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Beezie Madden exclusive as the leading lady rider reigns supreme

Beezie Madden exclusive as the leading lady rider reigns supreme

Ludger Beerbaum regards Valkenswaard as his favorite event of the year

Nineteen of world’s Top 20 ready for battle of the titans

Published: Monday, August 12th 2013

Nineteen of world’s Top 20 ready for battle of the titans Luchtfoto vwk

 Nineteen out of the world’s Top 20 riders will be competing at next weekend’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix as the eyes of the equestrian world turn to The Netherlands.
 
The incredibly high calibre turnout for the latest stage of the world’s premier championship series is headed up by Longines Global Champions Tour ranking leader and current world No1 Christian Ahlmann. The 38-year-old German has already won a staggering €254,455 in prize money this season after winning in Hamburg on Codex One and clocking up Grand Prix podium places in London (Taloubet Z) and Chantilly (Codex One).
 
Ahlmann’s ranking score of 189 points gives him an impressive lead over Portugal’s Luciana Diniz in 2nd place on 166 points and Laura Kraut for the USA in third on 161 points. William Funnell and Ludger Beerbaum - see our exclusive interivew with Ludger on www.globalchampionstour.com/features ) - both neck and neck on 138 points.
 
British rider and Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash is also aiming for success in Valkenswaard. Currently in 6th position on 133 points in the overall ranking Scott said: “I will have Ursula in Valkenswaard and hopefully she can put in a good performance.”
 
Christian Ahlmann said: “I am really happy with Codex. He has had a great season especially in Global Tour classes.” Christian lost out to the formidable Beezie Madden in the high powered jump off at the previous leg in Chantilly and Beezie will once again be turning up the heat in Valkenswaard where she won the Grand Prix in 2011.
 
Speaking about the event in Valkenswaard Ludger Beerbaum said it was his favourite on the circuit: “It’s a horsemanship even, great grass arena, a really great show.”
 
It promises to be a true battle of the show jumping titans for the 9th leg of the 2013 season. It is widely anticipated that the shake up of the ranking will ensure a nail biting climax across the final three events of the circuit with a frantic jostling for position in Lausanne, Vienna and finally in Doha, Qatar.
 
Once again the event in Valkenswaard will be a magnet for the best riders in the world and a host of VIP guests and thousands of spectators. All the action will be broadcast via the exclusive Longines Global Champions Tour livestreaming service on www.globalchampionstour.com/gct-live and there will be live broadcasts at the event from our special live studio at the heart of the arena in Valkenswaard.
 
Ludger Beerbaum regards Valkenswaard as his favorite event of the year

If you don't know who Ludger Beerbaum is in the sport of show jumping, well then listen in. An Olympic Gold Medal winner, Ludger Beerbaum has been ranked number one in the world by the FEI on several occasions. Overall, he has won four Olympic medals and earned victory at the European Champion six times. At 50-years-young, Ludger stands easily as the single most influential rider and trainer for German show jumping. So needless to say, he is a very welcome and very frequent feature on our tour throughout the season.

Speaking with Ludger earlier this year, before the exciting 2130 season began, the legendary German Olympian and six-time European Champion expressed that his goal was "to be as good as possible in the GCT Tour." Ludger, who earned strong results in our Grand Prix of Wiesbaden as well as our Grand Prix of Chantilly, seems to be accomplishing just that. With two fourth place finishes in both Grand Prix events this season, Ludger currently stands fifth in our 2013 season rankings.

So how does the legendary Ludger Beerbaum select his horses for each event, you might ask. "I will really take the one that is in shape at the right time. I have Zinedine, Chiara and always to replace one or the other, is Chaman. I don't really plan the whole year. I have to see a little bit how it develops."

When asked about the future of his international string, Ludger smiled and referred very proudly to his small but incredibly capable stallion Zinedine. "I think he is going to be number one horse."

We spoke a bit about Ludger's season last year on the Longines Global Champions Tour. His best result last year was "winning in Valkenswaard and third place in Estoril."

When asked about his favorite Longines Global Champions Tour event, Ludger laughed. "If I'm really honest, you're going to think I'm crazy but its Valkenswaard. Everyone likes the really posh places but I like Valkenswaard. It's a horsemanship event, great grass arena, a really great show"

Next week Ludger will join us in Valkenswaard and you can be sure he will be attempting another classic win at Stal Tops.
 
Beezie Madden exclusive as the leading lady rider reigns supreme

The Longines Global Champions Tour had the opportunity to catch up with reigning leading lady rider in the world and recent winner of our Grand Prix in Chantilly, Beezie Madden. The soft-spoken US Olympic medallist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin might be shy but her accomplishments are certainly something to boast about.

