Meet Three-Time Olympian Beezie Madden

Three-time Olympian Beezie Madden can’t remember a time before horses. “My parents had horses since I was born. I grew up going to the stable,” she says.

That time spent around horses paid off. Now, Madden is an internationally-acclaimed Olympic show jumper. She rode in the Athens, Beijing and London games. She took home a gold medal both in Athens and in Beijing after competing in the team jumping events and claimed a bronze in Beijing in individual jumping. She holds two silver and two bronze medals from the World Championships in Aachen and Normandy, respectively, and has earned two gold and one silver medal at the Pan American Games.

© ESI Photography | Madden won the $1 Million Grand Prix in 2015 at HITS-on-the-Hudson

Yet Madden is still humbled by the prospect of representing the U.S. when she shows in international arenas. The Olympics, especially, are “a huge endeavor,” she says. “You feel like a part of a big U.S. team. There’s much more media attention than we’re used to as riders,” she adds with a laugh. When Madden represents the U.S. in the Olympics, she says she feels that she, along with the other U.S. athletes, represent the entire country in an important way. And so far, Madden has represented her country well.

So well, in fact, that Madden has been shortlisted for the Olympic team since December 1 of last year. “I was lucky,” she says. She was able to schedule her horse, Cortes “C” accordingly, able to focus on preparing for the Olympics rather than qualifying for the team. “He didn’t need more experience, so he was shown very lightly.” She focused on making sure she and her horse were ready to compete as a team.

Now that the Olympics are rapidly approaching, Madden has adjusted Cortes’s training schedule – “He should be fresh enough but hopefully peaked” by the time the games begin, she says.

Madden is dismissive of the more negative media hype surrounding the Rio Olympics. “Olympics are always high security,” she says. “And like in any big city, I don’t travel anywhere by myself.” Her concerns with these Olympics, like all the others, are more about keeping herself and her horse happy. “Transporting the horses is nerve wracking,” she confesses.

In these crucial moments before the games, Madden takes it day-by-day. “I’m focused on getting the equipment together and the nightmare of paperwork. It’s a huge undertaking to travel with the horses.”

© ESI Photography | Madden shows in the $1 Million Grand Prix in 2015 at HITS-on-the-Hudson

Madden has owned Cortes “C” for five years. Two years ago he partnered with Madden at the World Championships in Normandy, earning her two bronze medals. “He’s really good at championships, so good at jumping the courses, and he has stamina. It’s a really good partnership,” says Madden.

Madden has a farm in Cazenovia, New York, where she lives with her husband, John. John serves as her partner in the horse industry, her coach and the business manager of John Madden Sales. Cortes “C” will ship to Brazil on Sunday and the world will be able to watch Madden ride in the qualifiers on Sunday, August 14.

The HITS Blog has previously profiled Mary-Kate Olsen, Patricia Griffith and Gavin Moylan; Olympians McClain Ward and Matt Williams; and young riders like Michael Hughes and Megan Hackett. To nominate a rider to be profiled on the blog, send us an email!