This part of the vacation was always going to get its very own post. This adventure was the whole reason I got fired up and wanted to go to Florida in the first place, even if it did take me years to pull it together and make it happen.
I wanted to visit Sylvia Zerbini’s farm. Have you heard of her? No? Perhaps “Cavalia” rings a bell? Not that either? Well here you go, take 12 and half minutes to learn, you will not be sorry, even if you are not a “horse person”.
That’s Sylvia. There in the center of all those horses performing at liberty, on stage. Hubby and I saw Cavalia here in Charlotte in 2010. Before that I had never seen or heard of Sylvia but the moment I saw her work her magic, I was instantly hooked.
We followed the show to Atlanta to see a second version of the show called “Odysseo”. To my disappointment Sylvia was not in that one, an equally skilled woman by the name of Elise Verdoncq was the liberty act. She was good, but Sylvia had that magic that called to me, made that much stronger by her being the first person I ever saw to perform with horses this way.
No longer knowing what part Sylvia had in Cavalia and the fact that the show had moved out of the US, I started to search for Sylvia in other places. She had an internet presence, performed at various events such as Breyerfest and Equine Affaire but most importantly over the Winter months she returned to her farm in Florida and put on shows in her own theater starring the horses, herself and other acrobatic artists. When I learned this, I knew I had a visit to the sunshine state sometime in my future.
2019 was the year! We’d checked the internet schedule, found a weekend she had a show, booked our AirBnB and made our arrangements to head South. We were SUPER excited! We found some other fun things to do, to make it a vacation but most importantly we were going to see SYLVIA.
UUNTIL…..A few weeks prior to our departure I got a message from my friend informing me Sylvia was not going to be in Florida the week we were there. WHAT?!?!?!? How could that be? I’d checked the schedule? This was the whole point of the trip? I was crushed.
So I reached out to the office. “Is it true? But your website says? Our house is non-refundable? I’m so sad!”
“Let me check” was the response.
I didn’t hear anything back for about a week and slowly started to wrap my head around the fact that we might not be seeing the show while we were in Florida. We would just have to find our fun in other ways.
UNTIL…I got an email saying: Sylvia will be giving a training demo that day.
I didn’t know what that meant, but I didn’t care. She obviously was going to be in town, there had clearly been some kind of a mix up and we were going and we were seeing Sylvia.
Now fast forward to our arrival on Grande Liberte Farms. There were about 10 of us there and she started her demo with a tour of her barn and an introduction to her horses. I loved listening to her talk about her horses. Her affection and appreciation for each and every one of them was evident as she gave us the history of how she got each of them.
As she was going through the horses she asked “Now who was it that booked a hotel and planned to come to the show?” I confessed! She then explained that she wasn’t supposed to be there that weekend. That there had been a mix up with the calendar and she had changed her plans so she could be there for us. WHAT?!?!?!?! I had no idea. I hadn’t meant for her to rearrange, no one had told me that. I was so so so grateful that she did though.
After the introductions we went into the performance area where Sylvia showed us moves from the shows, talked us through what she was thinking, explained her training philosophies and why she did what she did. It was PHENOMENAL and hands down my favorite part of the vacation. What an amazing person she is. The relationship she has with her horses and the things she is able to do with them is truly beautiful.