POWASSAN – Some of Canada’s most famous riders could help send two local equestrians to the Olympics.
“We have two Olympic hopefuls at our stable – Madison Lawson and Sable Giesler,” said Knowlton Ridge Equestrian Centre owner Gord Cardwell. “We would like to set up a foundation so the proceeds from this event and other upcoming events can be held in trust to help cover their costs.”
The event that could make the girls’ Olympic dreams financially feasible is the upcoming tour of the RCMP Musical Ride, which is slated to make a stop in Powassan at the end of June, hosted by Knowlton Ridge.
“Because our facility is quite large, they (the RCMP) have decided to make us a mainstay, so they’re staying for six days,” said Cardwell.
Arriving in the area on Wednesday, June 19, the troop will perform two weekend shows for the public, plus a Friday show for school children. Cardwell is hoping a few of the riders will be open to visiting local seniors on their Thursday off from performing, as there are some mobility issues keeping senior residents from attending the performances.
Plans are in the works to have both Lawson and Giesler perform as part of the RCMP’s pre-show.
“The RCMP show is about 40 minutes, start to finish, so what we’re hoping to do is have Sable and Madison do a demonstration,” said Cardwell, noting other young riders from the stable might also participate.
Best friends since childhood, the Lawson and Giesler approached the Municipality of Powassan for financial support to take them and their horses to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – a venture that could cost each of them upwards of $85,000.
Cardwell, who is co-chair of the Municipality of Powassan Economic Development (MoPed) committee, is working to set up a foundation that would be overseen by the committee in order to raise and protect funds for the girls, on the assumption they will both qualify for the competition.
In addition to supporting the equestrian duo, Cardwell said local charity groups are also under consideration for donation of some of the event’s proceeds.
With about 2,000 spectators expected to attend the June event, Cardwell said the Musical Ride could be a serious boost for the entire community.
“There are going to be huge spin-offs for the area,” said Cardwell, noting the food, lodging, and fuel required by both the troops and spectators alike. “It will be a huge economic accelerator for the area.”
The Musical Ride consists of the execution of a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drills choreographed to music. One of the troop’s more familiar formations is called the dome, which was once featured on the back of the Canadian fifty-dollar bill.
Members of the ride are first and foremost police officers who, after at least two years of active police work, volunteer for duty with the ride. Most members are non-riders prior to their equestrian training with the RCMP.
Working through a unique medium, they promote the RCMP's image throughout Canada and the world.
“The tradition of the Musical Ride is an amazing one for Canadians,” said Cardwell.
He said he expects the event will cost at least $5,000 to host, but he’s trying to keep the cost to attend at a reasonable rate. Tickets will be made available at a cost of $10 per person with children under five admitted free.
Cardwell is looking for sponsors to help cover some costs.
The RCMP Musical Ride tours throughout Canada, as well as international venues, where a troop of 32 riders and horses perform at approximately 40 to 50 locations a year.
“They’re going to take over our entire show barn,” explained Cardwell, noting the 38-stall barn will be packed with 36 RCMP horses.
The conclusion of the performance is the March Past where the Musical Ride traditionally salutes the guest of honour.
During the Knowlton Ridge performance, Cardwell is inviting Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Jay Aspin, the commanding officer of the Algonquin Regiment, and veterans of the Second World War to take the salute.