Winsome Adante

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
(1993 – )
Owned by Linda Wachtmeister & Plain Dealing Farm
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of USEF Archive
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
The Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event stands alone as America's greatest test of three-day eventers' courage, endurance, and heart. Winsome Adante has forever staked his claim on Rolex history, rolling to an unprecedented "“ and as yet unmatched "“ record of three wins at America's only four-star event.

The brilliant eventing horse owned by Linda Wachtmeister of Plain Dealing Farm and piloted by Kim Severson, relished the challenge of Rolex's cross-country course and never faltered as he cruised to victory in each of his three attempts. And the consistency "Dan" showed at Rolex became the hallmark of his career, as he racked up strong placings at the world's top events while rarely finishing out of the top three.

"You could count on him every single time," said Severson. "That's what's so amazing about him "“ the 100 percent consistency. He was the same horse every day, no matter what."

Dan was the three-time United States Eventing Association (USEA) Horse of the Year, topping the list of point-earners in USEA, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and United States Equestrian Federation competitions. His career points earned total 1,355, making him the highest scoring horse in the history of eventing in the United States. He was the Chronicle Horse of the Year in 2004 and earned recognition as a Horse of Honor in 2005 by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). Along with his Rolex titles, he holds an Olympic Games silver medal (individual) and bronze medal (team), along with a team gold medal from the World Equestrian Games.That same year, he was immortalized when the Breyer Horses model horse company added him to the USET Foundation Breyer model horse series.

Yet despite all his accomplishments and awards, Dan didn't have the appearance of a highly successful event horse. "He wasn't a horse you would buy off his conformation," Severson noted. "He's low in front, toes in severely, has huge splints "“ it would lead you to believe he wouldn't stay sound." But Dan didn't seem affected by his less-than-ideal conformation. He stayed consistently sound, and he excelled in the dressage phase despite having to work harder than most to carry himself correctly.

Dan's close connection with Severson was an essential element of their success. "We had good communication between the two of us," Severson explained. "We knew each other's thoughts, we knew what was going to happen. I always knew what he was going to do."

Dan began his career on a high note with a win in his first three-day event, the Radnor Hunt CCI**. Once he'd tasted victory, he never looked back, quickly establishing himself as a top competitor. In 2001, he collected a win in England's prestigious Blenheim CCI***. 2002 saw him taking the North Georgia CIC*** and then heading to Kentucky for his first try at the four-star level. After coasting through the arduous Rolex cross-country course to finish with one of only four rounds within the optimum time, Dan held on to claim the win, showing that he could defeat the best eventers of his time. He then represented the United States at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, where he finished sixth to secure a team gold medal.

Setbacks for both Dan and Severson in 2003 put their future into question. Dan underwent colic surgery, while Severson broke her leg. Fortunately, both horse and rider recovered and faced the 2004 season with renewed vigor. They took second at the North Georgia CIC*** and picked up their second Rolex victory, a result that was especially sweet after the challenges the pair had overcome the year before. When they arrived in Athens for the Olympic Games, Dan truly shone, leading the way to a U.S. team bronze while claiming the silver medal in individual competition.

At Rolex Kentucky in 2005, no one could touch Dan. The two-time champion treated his third Rolex as a coronation ceremony. After dressage, he stood nearly eight points ahead of his closest competitors; by the time he'd breezed through faultless cross-country and show jumping rounds, he'd extended his lead to an unheard-of 17 points.

A team fourth place finish at the World Equestrian Games in 2006, a win at The Fork CIC*** in 2007, and an impressive third place finish at the 2007 Badminton Horse Trials CCI**** highlighted Dan's final two years of competition. After an injury prompted his retirement late in 2007, Dan appeared in a formal retirement ceremony at Rolex Kentucky in 2008. The venue could not have been more fitting for a celebration of the horse whose greatest triumphs came at the iconic American competition.

Asked which occasion is most memorable for her, Wachtmeister says, "All the Rolex's and the WEG are special, but the Olympics are truly amazing. I remember at the Olympics he stood perfectly still, even with so much going on. I was very proud of him."

She continues, "Dan is very composed. He has that air about him. He knows when he has a job to do. Nobody ever thought he was going to be what he turned into. He's one of those horses that just kept going and doing the same thing, and doing it well. His career speaks for itself" . And, what a career it was.