By Corporal Darren Roberts


On September 17th, 2013, the Strathcona Mounted Troop (SMT) was invited to the Northern Alberta Jubilee auditorium to help celebrate opening night of the Broadway performance of “War Horse”.  The morning started off with members of the troop bringing four mounts to meet the star of the show, “Joey”.


Now, Joey isn’t your regular quarter horse, with two actors underneath Joey controlling his rear and front legs respectively, and another actor controlling the head, mouth, eyes and ears, bringing this life size puppet alive. After getting acquainted with Joey and doing a presentation for the media and high school drama club, the morning at the Jubilee was a bit different experience than a traditional musical ride.


That evening, a select number of SMT members, accompanied by the Regimental Sergeant Major, Chief Warrant Officer Antony Batty, were given tickets to opening night for the show. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to experience live theatre.  The performance was amazing and gave me a completely different perspective on the show compared to watching the movie.


War Horse takes place at the onset of World War I, where a teenage boy, Albert, reluctantly has to sell his horse, Joey, to the cavalry.  After fighting on both frontlines, Joey is caught in no-mans-land, and as fate would have it Joey and Albert are reunited. The Broadway play was realistic from a military standpoint, with the use of blank rounds, simulated explosions, and actors performing drill.  Throughout the play, I realized that some things in the military haven’t changed since 1914, such as the Sergeant Major in the play spouting, “I’m not an officer - I work for a living!”  As these words rolled off the actors tongue, I could hear our Regimental Sergeant Major, who was sitting behind me in the theatre, laugh under his breath.  


The War Horse performance was absolutely outstanding, and this experience gave me a renewed opinion about live performances and the enjoyment they bring.