By Jan Westmark
Social media influencers are all the rage now, but show jumper Beezie Madden has been influencing generations of young riders since long before social media existed. When young riders were asked who they looked up to the most in the equestrian world, Beezie was at the top of the list. Speaking of lists, Beezie’s list of accomplishments is long — she has two Olympic team gold medals, an Olympic individual bronze medal and two Pan Am gold team medals. She is the current FEI Rolex World Cup Finals Champion and also won the title in 2013. She has been named the USEF Equestrian of the Year and is a two-time winner of the American Invitational. And that’s just the short version of all she has accomplished. Beezie is married to John Madden and they live in Cazenovia, New York, at their farm, John Madden Sales, Inc., which is also the home to many famous retired show jumpers including her gold medal mount Authentic, owned by Abigail Wexner.
How did your riding career start?
I was born into a family with horses, so I had an early introduction to them. I would go every day with my parents to the Milwaukee Hunt Club near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they kept their horses. I had my first lessons there at the age of 4.
Do you have a favorite show?
My favorite show has always been Aachen. Every year it’s a spectacular equestrian event, the competition is the best of the best and it shows off our sport in the most professional way. I’ll never forget the WEG in 2016 held in Aachen where we won the team and individual silver medals, and also the following year when I won the Grand Prix with Authentic.
Do you have a favorite horse?
I’ve been so lucky to have so many special horses in my career that it’s impossible to single one out as my favorite.
What’s your favorite thing about your husband, John?
He’s a good cook.
Have you had a funny horse moment that still makes you laugh?
I still laugh when I think of competing Authentic at the American Invitational in Tampa Stadium: When I would head him toward the out-gate after our round, he would want to turn and go back into the stadium. For some reason, he loved it there.
What do you like best about being part of the horse world?
Working with the horses and always learning about how to keep them happy and bring out the best in them
If you had a week off, what would you do?
There are not many weeks off when you have horses, but a week at home is always nice.
Who inspires you?
My fellow competitors inspire me the most.
What talents do you feel you have?
I think my best talents are the ability to stay level-headed, the ability to concentrate under pressure, and my dedication to the sport.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
My Ariat team gear
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
The little time we spend at home, we try to eat healthy, so we always have egg whites, ground turkey and water in our refrigerator.
What’s your favorite meal?
A nice tenderloin and a sweet potato
What would be the best gift in the world?
Time. I never feel like I have enough time to do everything.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to teleport myself
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Take a helicopter into the Grand Canyon. It’s an amazing experience.
How would you like people to remember you?
I would like to be remembered as a successful rider, teacher and horseman, and a good role model for the younger generation.