Editorial: Be Like Beezie

PC:Wikimedia Commons/WiNG/cc

Managing editor of our sister site Horse Nation and regular contributor to JN Kristen Kovatch takes a moment to acknowledge all of Beezie Madden’s qualities – looking beyond the talent and fame to her impermeable class. 

I’ve never met a horse person who doesn’t like Beezie Madden. (That’s not to say that such people don’t exist, I’ve just never met them myself.)

There are plenty of reasons to love her: she’s a world-class rider and Olympian. She’s naturally diffident, making sure praise is given to her entire team and not just herself. She does right by her retirees. She cleans her own tack! And, of course, she’s kind of a baller when it comes to being bold in the saddle:

Beezie should certainly be a role model for all equestrians, regardless of discipline, for all of the reasons I listed above — plus one more. You know what’s one thing I’ve never seen Beezie do? Concern herself with anyone else’s horse life but her own.

You can log on to any social media right now and find equestrians all up in each other’s business all the time, especially when an opinion wasn’t asked for. We’re no strangers to the phenomenon here at Horse Nation — another editor used a photo of her own horse to illustrate a piece and had to wade through dozens of comments from readers critiquing his weight and her horsemanship. “Armchair jockeys” as they are commonly called are lurking everywhere, waiting for the moment when they can reveal to the rest of the internet that they too have some horse experience.

What is it about horses that gives us that natural competitive drive to make sure that everyone around us knows what we know? Why are we so keen to reveal our knowledge, give our opinion or offer some “friendly advice” especially when it was never asked for? In the words of a wise lifelong horsewoman I know (no, not Beezie) “I have a car… but that doesn’t make me an instant auto expert, does it?”

I don’t have the answers to these questions — I don’t know what it is about horses that makes us all believe we have to prove our worth to everyone else. I know I’m guilty of it myself on many occasions in face-to-face conversations and all I can do is stay self-aware and remind myself to shut my mouth if no one asked me a question.

I’ve never once seen Beezie Madden offering equitation advice to total strangers on Instagram. I have yet to come across Beezie trolling the comments section on YouTube (mental note: never, ever read the comments section on YouTube). I have seen and heard her in press conferences praising her competition and her teammates, offering her support and encouragement. She’s a class act, and if we all tried to be just a little bit more like her, just imagine what the horse world could be like.

And technically, no, you don’t have to be like Beezie — you could be like any number of top competitors. Be like Charlotte. Be like McLain. Be like Chester. Be like Mandy. Be like that good friend you have at the barn that no matter how much you try to gossip with her she always rises above to have something nice to say about everyone.

The equestrian world is often accused of being clique-y. Maybe if we were all a little more like Beezie, we could turn that reputation right around.

Be bold, but be kind. Be like Beezie.