Beezie Madden is currently the best ranked rider in the Longines Ranking. The leading lady of the American jumping sport is in eighth place in the World Ranking, and for now it looks like she won't be moving out of the top ten anytime soon. We asked her some tips to become a better rider, she gave us five!
"Perhaps my most important tip is to never forget that you're working with animals," the American kicks off. "They have their own character and their own will. Horses can also have a bad day or not feel quite right. You have to respect that as a rider. Of course it's still important that your horses see you as the 'leader', but you must never lose sight of them. Treat them with respect, and they will too. Through mutual respect, you can build the best bond with your horses. That good bond can only speak in your favor in the competition arena."
"A second tip I can give is to always do everything as natural as possible. Respect the character of your horse and try not to change him or her too much. I'm also not a big fan of too many 'aids'. When I ride my horses during the week, I try to use as simple a bit as possible. At competition, they sometimes need a different bit but for pure dressage work, a simple bit should should do. The love for your horses is also hugely important. The best riders are almost always also real 'horse people', think for example of Steve Guerdat or John Whitaker. You have to pursue that goal at all times".
"I also think it's important to be friendly not only to your horses but also to other riders. For example, in the warm-up I always try to be as considerate as possible towards my colleagues. This also applies in everyday life: open up to other people and be friendly to everyone. Respect everyone. It may not have a direct impact on your riding but a good reputation will take you much further," she says.
"Also, always make sure you leave for a competition prepared. I always take extra gear with me because you never know what can happen. Your rein can always snap or a stirrup break off. In my truck there are standard extra reins, an extra cap, stirrup leashes, spurs and tendon guards. Then again, you know that in an extreme emergency, you don't have to ride in without reins," she laughs.
"Finally, I also think it's important to always look 'presentable,'" she concludes. "Of course, that too has no direct influence on your riding performance but if you feel good in your attire, you will probably feel better too which will make you perform better."