Boots and Saddles
Lt Sean Coughlan
On Saturday, 23 May the Communities for Veterans Foundation (CVF) Ride Across Canada trotted into Edmonton and of course, as Canada’s finest Cavalry Regiment, members of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) were there to help with the ride. For those not aware, the CVF is a charity group committed to raising awareness of veterans in communities across Canada. This year, CVF is conducting a horse ride across Canada, which commenced in Victoria, British Columbia on 13 April 2015, to St. John’s, Newfoundland around 11 September, in order to raise money and awareness. Headed by Paul Nichols the ride is scheduled to take approximately 200 days from coast to coast and will see currently serving soldiers and veterans riding through each town and city they pass through.
LdSH(RC) provided six riders from across the Regiment to ride in the Edmonton leg of the journey. Starting with a brief review on how to ride a horse, the first three riders for the day, began their ride on the south end of Edmonton near Gateway Boulevard. After three hours of riding the group had learned two things. The horses did not spook easily, and were as comfortable right beside heavy traffic as they were in the woods; and if they were left to their own devices at any time they would stop to eat dandelions, even if that meant they remained in the middle of the road.
The first group ended their ride just off of the University of Alberta campus. Here the switch was made with the next three riders and a real adventure was about to begin. First the group had to navigate the residential maze of campus housing, where quite a few students were just waking up from their revelries the night before. Needless to say there were more than a couple double takes done as four horses passed by and three of the riders were in uniform. This was followed by trying to find a way to cross the North Saskatchewan River and through downtown Edmonton to finally reach City Hall. Unbeknownst to the riders the first Food Truck Festival of the year was taking place at Churchill Square which meant there were hundreds of people on location for the ride’s arrival at City Hall. This coincidence worked well with the intent of raising awareness and the riders were able to engage face to face with the public explaining the CVF’s cause while they waited for the trailer to arrive and pick up the horses.
At the end of the day the ride provided a valuable opportunity to interact with the community we work in. Paul Nichols continued on with the ride passing through Wainwright as he continues to make his way east to the Atlantic Ocean.
Communities for Veterans, The Ride Across Canada Foundation
Communities For Veterans The Ride Across Canada Foundation Facebook Page/