Saturday night marked the final social event of the United States Equestrian Federation’s annual meeting and the announcement of the Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year in Louisville, Ky.
A lengthy standing ovation erupted when Chris Jacobi, president of Farnam’s Horse Products Division, declared Authentic as the winner.
“Authentic epitomizes the courageous spirit and dedication so necessary in the show jumping discipline,” Jacobi said. “It is this dedication and exceptional talent for which this award was established.”
Beezie Madden, who rode the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding in international competition, was visibly moved.
“I’m happy people voted for Authentic because he is so special to me,” Madden said. “He has touched the lives of so many people.”
One night earlier, Madden had been named the 2006 USEF Equestrian of the Year. Together, the pair has had whirlwind success with an amazing medals haul. It began in 2004 when Authentic and Madden wowed crowds at the USEF Olympic Selection Trials and proceeded to star for team USA in the show jumping competiton at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, and culminated in 2006 at the FEI World Equestrian Games when they took home the individual silver medal and contributed to the team silver.
Authentic, owned by Abigail Wexner, was selected by the votes of the USEF Board of Directors, members and media. In addition to prestige, a 39-inch bronze sculpture will be on permanent display at the USEF headquarters in Kentucky. A bronze replica was presented to the owner and the four finalists received crystal trophies.
For more information about the Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year program, visit www.usef.org.