2014 – A Season to Remember
By Capt Brandon Frizzell
The 2014 Ride Season for the Strathcona Mounted Troop proved to be yet another extremely successful season. As per tradition, the Troop took part in every major Spruce Meadows tournament to include the National, the Continental, the Canada 1, the North American and, of course, the world renowned Masters. In addition, we continued to tour around Western Canada spreading our own Strathcona brand of cavalry heritage in over 19 Musical Rides and numerous parades including the annual Stampede Parade and K-Days Parade.
Our season started off with our annual VIP Appreciation Ride at the Regimental Stables where the ride was anything but routine, setting the standard for the season. Sgt Paul “Let’s bring the scouts” Kruhlak decided it would be fitting to inject some members of the Steele Scouts in our first ride having them take part in both the charge and canter past. Much to their dismay, their mounts simply couldn’t keep up with our horses.
One of the season’s most memorable rides was our first ride at the new Agrium Building on Stampede Park. The Strathcona’s were the first mounted performance of its type to be showcased in the new building as part of its grand opening celebrations on 21 June 2014. We performed in the Agrium a second time during the Calgary Stampede where we rode for a packed house.
The Troop once again made the long trip out to Abbotsford, BC where we put our musical ride on display for four days at the annual Abbotsford Agrifair. Some members of the Troop including Cpl Curtis “I don’t need any water” Paquette found out the hard way why drinking water before and after rides is truly important. This hard reality really sank in when he had to make the walk of shame out of the Abbotsford Regional Hospital in nothing but his Strathcona Boots and a blue hospital gown (sorry ladies, no pictures). Once back from Abbotsford, the Troop barely had a chance to reload before riding once again at the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Military Heritage Day and again at Bar-U Ranch the very next day. Both rides went incredibly well and allowed many friends and family members of the Troop to see our hard work in action.
After a few more local rides and a well-deserved opportunity for rest and refit, the Troop returned once more to Spruce Meadows for the Masters Tournament. As many have heard, the tournament did not start off as anyone could have imagined. The Troop woke up on the first day of the tournament to knee deep snow and broken trees lining every route and path throughout Spruce Meadows. Armed with chainsaws, shovels and Bobcats, the Troop quickly pulled together and set about helping Spruce Meadows recover from the terrible storm. We worked well into the evening alongside CANA employees and the Rocky View Fire Department to clear downed trees along every major access route around the International Riding Arena. Through the combined efforts of everyone involved, Spruce Meadows was able to begin running competitions with only a single day’s delay. The Troop’s hard work and dedication throughout the ride season truly earned them and the Regiment the utmost respect and admiration of many.
Have a look at the Spruce Meadows video that that gives a true picture of the damage caused by the storm.