Show Jumping Superstar Authentic Named 2006 Horse of the Year

At the final social event of the 2007 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky., the much-anticipated Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year Awards celebrated the equestrian world's hardest working athletes--the horses--from across the spectrum of horse sport, presenting each of them with their moment to shine. From Andalusian horse to Welsh pony exhibitors, driving to vaulting, members of the Federation took their turns at making their way through the large ballroom at the historic Seelbach Hotel to come forward and be applauded by their peers. And one special horse was singled out as the overall star of American equestrian sport for 2006.

Authentic, the show jumping superstar owned by Abigail Wexner and ridden across the world by Beezie Madden, beat out four other worthy opponents for the prize sponsored by Farnam. Their generous sponsorship of the program presents the annual award. Chris Jacobi, president of the horse products division, was in attendance and made the presentation.

The crowd stood to its feet with a lengthy and well-deserved ovation after Authentic was named the winner.

Madden, who only one night earlier had been named the 2006 USEF Equestrian of the Year, was visibly moved and spoke eloquently about the horse that has become synonymous with her own career.

"He has touched the lives of so many people," said Madden.

In addition, Madden spoke from the heart about the star 11-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood gelding's overall career development and the path he took to the duo's association, which has culminated with their double-Silver medals at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games.

While Authentic took top honors, there were four other horses in the running for the highest honor presented to a horse competing in USEF-licensed horse shows. Among the other nominees were: Half-Andalusian Selwood Park Deneuve owned by Wisconsin's Gareth Selwood; Saddlebred CH Callaway's Copyright owned by Virginia's Fox Grape Farm; the Westphalian gelding dressage star Floriano owned by Laurelyn and Stephen Browning; and the reining world's Mister Nicadual, an American Quarter horse owned by Jerry Kimmel. The decision is based on votes cast by members of the USEF, media and the USEF Board of Directors.

Thousands of horse owners and members of the USEF competed throughout 2006 to amass points at the region, zone and national level in the Horse of the Year--or HOTY--program. The USEF acknowledged nearly 6,000 winners in 2006 from nearly 200 divisions across all of the various breeds and disciplines that are under the Federation's umbrella.

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