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Connecticut Morgan Hall Of Fame Induction

Tedwin Taurean and Helen Michaud


WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Connecticut Morgan Hall of Fame welcomed its 21st member on Friday, June 8, 2007. The grand stallion Tedwin Taurean joined the elite group in a ceremony held during Friday evening's championship session.


Tedwin Taurean and owner Helen Michaud put on a crowd-pleasing show under saddle followed by a presentation of honors directed by trainer Jean DeGutis. Former trainer Rick Stevens then led Taurean around the ring with Michaud aboard her beloved stallion bareback to the delight of his legion of fans. Tedwin Taurean, Helen Michaud and everyone at Janbark Farm joined together for this memorable performance as well as a party in honor of Taurean at the conclusion of Friday night's classes.


The following speech was read during the induction ceremony:


Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we honor an elder statesman of the Morgan breed, a Connecticut-bred world champion and a horse who possesses a direct connection to the hearts of many in the audience tonight. Please welcome Helen Michaud and her 27-year-old Morgan stallion Tedwin Taurean as he is inducted into Connecticut Morgan’s Hall Of Fame.


“To consider the life of Tedwin Taurean, let’s start with his breeder. One of the things that makes this induction so appropriate is that this great horse was bred in Rocky Hill, Conn., at the farm of John Paluga and Ted Young. All of us who love the Morgan Horse should stop and consider this. In the many years Tedwin bred Morgan Horses they bred only a total of 60 foals. That is a small number which made a huge impact, giving the breed such greats as Tedwin Topic, Tedwin In Tempo, Tedwin Tango, Tedwin Top This, Tedwin Touch Of Class, Tedwin Themesong and the champion who has brought us all together tonight, Tedwin Taurean, a son of Tedwin Topic out of the Gay Dancer daughter Spenmay Gay Society.  We wish John Paluga could be here to join us tonight but he sends his best wishes from his home in Florida.


“When Taurean was two he was purchased by Thelma King who put him in training with her son, Mike Tunstall. Under their direction Taurean proved what his future held, being named Reserve World Champion Four-Year-Old Park Harness in 1984. As a result of this win Taurean came to the attention of trainer John Bennett whose client Wendy Lowring was searching for an amateur park harness horse. They made a trip to Virginia where they made the decision to purchase him and bring him back to Connecticut. John remembers it was his “cocky attitude” that really sold them on the horse. Wendy got to show him later that season and loved every minute of it. But fate threw the team a twist. Wendy became ill and couldn’t pursue her goals with Taurean. When she was unable to come to the barn John started riding Taurean and he ‘took to it like a champion,’ John recalls. He made his debut at New England where he pinned second in a big novice class. Then he went to Mass Morgan where he was named Grand Champion Stallion and Park Saddle Reserve Champion. John recalls judge Paul Steffen approaching him afterwards and stating: ‘I liked him in hand, but this is going to be an incredible saddle horse.’ Tedwin Taurean would go on to live up to Judge Steffen’s words. We would like to say thank you to John Bennett who has joined Taurean and his family in the ring tonight.


“His talent under saddle caught the eye of the team who, in 1988, would be the next to take him home, trainer Rick Stevens and his longtime friend and client Laura Valerio. They enjoyed an uninterrupted run of victory passes in the amateur park saddle division after Taurean entered their lives. This record included the Amateur Park Saddle Championship at this show as well as two wins of that title at Mass Morgan. In 1989 Taurean and Laura were named Reserve Grand National Champion Amateur Park Saddle Stallion and Reserve World Champion Amateur Park Saddle. Laura and Rick, thank you for being with us tonight, both as previous owner and trainer of Taurean, but also as a tireless support team for all he has achieved since.


“Rick is not a bashful salesman. In 1989 he looked at Helen Michaud and asked her, ‘Helen, what are your goals?’ Helen answered that she’d love to ride a park horse one day. Rick’s three-word reply, ‘Then buy Taurean’, changed her life. Though Helen thought she might be getting in over her head with a horse of Taurean’s renown, her husband said to her, ‘Helen, you are 48 years old. You don’t have much time to fool around.’ Just the words of encouragement Helen needed to pursue her dream.


“With Rick’s help initially, then under the direction of Jean DeGutis at Equitation Unlimited, Helen not only began the hard work – she fulfilled her dreams.


“As Helen recalls her first show ring ride, the 1990 Novice Rider class at Vermont Morgan, was her greatest thrill – ‘He carried me through this class,’ she remembers. They carried each other to many more victories including amateur championships and reserves at Vermont Morgan, Mass Morgan, Gold Cup Regional and a win of the Amateur Stallion class at New England. The highpoints of course were at Oklahoma where in 1991 they won the Grand National Amateur Park Saddle Championship and in 1992 felt the joy of being named Reserve World Champion Amateur Park Saddle Champions all under the tutelage of Jean DeGutis.


“To Jean DeGutis, who is in the ring tonight as always with Helen and Taurean, Helen would like to say, ‘Thank you for all the hours you spent teaching me to believe in myself and Taurean. The times you got me through my nerves before a class. Your love and kindness to Taurean and all the work and energy it took to put this together I am forever grateful. Lots of love for giving me the time of my life.’


“Of her horse Helen says, ‘This tribute is a fitting finale to what we started. Taurean took us where we went and he did it all willingly and lovingly.’

“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for paying tribute to the great champion Tedwin Taurean. His owner Helen Michaud and trainer Jean DeGutis would like you to join them for a party at the stalls of Equitation Unlimited after this evening session where you can pay your respects to this 27-year-old stallion, close up and personal.”

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