Madison County horsewoman will hear this weekend if she's Olympics bound
By Laura Hand
Fri, 15 Jun 2012 15:23:05 GMT — She medaled in Athens and China, and now Beezie Madden is hoping for a third Olympic bid, to the London games. She should know this weekend. Madden is at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, for the final of the Olympic Observation sessions. She has three horses in the running. Via Volo (nicknamed Shrimp) is the most experienced, seen here in Syracuse for their winning Syracuse Sporthorse Tournament in 2010. She also has Cortez, (nicknamed Tiny) who is a strapping 10-year-old who is doing well before the Spruce Meadows judges, and Simon, a 13-year-old who's also coming along well. We caught up with Beezie and her husband-trainer John Madden at their Nelson farm, during a brief visit between shows. All the visits to Madison County are brief, they've only spent about two weeks here this year, but the time is always full of horses in training. Beezie rides 8 horses a day, to keep them and herself in shape. On the day we visited, she was jumping Via Volo on their big, outside jumping field, along with a handful of student riders. John was supervising. "We love the rolling hills of Central New York to help prepare the horses because if they can do it on a slope, they can do it a lot easier on flat ground" he tells us. Besides supervising lessons, John Madden's main job is to keep the horses healthy. Scheduling is a big part; making sure that each gets the work needed to stay in shape, and also to peak for key competitions. The jumps practiced here are three to four feet high, 'small' by grand prix standards. Madden says they're low enough that the horses don't get worn out by working at this height. The field itself is also meticulously maintained. It was recently aerated to make it more cushiony for the jumpers. John Madden says keeping the horses healthy is a full-time job. "It's not like an automobile. I hear these nascar guys talking about how difficult it is to have their second car right...well try having something with no replacement parts," John Madden says. The morning's rides are under the watchful eye of Authentic, the horse Beezie rode in the past two Olympics and for several years on the show jumping circuit. He's now at leisure with an official retirement planned at a big horse show in Ohio this fall. John Madden calls Authentic one of the greats, having won several medals at more than one game, a true accomplishment. Besides jumping big, the horses have to travel well, and not be distracted by crowd noise. "You know the Syracuse Invitational was very good for that, the crowd was very enthusiastic and really on top of the horses there," Beezie says. So now, it's down to the waiting. The short list will mean the London games, unless there's a last minute emergency. "Yeah, I was hoping I'd for sure make more than one Olympic team, and three would be nice," Beezie tells us. You can follow along at John Madden Sales, and also the US Equestrian Federation websites, and we'll keep you up to date here, as well.
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