Saying Goodbye to 2012 and Hello to 2013
By: Captain Corey Mclean
The 2012 season for the Strathcona Mounted Troop (SMT) was quite the experience for me. I was surprised when I got the nod, from now Colonel Trevor Cadieu, which saw me leave my position as 1st Troop Leader for A Squadron to Headquarters Squadron and SMT, where I would tackle a whole new herd of soldiers (Pun intended). Consequently, the very day we saw the Leopard 2’s arrive back at the Regiment from overseas, was the first day of a unique job for me. Despite breaking my first (and second…and third) bone since joining the Canadian Forces, leading SMT last year was a rewarding job that I am sure I will tell stories about to anyone who will listen for years to come.
2012 saw the Troop perform as far west as Abbotsford, BC and as far east as Toronto, ON. Toronto was an honour for the Troop as we were tasked with escorting the Grey Cup, along with members from the Governor General’s Horse Guards (GGHG) who were led by Captain Andrew Zeitoun. The GGHG members were nice enough to host us during our stay and volunteered their personally owned mounts for us to ride in the parade. This included an immense draft Horse named “Big Tom” who definitely had me worried that a fall from his mammoth height would amount to my 4th broken rib of the season. Luckily for me the parade went off without a hitch and we ended the 2012 season in style.
The offseason has seen the departure of several seasoned riders back to the Regiment, including the long standing Troop Ride Master, Warrant Officer James Clark. However, SMT had a full list of volunteers from the Regiment waiting in the wings to replace them and Sergeant Paul Kruhlak, returned to the troop after being away since 2004. He has the distinguished honour of taking up the flame as this years new Ride Master.
Soldiers were not the only new additions to the SMT. The newly promoted Master Corporal Adriano Bernardo, along with the new Troop Warrant, Sergeant Christopher Zubkowski, have worked diligently to procure 4 new horses for the Troop: Saxon, Stryder, Supremacy, and Spartan. These new mounts are being put through their paces during the Basic Equine Ride Course, which all new members in SMT must acquire. Recently, the new additions to the herd, as well as our riders, have greatly benefitted from a week of personal riding instructions generously volunteered by Spruce Meadow’s Ride Master, Mr. Albert Klay.
This season is shaping up to be another great year for the SMT. We are continuing our great relationship with the RCMP and we will be starting our 2013 Ride Season by participating in the Grand Opening Ceremonies for the Sam Steele Exhibit at the RCMP Heritage Center in Regina, SK. This should be a perfect start to another great ride season for SMT, and I expect to have as successful a year in 2013 as we did in 2012… although, hopefully with a few less broken ribs on my end.