Beezie Madden, one of the best known and most successful names in show jumping, was inducted into the Washington International Horse Show Hall of Fame in 2022 in a ceremony fittingly held center ring prior to the FEI Jumping World Cup Washington, one of the many competitions she has won over her long career both in the U.S. and on the international stage.
Beezie represented the U.S. in four Olympic Games, winning two gold and one silver team medal, as well as an individual bronze. She has also won team and individual silver and bronze medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games, took home five medals at the Pan American Games, and triumphed in the FEI Jumping World Cup Finals twice. She has topped the biggest grand prix classes in the world and is a three-time winner of the President’s Cup at WIHS.
Beezie was the first American to reach the top three in the FEI Jumping World Ranking List and the first woman to pass the $1 million mark in earnings. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
Beezie has a successful training and sales business with her husband John in Cazenovia, New York, and Wellington, Florida, and she recently announced she would take a break from competing at the top level to focus on bringing along young riders and developing young horses.
Beezie’s earliest memories of WIHS are of showing in the amateur jumpers during college while training with Katie Monahan-Prudent when the show took place in Landover, Md. “Competing at Harrisburg, Washington, and the Garden at the time was something that I really looked up to and hoped I could do some day,” she recalled. Her start in the open jumper division at WIHS came in 1986 when she rode for Still Meadow Farm on their mount Medrano. That same year, she also had the chance to ride Prudent’s Black Gold in the puissance, where she recalls jumping seven feet, one inch. “That was the first time I’d ever done a puissance, and I can still remember it!” she said.
During the years WIHS held Nations Cup classes, Beezie rode on the U.S. team with Northern Magic, her first superstar horse. She noted, “WIHS is one of the three prestigious shows of our indoor circuit, which was a big deal way back when it got started. All of the Europeans would come; it was really the cream of the crop and everything you wanted to do. That was always a highlight for me.
Her first President’s Cup win came in 1999 with Alan Shore’s Innocence, a horse that she started at five years old and brought along to the grand prix level.
She remembered, “That was cool to have a horse that I had developed as a young horse all the way through to the grand prix level and be successful.”
Her second President’s Cup win came in 2002 with Conquest II, a horse owned by her parents that she won Pan American Games gold with the following year. The President’s Cup was their very first grand prix win together. While usually a “super second horse” for her, he could step up when called on. “It was pretty special when he did, because he was basically overachieving for his ability,” she remarked. “He was such a quality horse with a lot of try in him, and he was fast. If you got to the jump-off, you had a good chance!”
Coming into 2018, Beezie was sitting on a ringer in Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS, who took home the World Cup Final win earlier that year in France. “He was hot that year,” she said. “That was fun to have a horse there that you knew could win if everything went right.”
The incredible support of the spectators is what Beezie feels is most special about WIHS. “WIHS is definitely the most electric of our indoor venues,” she said. “It draws the most enthusiastic crowds. One of the biggest thrills of riding at Washington is having the crowds. A lot of the same people come each year, so they have people that they root for.”
While Beezie doesn’t have plans to compete in the President’s Cup again soon, her career and impact in the sport will continue. “I didn’t want to stop riding, and I’m certainly not even going to say that I’m not ever going to do another grand prix or show at WIHS again,” she pointed out. “But I’m definitely stepping down a little and trying to develop horses and students that can go on to do what I was doing. It’s fun to work with younger riders and get them going on the same path as I was. It’s the next phase in your life.”
Being added to a Hall of Fame list at this point in her career does make her laugh about “feeling old,” but she added, “It’s a huge honor to be recognized and inducted into the WIHS Hall of Fame. It’s nice to be recognized for what I’ve done in my career.”