On February 7, 2003 GiGi Hanover and Bernardo Vergara (the owners of Verhan Saddles), Cork Corkran (authorized Verhan dealer and saddle fitter) and I were having breakfast at Hillary’s Restaurant in Royal Palm Beach. GiGi and Bernardo had just watched Valiant and me schooling at my farm. GiGi thought it would be great if other people could see Valiant as well so she asked if we wanted to go to Miami to the finals of the World Cup. I told her that would really be nice but we didn’t qualify. She laughed and said she was sure Pelle Wedenmark, the show president, would be delighted to have us do the exhibition ride just before the main competition. I thought a minute and said it sounded great but I would only have two weeks to prepare a musical freestyle ride. Impossible, right? Wrong.
Again, I don’t know how we did it, but we did, with a lot of help from our friends. I knew if I ever did a freestyle with Valiant, the music that fit him was the music to Camelot which happens to be my all time favorite music as well. I had the CD so I just had to arrange, edit, mix, compose Valiant’s movements and practice the final arrangement so we were comfortable. Where do we start? With our friend Tom Mikes of course. Tom, taking time off his regular job of being a founder of a high tech company and also an engineer, stepped up and took charge of our project. I figured if he engineered high tech stuff he could engineer our recording stuff as well. Well, he could and did. I had some background in recording so we collaborated. Cork Corkran was there to set up the audio equipment, hit the on, off and rewind buttons and we were set. On February 23 2003, we were off to Miami and the World Cup. Needless to say, the performance was yet another memorable experience for Valiant and me. It was like we were flowing with the current and having a great time.
Simultaneously another exciting event was going to happen. The Today Show was to film a segment on Valiant’s story. Along with the interview by Christy Turlington, we were to be filmed at the Dressage At Equestrian Estates competition in White Fences on March 28. The producer of The Today Show said if war broke out in Iraq we would have to reschedule. It did, so she is currently rescheduling dates.
Yet another surprise happened. One month ago the United States Equestrian Team phoned and asked Valiant to participate in The Festival of Champions in Gladstone on June 19-22, 2003. I was not too sure I heard the request correctly so I asked Mr. Jim Wolf to repeat it. He did and I did hear him correctly. Excited? Just a little! It is such an incredible honor to be invited to perform there and we are enthusiastically preparing daily for our upcoming trip. Thank you.
Things keep unfolding for Valiant and his story. We are not sure where we’re headed but we’re sure enjoying the ride.
In order to bring this story of trust, hope and courage to others, Valiant and Jeanette will be starting a vocation of performances at select equestrian functions in order to benefit
THE VALIANT TRUST.