Breitling LS has been a strong supporting player on four-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden’s string since he arrived at John Madden Sales as a seven-year-old. Now, with the recent retirement of Cortes ‘C’ and four years of international experience under his belt, the 11-year old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Abigail Wexner looks poised to take his place on center stage.

Last weekend, Beezie and Breitling LS rode to victory in the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix CSI2*, besting 48 other horses and a second round field of 10. It’s the second win of the year and a strong sign of things to come for the stallion, who will likely be called upon this summer when Beezie competes on Nations Cup teams at CHIO Aachen and Dublin.

When it comes to her bit of choice for Breitling, Beezie tends to keep things simple, opting for a pelham that helps her to maximize leverage and control in the ring. NF Style caught up with her this winter to learn more.

NF: Can you tell us about the bit you’re using for Breitling?

Beezie Madden: The bit I like right now on Breitling LS is a straight-bar steel pelham with a small port—I just recently went to one with a port. He basically has a nice mouth, but he is the type of horse who goes best in a frame, and I tend to like a pelham for that kind of horse.

How does it work? 

I think the curb rein on a pelham puts poll pressure on their head and provides more leverage to control the horse. The port gives me an even better frame and more control for moments when he might want to take over. The pelham also has a curb chain that is wrapped to make the effect of it softer. I also like to use two reins (as opposed to using a converter and one rein) on the pelham because then I can control how much I use the curb rein or the snaffle rein.

Do you use pelhams frequently with your horses? 

A pelham tends to be my go-to bit when I need more than a snaffle, because there are so many different kinds of them. I mostly use ones with smooth mouthpieces, because I think most horses resist and tend to get stronger with sharp mouthpieces. I also really don’t want to create sores in the corners of their mouths.

What about the noseband?

With Breitling, I have also added a shadow roll to his noseband so that he can’t look down at something under the jump—like a liverpool, or a panel or box that might draw his attention to the bottom of the jump rather than the top rail.

With this rig, Breitling has gotten off to a good start to the season. But as we all know, horses can change over time, so the bit that works now might need to be changed over time too.

-Photos by Erin Gilmore.