The United States has lost its most dominant international competitition horse of this century. The owner, vets and rider of three-day-event horse Winsome Adante have collectively made the difficult decision to retire him due to soundness issues in a hind leg.
The horse's illustrious career includes three victories at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, a Team gold medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games, Team bronze and Individual silver medals at the 2004 Olympics, a third place finish at the Badminton CCI**** in 2007, wins at the 2000 Radnor CCI** and the 2001 Blenheim CCI*** and countless horse trials victories.
Owned by Linda Wachtmeister of Plain Dealing Farm in Virginia and ridden by Kim Severson, ?Dan' and Kim won the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** every time they contested it, both in the traditional format (with roads and tracks and steeplechase) and the new short format. Victories in 2002, 2004 and 2005 proved that Dan was invincible at the Lexington, Kentucky event and he was also the US Eventing Association's Horse of the Year following each of his Rolex victories.
"It was a hard decision but it was also an easy decision," said Wachtmeister. "He had been in a stall for a long time because of a previous injury and he wouldn't have been ready for the Olympics. He needed to go out in the field and live the rest of his life. We had always hoped he would go to the Olympics again but I'm so proud of what he has accomplished. I never dreamed that my family would get to go to the Olympics because of him."
The 14-year-old English Thoroughbred sustained an injury to a hind suspensory ligament and Severson and Wachtmeister determined that after all he has given them the best thing for Dan would be to let him live in the field at Plain Dealing Farm in Scottsville, Virginia.
"He's been so sound and done so much for us," said Severson. "It was a difficult decision but we don't want to hurt him and he's happy now living out in the field."
Thanks to Joanie Morris of the US Equestrian Federation for her help with this post and congratulations to the horse's team for a conservative decision that will not put the horse at risk for further injury by forcing him to compete next year to qualify for the Olympics. He leaves some very big shoes to fill and the USA loses Kim Severson's valuable experience at the top of international sport. Hopefully her new horses will keep her at the top of the sport.