A Visit to the Cavalia Big Top

Canadian Dressage Young Rider, Madison Lawson DressageDaily's new intern.
Canadian Dressage Young Rider, Madison Lawson DressageDaily's new intern.

We passed along an invitation for the media preview to Dressagedaily intern Madison Lawson, and asked her to share a journal entry and some photo of her experience. Madison also asked the creator of Cavalia, Normand Latourelle if they would be interested in contributing to our Equestrian Aid/Palm Beach Dressage Derby Fundraiser and set the wheels in motion for the incredible VIP Package being offered for bid, March 1. When Mary Phelps of DressageDaily asked if I was free to go to Miami for the media preview of Cavalia's new show, Odysseo, there was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity to visit to Miami for the first time and to get a chance and see what Odysseo was all about. I thought I was getting a free preview of the show but to my surprise it wasn't that at all when we arrived.

My Mom and I made a wrong turn and ended up on this stretch of road that was going across the water which we thought this looked very familiar. It was a road with beautiful palm trees in the medium and on either side was blue water. To the right we saw massive cruise ships and to the left private homes with rather large boats and yachts. We both ended up feeling very CSI Miami. That's why we recognized it, it was the stretch of road where the CSI team would rush down in their oversized Hummer to save someone's life and catch a killer. Needless to say we felt very cool!

Normand Latourelle (Photo: Madison Lawson)
Normand Latourelle (Photo: Madison Lawson)

When we finally arrived in Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami we came upon a massive white tent. We met the representatives from Cavalia Inc. most who spoke French very fluently. This made sense since the Cavalia Inc headquarters are in Montreal, Quebec. When all the media representatives arrived we went into the tent that was still under construction. We had the chance to look around, take some photos and chat with other media outlets.  Normand Latourelle the founder of Cavalia  then addressed all who were in attendance. He gave a brief description of the new show that he created. He spoke about the Big White Top and all that went into building the largest touring tent in the world. It was really quite interesting to hear him speak about his inspiration for the show. He owns a farm in Quebec and he spoke about looking out his kitchen window and seeing the horses run and play out in the field which had several large hills. This inspired one of the scenes in the show where the crew built two massive hills on the set where the horses freely run around and play on during the show. They use 70 horses for this show, four more are in training and when they are ready they will be introduced to the show. I had a few questions for Normand; I asked what happened to the horses that were going to be retired from the show. I didn't know if they would sell them or if he would just keep them at his farm in Quebec. He said that they retire the horses depending on their condition and age. They don't use them if their 20 or older. Usually the horses used in the show are average 8 years old. If they do retire from the show, the horses are usually put up for adoption and go to a good home. The horses each have at least an hour of turn out every day and don't get worked over 45 minutes. The horses also only travel 4 hours a day. Before arriving in Miami February 29, they has a layover in Ocala.

After a brief chat with Normand, everybody moved outside the tent to watch the two last Cavalia flags be placed on top of the big top. It felt like I was watching a baker place the final dab of icing on a perfect looking cupcake. It was the cherry to the Sundae. Seeing what went on behind the scenes and to see what kind of work and effort goes into a show of this magnitude was incredible. Every single detail was reviewed and planned until it was then executed in perfect fashion. It was very interesting and I am blessed to have had this opportunity and to be representing my favorite website of all times, DressageDaily! I now would like to go back to Miami and see the show, to be able to know what went into this masterpiece and to experience it for myself.

Thank you Mary Phelps for allowing me to do this! I will be forever grateful
Madison Lawson




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