Cavalia’s Odysseo is a big tent experience like no other. As a rule I avoid live animal shows; seeing them perform tricks that go against their instinct is cruel. But I know horses well and depending on the personality of an animal, horses enjoy working with people and thrive on learning and bonding with their handlers.
Horses and humans have been intricately linked for 1000s of years, and Odysseo tells the story of the role horses played in our history and in the expansion of civilizations with exceptional horsemanship and outstanding acrobatic performances. The equine and human performances are set against a backdrop of massive and ever-changing sets, complex choreography, high-tech theatrics, live music, and beautiful costumes. It is entertainment that fills the senses.
The Odysseo Stables are home to over 70 horses from different breeds; Arabians, Lusitano, Paints, and Appaloosa are among the 14 breeds that are used. Each horse is carefully selected for its mental and physical soundness and abilities. They are then placed on rotation to avoid fatigue and stress, and each equestrian is paired with two or three horses. This allows a bond to develop between horse and rider and it’s evident in what the animals are willing to do for their riders.
When the horses are at liberty, the tent is silent and spectators can hear the soft nickering of one animal to another. If you’re lucky enough to sit in the first few rows you’ll feel the breeze as they canter by. Once the trick riding begins, hold your breath or cheer; this is encouraged and it’s what makes Odysseo a show equally entertaining for adults or children.
The horses are undoubtedly the stars, but the other artists — acrobats, riders, aerialists, dancers, and musicians are equally talented. It doesn’t hurt that every one of the performers is beautiful as well as skilled. And nobody can resist a man on horseback anyway.
I took my daughter to the show — she’s a rider who thinks nothing of tackling jumps with her hands out to the side — and after seeing the show she wants to join Cavalia. And now I want to know if I’m too old to run away and join the circus.
The show has been extended in Toronto until May 24, 2015 before it moves on to Montréal. Check online for ticket availabilities and more info. And then go, you’ll love it!
I was given tickets to see the show as part of a media evening, but I’ve been before on my own and would go again. All opinions are my own.