Not only does Beezie now stand as the second best ranked rider in the world, according to the Longines World rankings, she is the highest ranked female rider in the world and winner of the 2012/13 FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden. It seems that all the "hard work and dedication" has paid off and Beezie reigns surpreme both at home and abroad. Born Elizabeth Patton but now known affectionately through out the world of international show jumping as Beezie Madden, it seems that this leading lady rider has molded her career around being at the top, loving her horses and being the first to accomplish some pretty outstanding achievememts in the sport of show jumping.

In 2004, Beezie earned her first Olympic gold medal as part of the US team in Athens, Greece. Riding her famous mount Authentic, Beezie wrote herself into the history books as Team USA dominated the world stage and she became the first female rider in history to earn $1 Million in prize earnings. If one Olympic gold medal wasn't enough, Beezie came back for more, four years later at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China where Team USA once again dominated the world stage and earned their second Olympic Team Gold. Beezie went on also to earn an Olympic Bronze medal in Beijing after an amazing show down against Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Canada's Eric Lamaze. Beezie managed to earn three Olympic medals in four years, all aboard the very same horse; the amazing Authentic.

Proving once again that she belonged in the upper echelon of international sport, Beezie frequently betters most men, proving that our sport has very much moved on from the days of male domination and now, as we settle into the 21st century, international show jumping can no longer expect a sport dominated by the male ego. It seems that leading lady riders such as Beezie Madden are becoming so comfortable at the top that one cannot ignore the clear evolution occuring within our sport.

"I was in Spruce Meadows when I found out that I had taken over the number one lady rider in the world position from Edwina" says Beezie.

Following such accomplishments, many riders might slow down but Beezie is clearly determined to maintain her world domination with a great team of horses for 2013. Five years after her double Olympic victory in Beijing, Beezie has happily retired her two-time Olympic mount Authentic and welcomed a whole new team of top international talent. Winning this year's World Cup Finals aboard Simon, it is truly incredible how strong a presence Beezie is in the ring. An Olympic Gold medal winning horse himself, Simon originally won Olympic gold with the Netherland's Jeroen Dubbeldam. Now residing in Cazenovia, New York, Simon is joined by Cortes C and Coral Reef Via Volo as these three complete what Beezie calls her "best team of horses yet."

"It has alot to do with the horses. Not just the string I have to do the big classes but also the horses behind them as well. The string I have now is the best I've ever had in my career, defiantly."

Speaking with Beezie, it is clear that she takes all this pressure and expectation with a grain of salt. Happily hand-walking her talented mount Cortes C, Beezie seems to embody the belief that the horses always come first. We found Beezie at the back stables following the end of competition in Hickstead, quietly allowing her winning mount from Chantilly to graze on grass.

We asked Beezie what it would feel like to be the first American women to be ranked number one in the world. "That would be very exciting. That would be amazing but it will be hard to overtake Christian, he has the Europeans this month."

"Most of the top ten riders in the world are really close in points and that is quite unusual."

What advice would you give to all the young girls around the world who aspire to be in your position? "I think just keep working at it and try to develop your skills as best you can and develop your skills with sponsors as well. It took a lot of years, but I have some fantastic owners behind me and that enables me to get good horses. Consistency is also important. Keep performing consistently and you'll find it works out."

"I don't ever feel that gender is an issue. There are alot of great female riders in North America. I think as long as you have your basics correct, you can ride with a lot of strength even though you are a woman. Some horses don't require a lot of strength and some do."

"Cortes really makes it feel like it's so easy. Jumping him in a Grand Prix feels like you're jumping a 1.30 or 1.35 course. I just have a twisted snaffle in his mouth, he is so easy. Gregory Wathelet rode him before and he did well in Mechelen in the winter before we tried him. I loved him from the beginning, from the moment I tried him. I find he likes to left alone as much as possible to the point now where I leave the noseband lose and let him go with his mouth open a little bit and also, he doesn't like to be plaited either, he will try and scratch them out so we don't plait him."

Looking forward, what would you be happy with for the remainder of the year? "We haven't really decided our winter plan yet. We are focusing on Barcelona right now. A few of my horses will have a break after Barcelona because we'll be thinking about WEG next year so we'll want to give them some time off."

Do you often think about rankings, where you stand in each Championships or in the World standings? "I mean you like to look them up but mainly you just try to do the best you can, aim for the big classes and try to do the best you can and hope that it works out well. I'm fortunate now though, that I have such a good collection of horses that I can aim for quite a few of the big events. You don't want to chase the rankings too much or else you get crazy and you end up hurting your horses."

We will see Beezie madden next in Valkenswaard and she is excited about the exclusive event held at the amazing Stal Tops.

"It's an awesome show. We've been to Valkenswaard a lot and I think the field in fantastic. We really enjoy it. I will take Simon and Amadora. I hope to be a serious contender for the Grand Prix with Simon. He's coming off a small break, which he took after Spruce Meadows so Valkenswaard will be his first show back since Spruce Meadows."
 
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