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Kanavy Wins 50 & 100-Mile Arabian Horse Endurance Championships

Valerie Kanavy couldn't have mapped out a better weekend. On Thursday, October 23, 2003, she captured the 100-mile Arabian Horse Association National Championship Endurance Ride in Henryville, Indiana with Shahdon, last year's reserve champion and picked up a $6,250 payout from Breeders Sweepstakes. Two days later she won the 50-mile ride with Emphatic. Both horses took best condition awards.

Behind the scenes, things didn't go quite so smoothly for Kanavy. In September Emphatic, who is long listed for the U.S. Endurance Team after placing eight in the World Cup in Dubai last March, trotted out lame at the second gate of the Pan American Games. "He didn't stay lame long enough for us to figure out went wrong," says Kanavy, of Fort Valley, Virginia. "So my goal was to ride him hard enough to either antagonize the problem so we could get it diagnosed, or make him tougher."

Fortunately no problem surfaced, and Kanavy finished the ride in 4:06:01, a split second in front of reserve champions Edward Kidd and CKP Seger, aka Merlin.

"The sprint at the end was as hairy as it gets because the road is gravel," says Kidd, a Nashville, Tennessee resident. "Merlin and I were just a horse length behind Valerie, but I had to back off because we were getting pounded so hard by the stones."

Unlike Emphatic, Kanavy's 100-mile horse, Shahdon, who competed in Spain in 2002 with the U.S. Endurance Team, was at his peak. The 11-year-old chestnut gelding had placed fifth a month ago at the European Championships just minutes behind the top horses, cinching a berth on this year's team.

"Since last year he has matured," says Kanavy of the ex-racehorse. "He is highly competitive and used to waste energy wanting to be first, but now he has learned to conserve his energy."

Kanavy finished in a time of 9:56, 34 minutes ahead of reserve champions Lois McAfee and LM Khemosabi. McAfee was very pleased with their placing. Her strategy was to keep a steady pace and finish in the top ten. "I didn't try to stay with Val, and I never pushed on any loop," says McAfee. "So I accomplished even more than I set out to do."

Junior Rider Joni Buttram, a 9-year-old from Hillsboro, Alabama, riding Fantastiq Love in the 100-mile Arabian division, received a jacket from Region 11 and a silver "International Award" trophy.

The 50-Mile Half-Arabian Champion, the 8-year-old Half-Saddlebred mare Jamila Khalil, was bred and raised by Kara Disbrow, of Corryton, Tennessee. This was Disbrow's first AHA national ride, and initially she thought, "an extra $75 was a lot for a T-shirt, but after winning the beautiful trophy, Turtle Neck blanket, plaque and ribbon, I wondered how I was going to fit everything in my trailer."

Reserve champion Earle Baxter, of Millbank, rode 10-year-old CH Gretzky, a Half-Standardbred gelding, to the AERC National Heavyweight Champion several years ago. "My strategy on this ride was just to complete, so I was thrilled to take reserve," says Baxter.

"He's the 'Terminator horse,' " says Holly Fleming about Rome Dome, an 11-year-old gray Anglo-Arabian who won the 100-Mile Half-Arabian Endurance Championship. Although it was only Fleming's second 100 miler, she buddied up with a highly seasoned veteran and her favorite riding companion, her mom, Myra Fleming. Myra, who was just shy of 10,000 competitive miles, was third in the Arabian division with FlyLikeTheWind. The mother-daughter duo trotted at a steady 10 miles per hour and finished together with relatively fresh horses.

Close on Fleming's heels was Baxter and CH Cruise Control, a full brother to CH Gretsky. Baxter bred and raised the pair. Asked about his back-to-back successes, Baxter says humbly, "I got lucky. My boys did a super job."

From first timers to an AERC Hall of Famer, the ride drew 16 competitors in the 100-mile ride and 14 in the 50-mile ride and paid out $11,606 to eligible Breeders Sweepstakes horses. Kanavy's sentiments echoed those of most riders: "The organizing committee did a heck of a job, we were blessed with super weather and the prizes were beautiful."

