Being Beezie: An Inspiring Spruce Meadows Course Walk with Beezie Madden
I recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to ship out to Spruce Meadows to witness their Masters series of show jumping in the flesh, and to observe Beezie Madden do a course walk before the Tourmaline Oil Cup.
Madden was on-hand at a press gathering before the class to discuss her partnership with Cavalor (the premium equine feed company that fills the bellies of her famous mounts like Simon, Cortes C, and Coral Reef Via Volo). As I research becoming a first time horse owner, the thing that keeps coming up (whether with a coach or a vet) is feed and nutrition. So I was curious to learn more about this particular topic and how important it is to one of the world’s best.
Boarding Feed and Schedule
In my research thus far, the key piece of advice I get from horse owners and coaches is to talk to your boarding facility about the feed that they use and the schedule they adhere to. I know at my riding school that the feed combinations are good quality and quite standard, but that’s not to say that boarders can’t bring in their own preferred options like stocking Cavalor or using their supplements. A few horses I know there have certain particularities, so a tailored feed program goes a long way to helping address potentially troublesome issues like stomach sensitivity or anxiety. The horse I lease has battled heaves for all the years I’ve known him, and it obviously gets much worse in a dusty barn or in the winter. While it may not be feasible to find a perfectly clean, dust-free barn, what I’m learning about lately is the use of supplements to help manage such a condition, as well as the role high quality feed plays in overall health.
Walking the Walk
There are no words.
I’m fairly new to the horse world, having picked up the sport as an adult (read Lessons from Mr. T). So watching YouTube videos of her and other riders is about as close as I ever got to the high-performance Masters level. Getting the opportunity to meet Madden was truly exciting (and envy-inducing among my fellow riders). She is soft-spoken and gentle, with a certain air of shyness that would indicate she’d rather be riding her horses instead. (I can totally relate to this because I often would rather be caring for the horses at the barn instead of dealing with humans).
Getting to see Madden walk her course at Spruce Meadows was a truly inspiring experience. Observing the gears click away in her brain as she scoped angles and counted strides was incredible. She has this tactile trait where she’ll touch the jumps and it’s almost like she’s “reading” something from them, something unseen by the average eye (definitely invisible to my newbie self). I get jazzed when I get to see an expert in their field navigating in real time; that precision and unwavering intuition that champions chip away at over their years of hard work and training. Observing Madden’s ability to tune out the gawkers and eagle eye on her lines made me reflect on when I do my best work, or my best riding. When I write best, it’s because I am able to zero in with such intense focus, I probably wouldn’t hear the fire alarm. Or when I ride my best, it’s because I’m in the zone where I’ve thought a few steps ahead. Watching Beezie rip around her turns and land some of the most complex jumps was like a surge of magic through my veins.
Channelling Cortes C
Madden rode Cortes C at the Tourmaline Oil Cup, and it proved to be a challenging event for all riders. Another Team Cavalor rider, Kent Farrington, won the event on a sneak attack with one time fault – everyone else racked up multiple faults. What I learned Cortes C is that he is a rather finicky eater. I can’t imagine how it must feel for Madden and her team of horses to jet set around the world, bopping from one competition to the next. Change and transition is hard on the body (human or equine), and as a nervous flyer it definitely wreaks havoc on me! Team Beezie feeds Cortes C Cavalor Digest and Vitaflor 365 to help soothe his sensitive digestive system and coax his palate, ensuring he has a full intake of nutrition even during the busy travel season. I find it fascinating that for such a high-performing horse (as much as a schoolie), it comes back to nutrition and schedule to achieve steadiness.
I mean, if you go out of your way to feed your other pets healthfully (or yourself, for that matter), doesn’t it make sense that you would want to feed your big, four-legged family member high-quality nutrition? I go out and buy Parker the Appaloosa organic bananas, or check the nutrition labels on Piper the cat’s treats…but the regular “meat and potatoes” of their diets is still the key. Apparently Cavalor’s puffed grain is tasty enough for humans (as tested by one of my bosses) – so it almost makes me wonder if I should pop some Pianissimo before my next flight!