A Trip To The Island

by Cpl Brennan Maddison


On the morning of August 16th, 2017, the Strathcona Mounted Troop (SMT) began their long trek to beautiful British Columbia. The day started off as usual, fetching and grooming horses, which is an easier task for some than others. Poor Cpl Ron “Horse Whisperer” Gauthier will learn to catch Sniper in under 20 minutes one day! Once our equine friends were loaded onto the magnificent and stunning looking trailer, the rat race was on.


Once again, the trip started off as usual: other folks got to switch out driving while poor Cpl Brennan “The Mattress” Maddison kept driving, and driving, and driving. Finally, a hero amongst a group of degenerates emerged: Cpl Edward “Le Beau” Thibodeau stepped up and offered the stout and visibly annoyed driver a chance at relief for a short while.


Upon arriving in Abbotsford for a night of refuge, the mighty troop of merry men off-loaded the horses and made sure they were comfortable before turning in for the night.


The Troop proceeded to clean all the stalls the next morning, then loaded up and hit the road for the ferry to cross into Nanaimo. Once on the ferry, everybody proceeded to file into the upper decks to get some well-deserved fresh air and relaxation time. The scenery was gorgeous as usual, unfortunately with no marine wildlife to speak of other than a few sea birds.


After arriving at our destination, we once again bedded the horses down, gave them food and water, and proceeded back to the Armory to unpack and prepare ourselves for the action-packed weekend that was ahead of us. The Canadian Scottish Regiment ensured we were as comfortable as possible living there for a short time, making sure the Junior Ranks’ Mess was open for us to relax and unwind from the long and hot days on the Island.


When it comes to the Mounted Troop, we work quite feverishly; but we also know how to play hard, whether that means going to the lake across from the Armory or simply playing foosball or poker in the Junior Ranks’ Mess. Cpl Greg “The Destroyer” Dobson knows all about the proper procedures when it comes to playing foosball! Thanks again to Cpl Coleman “Gravedigger” Germann and Cpl Tim “The Rat” Senff for helping to break his 3-year streak of not being skunked! The SMT rides in Nanaimo were absolutely outstanding, and the crowd was so into it that even towards the end of the exhibition we had an encore called for us. Quite the feat for us, that’s for sure!


Next stop… COMOX! Comox was a returning event for the Troop; we’d all had a lot of fun last year and not a thing changed except for one thing pertaining to the ride itself. Our very own Sgt Paul “The Crippler” Kruhlak managed to pull off a hat-trick in tent pegging, pulling up with THREE “aces” and going 5 for 5 with a sabre instead of his usual lance. To top off the trip, the day we headed back was also Sgt Kruhlak’s 44th birthday. Needless to say, a very special present will be provided by the rest of the Troop when the time is right. Honorable mention for tent pegging: Cpl Germann had one “ace”.


All in all, despite the sweltering heat, the long days, and the constant hard work, we do indeed have the best job in the military. We become close with our co-workers, who become friends, and eventually family. So now we are off to the Master’s tournament at Spruce Meadows for one last hoorah before the season comes to an abrupt halt; good luck fellas!


Mattress actual – Out.