John Winnett (1928-2007)

Memorial Service to be Held Sunday, October 14, in Wellington, Florida


His family and the dressage community will miss Olympian John Winnett, 79, who passed away peacefully after a brief illness in Wellington, Florida, on October 5, 2007.Born in Los Angeles in 1928,

Winnett spent much of his youth in Europe where he began his equestrian education. In 1945, he was the Junior National Champion of France in show jumping. He studied dressage in the 1960s and ‘70s with Fritz Steken, Dr. Reiner Klimke and Herbert Rehbein. Winnett retired from his job as a stockbroker in 1970 to devote himself to riding and training dressage horses full time. He represented the United States in many international competitions from 1945 until 1990 when he retired from competition. During that time, he captained the U.S. Equestrian dressage team at the Olympic Games in 1972 and 1980 and was reserve rider in 1976.

Photo: gordonmunro.com

During that time, he captained the U.S. Equestrian dressage team at the Olympic Games in 1972 and 1980 and was reserve rider in 1976, where he trained with Col. Bengt Lunquist, who was quoted arefering to Winnett as a "true gentleman".

He and his wife, Roanne Denny, settled in Wellington, Florida in 1996 where they taught students and trained horses to Grand Prix.

Winnett was a staunch classical horseman, following the methods of French riding master François de la Guérinière. He authored the book Dressage as Art in Competition, first published by J.A. Allen in 1993. The Lyons Press released a second edition in 2002.


In his later years, he warned against the allure of ribbons and awards at the expense of good training, and he advocated the establishment of a national training center for the benefit of riders and horses and as the way to gain success in international competition.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Sarah Winnett, his son, John Winnett III and his half sister, Irene Barralet. A memorial service will take place at Blue Marlin Farms, 11739 Acme Road, Wellington, Florida 33414 (in Little Ranches) on Sunday, October 14 at 1p.m.




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