On August 23, 2017, CHHAPS presented four demonstrations at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) to showcase
the Canadian Horse. For one of our demo performances, we were given the extraordinary opportunity to provide a 12-minute presentation to open for the RCMP Musical Ride. This was their final performance in BC before travelling west across Canada and the PNE asked CHHAPS to pre-empt them. With a full house, seating up to 5000 patrons, CHHAPS participants presented a condensed version of the full demo, ending with the CHHAPS drill team.
This year, in honour of celebrating Canada’s 150th, the PNE Committee, Deirdre Pickerell, Sarah Lindsay and Elaine Ullrich decided to do something different. We decided to tell the story of the Canadian Horse throughout history…with costumes, music and a storyteller.
Our show opened with the sounds of our professional narrator telling the story of the Canadian horse – “so rich in history the Canadian helped settle this great nation”. To begin, we went back in time and welcomed King Louis the 14th, dressed in full costume, with Denys Carrier riding Monty, who exhibited the Canadian horse as elegant and brave to the audience. He was followed by one of King Louis’ royal guards, Talia Strang riding Uni and as the Canadians where known to work the farms, a landowner followed, Nicole Ridder on Nobleman.
Our western flavour was represented by two Canadian horses…..Lynda Flato’s Nico and Aynsley Cairn’s Jasper. Lynda alternated demo’s using Nico as a pack horse and riding western….galloping around the arena to the delight of the crowd. Meanwhile Aynsley and Jasper were demonstrating some superb western equitation.
When the announcer said, “these
horses paid the ultimate price for freedom – fighting and dying during times of war”, Company A, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry entered the arena in full cavalry costume. Ken
Morris riding Cherry for the first time, followed by Talia Strang riding Uni, Nicole Ridder riding Noblemen and Andrea Pratt riding Monty. All four riders, never having practiced together except for 30 minutes before the show, presented in remarkable formation as Ken Morris shouted commands displaying the loyalty and bravery of these horses.
The Baroque heritage and unique looks were displayed in a Pas De Deux performed by Deirdre Pickerell riding Montana and Kelsey Robson riding Rhapsody. The dressage movements wowed the audience with side passes in a display of flexibility and balance. Not to mention the riders with their two costume changes during the four performances.
Lora Hargreaves rode Presto showcasing how the Canadian Horse thrives on variety and how their powerful builds easily took them through a series of jumps.
The show was ended with a performance by the CHHAPS drill team. Sarah Lindsay riding Koko, Jessica Tonn riding Moxie, Jackie Poirier riding Moe, and Elaine Ullrich riding Remi. The audience clapped and cheered through some difficult movements as the horses soaked up the praise and eagerly performed.
All participants lined up as a final salute to the audience as the announcer read, “please join me in saluting the National Horse of Canada; Le Cheval Canadienne – the Canadian Horse”.
All in all we had a most exceptional day; attaining unprecedented exposure for our club and our beloved Canadians! Thank you to all who participated and to all the countless volunteers that made the day so seamless and enjoyable.
Author: Elaine Ullrich
Photos: KJW Photography