By Staff Writer
Odysseo by Cavalia is now playing under its gigantic White Big Top next to Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The $30 million production is a show unlike any other on the planet. Cavalia’s expertise in high technology, multimedia, and special effects creates a magical, breathtaking, never-before-seen theatrical experience.
The heart and soul of the show are the 65 horses representing 12 different breeds including Appaloosa, Arabian, Quarter Horse, Canadian Warmblood, Holsteiner, Lusitano, and Spanish Purebred (P.R.E.). The horses, all stallions and geldings and averaging nine years of age, are from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Australia, the United States, and Canada.
What goes on in the show and backstage is good horsemanship, plain and simple. Here are five things we learned backstage at Odysseo:
1. If it’s not fun, it’s not done. Odysseo’s horse training is based on communication, observation, and patience, as well as a keen understanding of each horse’s talents and needs. The tone of the show, embraced by the entire company, is one of mutual respect, kindness, and trust. Happy horses having fun is the mother of the enchanting, innovative performances.
2. Everyone gets into the act. All humans, even if they don’t ride or work with the horses for the show, are to be comfortable with horses, and the horses are to be comfortable with humans. Acrobats and artists take riding lessons and spend time with one special horse. With humans and horses, it is one big knitted family that truly cares for one another.
3. Leisure time. Horses are turned out daily, weather permitting, next to the stable tent in paddocks large enough for them to roam, play, or stretch out for a nap in the sun. Between cities, they enjoy a two-week vacation at carefully selected farms that guarantee pasture turnout and rolls in the dirt. They are always accompanied by Odysseo’s equine specialists.
4. Feed according to the horse’s nature. During the year, the horses consume 15,000 bales of hay, 32,000 kilograms of grain, and 800 kilograms of carrots. The horses are fed eight meals a day in order to mimic as closely as possible the horse’s natural routine as a grazing animal – five of hay and three of grain. Linseed oil is added to their feed to moisturize skin, mane, and tail.
5. Comfort and familiar environment. In their 1,600 square metre stable tent, the horses each have a designated box with ample space to stretch, lie down, sprawl out, roll, and relax. They always have the same neighbours to ensure a familiar and comforting environment in each city. Every day, the grooms brush and inspect the horses to remove debris, which prevents irritation and activates blood circulation, an activity that also helps build the relationship between horse and man. The grooms also clean and inspect the horses’ feet on a daily basis.
Tickets for Odysseo in Mississauga are now on sale. For a memorable outing, the Rendez-Vous VIP package offers the best seats in the house, full-meal buffet dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission, and an exclusive visit of the stables after the show. These and other tickets can be purchased online or by calling 1-866-999-8111.