Authentic

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
(1995 – )
Owned by Abigail S. Wexner
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of Peter Llewellyn
Photo courtesy of Peter Llewellyn
Photo courtesy of Ken Braddick/USEF Archive
Photo courtesy of Helene H. Gallagher
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
As far as great U.S. Olympic horses are concerned, Authentic is definitely up at the top with an extensive resume. Authentic was the star of the team show jumping competition at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, where he jumped the first three rounds with zero faults. He had already wowed the crowds paired with the legendary Beezie Madden at the 2004 United States Equestrian Team (USET) Olympic Selection Trials with only eight accumulated faults for all six selection events.

In 2005, the Dutch warmblood gelding made history by helping the American team win the Nations Cup, and in 2006 the talented show jumper cemented his place in the history books when the members, media and the Board of Directors of the United States Equestrian Federation voted to select him as the 2006 USEF Horse of the Year.

"I probably have a biased opinion, but I think Authentic is one of the best horses in the world," Madden said at the time of the USEF Horse of the Year honor. "This award means that other people share my opinion or at least think he is the best horse in the country."

Though he'd been nominated previously, 2006 was the first year that the gelding, owned by Abigail Wexner, won the award, and incidentally, Madden was also voted the 2006 Equestrian of the Year.

During that year, at the World Equestrian Games, Authentic and Madden led the show jumping competition individually until the final round. They had a breathtaking performance with an unfortunate rail at the last fence to finish a close second and claim the individual silver medal. They were also a huge factor in the U.S. bringing home the team silver from that year's WEG. Their 2006 success didn't stop there. The dynamic duo of Authentic and Madden won two $25,000 classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, and claimed both the $43,037 RBC Financial Group Cup and the $172,146 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth Cup at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. They were on the second-placed Nations Cup team at CSIO Aachen (Germany) and the third-placed Nations Cup team at CSIO Barcelona (Spain).

"It's an unbelievable honor and privilege to have a horse like him," Madden shared. "Not only is he a top-class athlete, but he also has a great personality, and he seems to enjoy his life."

Madden may be biased, but former U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe George Morris does not give compliments unless they are warranted. He has only good things to say about Authentic and his rider.

"Authentic's record is enviable," Morris commented. "He's always been a quality horse, and it's a great partnership. I'm personally rather connected to the horse, having ridden him quite a bit, but nothing like John [Madden] and Beezie, of course. He's also a very attractive, appealing horse. That doesn't replace the performance, but it helps."

Since his recognition by USEF in 2006, Authentic has seen continued success, winning the Budweiser American Invitational in both 2006 and 2007 and winning the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen in 2007.

In 2008, Authentic and Madden once again played a vital role on the U.S. Olympic team, helping to lead the team to the show jumping gold medal and earning an individual bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. During that year the duo also won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup and the $200,000 CN Worldwide Grand Prix.

In 2009, Authentic won the $25,000 Husky Energy Cup at Spruce Meadows and went on to place second in the prestigious $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup, also at Spruce Meadows.

Although campaigning for the 2012 Olympics was considered briefly, the Maddens and owner Wexner chose to retire the decorated jumper in 2009. The owner of two team golds from Athens and Beijing and an individual bronze from Beijing is enjoying a well deserved retirement to the fullest, at the Maddens' farm in Cazenovia, New York, alongside his best bud, Greenpeace, where they both peacefully and playfully enjoy authentic meadows of green grass.