The Strathcona Mounted Troop bond with their horses-Video

Video / January 17, 2019 / Project number: 18-0259


(The Strathcona Mounted Troop are practising on horses.)

Announcer: Many of the riders before you did not possess any experience riding horses before they came to the troop. Now, however, they have taken on the challenge of learning to ride in order to sustain the Regiment’s rich cavalry heritage.

(The announcer is outside with the mounted troop, speaking into a microphone.)

Announcer: It gives me great pleasure to present you with the Strathcona Mounted Troop Cavalry Ride.

(Corporal Edward Thibodeau, Strathcona Mounted Troop, is in a barn. Bales of hay sit against the wooden walls behind him.)

Cpl Thibodeau: You gain a really strong bond with the horse you’re working with and all of the horses in the troop, actually. You get to know them.

(A soldier opens a chain fence gate and leads a horse through it, then checks on the horse, petting and scratching it.)

Cpl Thibodeau: It’s a bond just like we have with the guys that work in the troop. They’re part of the troop. They become your partners.

(Corporal Coleman Germann, Strathcona Mounted Troop, is outside. A barn and horse are in the background.)

Cpl Germann: Usually every soldier is assigned a horse for the year. They usually try and base your initial horse off your personality. They’ll match your personality with the horse’s personality.

(Corporal Jake Senff, Strathcona Mounted Troop, is also outside. A horse is eating in the background.)

Cpl Senff: The horse knows you’re new too. So, he’s kind of testing you, seeing what he can get away with. 

(The mounted troop practises outside.)

Cpl Senff: They try to do their own thing. You are trying to tell them to do something, but they know that you’re a brand-new rider. So, they’re constantly doing their own thing and you’re trying to correct it and you’re getting frustrated.

Once you start learning, getting more practice in, you start to build a relationship with the horses and the two of you become bonded really well. The two of you will work really good as a team. You know what each other are looking for.

(A soldier, harness in hand, walks through a gate and up to two horses who are eating hay. He walks towards a horse who keeps walking away from him.)

Cpl Germann: Even when you go out to the pasture and go collect your horse, he usually recognizes what you are coming for. If it’s going to be a hangout and pet, and make sure he’s okay. Or, if you’re going to walk out there with that halter and he knows it’s going to be ride time.

You can tell when a horse is even having a bad day and you’re like “This is going to be a very, very terrible day for me.”

Soldier in pasture: Don’t do it. Easy boy.

(A group of soldiers rake through hay on the ground.)

Cpl Thibodeau: Some of the horses that really like human contact and like to be around people, you’ll go to the paddock to check some of the feed bales or something like that and they’re instantly coming up to you and following you around. Some of them will try to nuzzle your shoulder, get some attention from you.

Before I came to the troop, I had no interaction with horses whatsoever. I was actually kind of intimidated by them.

(The mounted troop is performing in front of a large crowd.)

Cpl Thibodeau: But, once you start to work with them and you get comfortable around them, get used to them, it’s definitely a rewarding experience, for sure.

Cpl Senff: You see it everywhere with all the guys in the troop, with their horses, talking to them, hanging out, laughing and joking with their horses. 

(A soldier scratches the head of a horse.)

Cpl Senff: Relationships bond not just with the­ members, but with the horses as well.

(Another soldier pets a horse’s face, and then hugs the horse.)

(The Canadian Army watermark appears onscreen, with text: “Strong. Proud. Ready.” Fade to the National Defense signature, then a Government of Canada wordmark.)



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