Thanks go to ride manager and secretary Robert McAfee, ride steward Carolyn Loedeman and ride veterinarians Mike Habel and Duane Barnett.

The ride sponsors were Paint Rock Designs, Arabian Saddle Company, Mobile Milling Services, Equisure, Will-O-Bar Arabians, Elite Sport Horse International, Indiana Arabian Distance Program, Jacki Marsh, Barbara Bailey and AHA Regions 3, 8, 10, and 13. Paint Rock Designs donated a “Turtle Neck” blanket to the champion and a Horse Sheet to the reserve champion, top ten and best condition. Mobile Milling provided Mobility, a hoof and joint supplement, All Natural Electrolyte and Healing Tree Products, Inc as completion awards. The Arabian Saddle Company donated an endurance saddle to a ride drawing that was won by Cheryl Fenton.

Next year's ride will be held in Spruce Woods Park in Glenboro, Manitoba, Canada on July 30 and August 2.

100-Mile Championships


$Champion & Best Condition: $Shahdon (Tyx+ x Shaheda Saba), Valerie Kanavy, Fort Valley, VA

Reserve Champion: $LM Khemosabi (Kharramba+/ x Fayeks Fatima), Lois McAfee, Memphis, IN

Top Ten: $FlyLikeTheWind (Count Galagor+ x Wild Win), Myra Fleming, Ortonville, MI; Ramegwa Sharli (MI-Nabasque x Nonsuch Dakila), owned by Margaret Price and ridden by Sue Greenell, Post Falls, ID, $Huckleberry Moon (Desperado V x Aerial Moondanse), Jim Winburn, Morriston, FL; SF Mon Fiire (Mon Fortchin x FM Sunn-Flower), Denise Culberson, Modoc, IN

Completion: Tspark, Sue Keith, Floyds Knobs, IN; Aaristocat, Deborah Strand, Wellesley, ON; SH Kais, Julie A Powell, Mansfield, OH; Fantastiq Love, Joni Buttram, Hillsboro, AL


Champion: $Rome Dome (Sir WM Tryczamt+ x Upper Rome), Holly Fleming, Ortonville, MI

Reserve & Best Condition: $CH Cruise Control (Middlemarch x Barbs Hope), Earle Baxter, Millbank, ON

Completion: Dash-of-Premeer, Julie Phair, Paisley, ON; Fancy Savage Nite+, Jinnifer Plummer, Martinsville, IN

50-Mile Championships


Champion & Best Condition: Emphatic (Statistic x Eventyra), Valerie Kanavy, Fort Valley, VA

Reserve: CKP Seger (MHR Sabre K x Foxviews Carmalot B), Edward Kidd, Nashville, TN

Top Ten: Zaubaa Saif (Namr W x Summer Primrose), Nelia Rueter, Lenoir City, TN; Sanegors Secret+ (Simeon Sanegor x Secret Wish), Cheryl Fenton, Alexandria, OH; Promisme Fortchin (Mon Fortchin x Maamika), Denise Culberson, Modoc, IN; Akkhim (Akkhir x MC Ra Mouna), Julie A Powell, Mansfield, OH; Phantoms Rival (Mabrouks Barakat x Misteyna), Robert Plummer, Martinsville, IN; Hub Habibi (Nigee x E-Fahara), Sandra Page, Bordon, IN

Completion: Blacks Mistake, Jenni Rich, Holly Springs, MS; Artymusco, Debra Leader, Mount Gilead, OH; A Flashback+, Dennis Leader, Mount Gilead, OH


Champion & Best Condition: Jamila Khalil (Wind Fortune x Amarettas Genius), Kara Disbrow, Corryton, TN

Reserve: CH Gretzky (Middlemarch x Barbs Hope), Earle Baxter, Millbank, ON

$-Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Winners

AHA is a 40,000 member equine association that registers and maintains a database of more then one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses. It administers more than $4 million in annual prize money, produces national events, maintains official event records, recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides activities and programs that promote breeding and ownership. For information about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail or visit


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