It doesn’t seem right. A Spruce Meadows tournament without Beezie Madden.
That’s like Canada Day festivities without fireworks.
Or a World Cup match without ‘nil’ in one of the scoreboxes.
There were years when it seemed Madden — The Beezie Rider — was the only rider on the International Ring turf. At least, she seemed like the only won who won.
Show-jumping fans won’t be hearing her name during the North American, which began Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
Madden, who is No. 2 on the Spruce Meadows all-time winnings list with $2.5 million in earnings, headed out for Germany Wednesday.
She’s opted to skip this year’s North American tournament in anticipation of the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen.
“It’s a shame they go on almost at the same time,” said Madden a few hours before departing.
“We struggle with (which event to attend) all the time. Sometimes, Aachen goes at a different time. This event is normally first.
“I’ve missed the North American a few times. Not often.”
This year is a last-minute decision. Madden, whose longtime star mount Judgement retired after last year, is awaiting Authentic’s return from a leg injury. Madden doesn’t have the horsepower of years past at her disposal.
Danny Boy, which would be her top horse now, is out of action due to a virus.
Therefore, she opted to ship Coral Reef Via Volo to
Germany instead of competing with the Belgian Warmblood mare at Spruce Meadows this week.
“The original plan was for her to stay here to do this, and then ship her to Aachen,” Madden said. “But with Danny Boy being sick, I needed to get her there in time.”
Another horse, Mademoiselle, is awaiting their arrival.
Mademoiselle is long-listed for the World Equestrian Games team.
Then again, Via Volo and Madden were a fantastic tandem over the past few weeks.
This past weekend, they combined to claim the RBC Cup Saturday and the $65,000 Esso Challenge Sunday during the Canada One tournament.
“I’m ecstatic with how that horse did here,” Madden said.
“She was good in the International Ring in the first week (the National), too. For having only that horse and Primo (an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare) in the International division, I had a good circuit.”
There have been years when Madden has ridden two horses in seemingly every International Ring event. But she’s going through the challenge of rebuilding a stable.
“I’ve been able to really concentrate on those two horses and they’ve been able to step up to the plate, so you can see it in a positive,” she said.
“It’s been harder with a group in Europe and a group here because it really spreads it out.”
Soon enough, Madden will be back competing at Spruce Meadows. And it looks like she’ll again be a regular participant in the victory rides.
“Mademoiselle and Vio Volo have been great so far.
I have a couple of other horses who look great, but they’re only seven years old,” she said. “It’s going to take a bit of time.”