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Who is Valerie Kanavy?


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Valerie Kanavy is two-time endurance world champion from USA.

Kanavy began competitive endurance riding in 1972 after reading an article about the Tevis Cup in California. Since then, she’s ridden to the top echelon of her field.

At the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games in The Netherlands, Kanavy earned the Individual Gold and Best Conditioned Award. In 1996, Kanavy opted not to defend her World Championship title. She instead handed over the reins of her World Championship mount to her daughter, Danielle.

Kanavy won the 1998 World Endurance Championship in the United Arab Emirates with a thrilling gallop to the finish.

Kanavy also has six International Arabian Horse Association (now the Arabian Horse Association) 100-mile championships and four 100-mile reserve championships to her credit, among numerous other victories and honors.

She was the American Horse Shows Association (now the United States Equestrian Federation) Horseman of the Year in 1999 and has served as the U.S. Endurance Team’s chef d’equipe for World Equestrian Games competition.

Kanavy was inducted into the American Endurance Ride Conference’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

Photo The United States Equestrian Team Foundation

In the age of 73 years old, Valerie Kanavy continues to participate in Endurance rides in the USA and overseas.

In addition to being a top competitor, Kanavy gives back to her sport through organizing and managing competitive rides. She has attracted riders from the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Europe, as well as the best from the U.S. and Canada.

In 2017, she participated in Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup CEN 119 on 18 March 2017. Ms. Kanavy finished in 103th position with average speed of 16.9 km/h. She rode on horse SOLSTICE (104QL84).

Horse 105AD14 – SAY GOLD owned by Valerie Kanavy was participating in Dubai CEI3* 160 km on 4 January 2019 with another rider.

Valerie Kanavy is selling her horses to G7 countries.
For example:
103UM69 – STRIKE GOLD was sold in 2016
104EW77 – GOLD MIST was sold in 2016
104ZP56 – EVER GOLD was sold in 2017
105GE13 – FIREMAN GOLD was sold in 2019

Photo FEI

Valerie Kanavy provided details of a proposed innovative completion percentage system, based on capped speeds for qualification up through the ranks from CEI 1* to Championships. This pyramid system would allow free speed only for those with a completion rate of 66% or over.

“You ride smart, you take care of your horse, you have successful completions, the faster you can go”, she said. “We’ve brought horsemanship and successful completion percentages back into the qualification process. Ride smart, ride safe, you can get to the top.”

The proposal met with mixed views and resulted in extensive debate amongst delegates and the panel.

Suggestions/comments received from the floor:
– Currently there are insufficient CEIs that would allow a horse to go up the ladder in order to achieve free speed. This is too demanding for a horse.
– The Level 1 requirement is too hard to achieve.
– For small countries this process can be too long.

Valerie Kanavy is one of the most acclaimed endurance riders in the world due to her outstanding achievements in the sport.
But the proposed changes in the qualification system are very hard to achieve for horses, very expensive to accomplish for riders, very long to complete for small countries with an insufficient number of FEI rides.
Could such a radical proposal be the ultimate rule?