Callie Schott, who works for John and Beezie Madden at their John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, N.Y., has let Chronicle readers have a behind-the-scenes look at the Breeder's Bridge to High Performance contest . Her series concludes as the second mare chosen for the contest, Constant Star, finishes her time at John Madden Sales.
We’ve just sent Constant Star back to Maryland, as her three months with us have come to a close, marking the end of the John Madden Sales Breeder’s Bridge to High Performance contest. As with Welcome BF, it was sad to see her leave, but I am confident I will see her again down the road as she starts her show career.
When I look back on the contest, I feel proud of what we accomplished with these mares in a short period of time. I do hope that the contest has a bigger effect than just the careers of two horses, however. I hope that by John and Beezie taking the time, effort and money to open their farm to two North American-bred horses, it encourages other trainers and riders to do the same. We have good horses here in North America.
We have breeders, like Branscomb Farm, who are producing equine athletes as good if not better than those in Europe. We have amazingly athletic Thoroughbreds looking for careers outside of racing and many of them can find great jobs in the jumper ring. Look at Hillary Simpson’s Arkansas winning a grand prix  last week in North Carolina. For a rider or trainer on any budget, with any dream, we have horses here in North America that should be considered just as seriously as the European horses. The critical step is to cultivate connections between breeders and riders ready and able to work with the breeders to bring along young talented horses.
As for “Star,” it was great having her with us for these three months. Her precise personality made her fun to work with and kept me on my toes. Star has very exact opinions on what she likes (jumping, turn out for a precise amount of time, dinner) and what she doesn’t like (not being the first one to get turned out and grooming). When she first came, she preferred to have the arena to herself and would throw an occasional buck at me if she felt particularly pleased with herself. She always came out willing to work and loved having a job.
When I look back at the videos of Star from when she first came to the last video we took, I am impressed with her development. She is a horse that naturally keeps herself very fit, so while fitness was not a major concern with her, her muscle development and top line did change quite a bit. Physically, she matured, adding strength especially through her back and hindquarters. This was the natural byproduct of a consistent schedule that included work over varied terrain and a solid flatwork routine.
See Callie's last ride on Star...
While Star is a naturally careful mare, she does have a tendency to get quick. John and Beezie had us spend time on gymnastics that helped her keep a rhythm and also had a positive effect on the shape of her jump. Being quite athletic, she could often save herself from hitting a jump without having absolutely correct form over the smaller jumps. Encouraging a round jump from her solidified that she will continue to avoid the rails as the jumps get higher and out of her natural comfort zone.
Thank you to everyone who followed this contest and these two fabulous North American bred mares. All of us at John Madden Sales, Inc wish Welcome and Star the best of luck and will be watching them closely.