by Genie Stewart-Spears
Larry and Valerie Kanavy, of Fort Valley, Virginia, are mourning the loss of their 1998 World Champion endurance horse, 28-year-old High Winds Jedi (Tut El Sakkara x RAF Silver Sonnet) who died on October 29. Valerie Kanavy had just returned from earning the individual Bronze Medal at the Pan American Endurance Championship to find her beloved World Champion gelding breathing his final breaths.
Jedi competed in many top AERC and FEI endurance competitions between the years of 1994-2000. Of his 58 starts in AERC competitions, he won 20 and earned 10 Best Condition awards. Valerie said her most thrilling ride of a lifetime was when she and Jedi won the 1998 World Championship in Dubai. This ride is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest international equine event ever held.
“It was tremendously satisfying because it had the largest representation of competitors that was or ever has been from throughout the world,” she said. “There were 50-some countries and nearly 180 starters. To be able to compete with such caliber and numbers of competitors was a real thrill.”
Kanavy acquired Jedi when he was 14 years old, after he had had a short career as a racehorse, been schooled in dressage, and then raced in endurance. About Jedi, who once appeared on “The Today Show with Katie Couric,” Kanavy says, “His earlier training in dressage taught him balance and flexibility. As a result he was so responsive, so push-button easy to ride...."
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