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Wishing By Charlene Strickland


to the very top of their sport. We often wonder how a particular horse made it to that level of success. Each international horse has his own story, yet somewhere along the line his talent was recognized and nurtured. How and when does a rider identify these


I


extraordinary partners who make it to the high- est FEI levels? What characteristics are likely to transform a sport horse into a superstar? In this year of the eighth World Eques-


trian Games, we asked five veteran grand prix jumper riders to share their experiences find- ing and producing championship contenders. They give us insight into the qualities they seek and whether it’s possible to predict a particu- lar horse will have genuine star power in the jumper arena.


Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden


America’s most honored jumper rider, Beezie is from Caze- novia, New York, and has ridden in four Olympic Games. She won team gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, along with team silver in 2016. She won the individual bronze medal in Hong Kong in 2008, as well as winning the World Cup Finals in 2013. In four world championships beginning in 2002, she won team and individual silver (2006) and team and individual bronze in 2014. And Beezie keeps on winning at the international level.


Her current string includes three superstars: KWPN stallion Darry Lou (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Nabab de Reve), Holsteiner gelding Coach (Con Air x Corofino I), and Stud- book La Silla stallion Breitling LS (Quintero x Acord II). In 2018 she’s been ranked consistently first or second in


the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, with the stallion Breitling LS winning first places at many CSIs and CSIOs. This bay stallion, now 12, has proven he has the drive to win in jump-offs. This year his biggest wins so far in Florida are the $205,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO 4* Grand Prix at the Winter


14 May/June 2018


Bezie Madden and Breitling LS at the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier, February 2018, at HITS Desert Circuit, Thermal, California.


Equestrian Festival week 8, and the $205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors CSI 4* Grand Prix. He qualified to represent the U.S. at the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Paris. “He’s my veteran horse right now,” Beezie says. “He knows his job.”


When she tests a youngster’s talent to become an inter-


national horse, she looks at a variety of factors. “Obviously they need to feel like they have the scope to jump 1.60 m. Then they need to be very careful in this day and age. You can often tell how careful they are as a young horse, but it is often difficult to tell if that quality will stay within them as they get older and more seasoned,” she says. Beezie also considers the horse’s attitude, saying, “Their


temperament is also a big part of the equation. They need to be able to handle all different atmospheres, and they need to be trainable and have the desire to work with you in the end.” “Lastly, they need to be sound and healthy,” she adds.


“This is something you can have a feeling for as a young horse, but it is very hard to predict if they will stay in good health as they get older.” What does she want to see and feel when testing a pros-


pect over fences? “A future team horse should feel like he is jumping very easily over a fence. I have had all different style jumpers that look completely different over a fence, but what they all have in common is that they don’t feel like they are


All photos are by Charlene Strickland


n any sport, international superstars are prized—and coveted. Only a small percent- age of the world’s equine athletes make it


HO W T OP P R OS ID E


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