictures stack up against Beezie??


  1. What a great idea! I have a similar picture comparison of me/Prima & Phillip/Connaught on my desk at work -- hoping for subliminal jump position improvement :D

  2. Jumping is a very difficult sport!