Havelock — Competitors at the 2016 Olympics better look out for this “dark horse” competitor who’s bringing some Maritime spirit to Latin America.
A frolicking filly from Havelock, N.B. is hot to trot in this year’s Olympic Equestrian Dressage competition. The elegant equine is winning the hearts of Canadian ghilly-wearers by promoting the art of highland dancing in Rio de Janeiro.
Violet is a 9-year-old mare hailing from Butternut Ridge Farms in the southern New Brunswick community of Havelock, located 50 kilometres west of Moncton. Her rider, 28-year-old Xavier Cavalier, has been training her for this level of competition since she was a foal. “Violet is the Beyoncé of horses — she’s got the talent, the rhythm, and the legs of a champion!
“The number one thing you need to do is build trust with your horse,” said Cavalier. “She and I have been together every moment possible. She eats at my table, sleeps in my bed, and we even watch Real Housewives together. She gets so mad at that Bethenny! And, of course, we’ve been ‘dancing’ together since Hollaback Girl!”
Colloquially known as “horse dancing,” the sport of equestrian dressage has been called the “the ultimate expression of horse training and elegance.” To put together the routine that could win him a gold medal, Cavalier hearkened back to the Scottish roots of the Maritimes for inspiration.
“At this point, the judges have seen it all — even hip-hop dressage! I had to come up with something really outside of the box. I was at the N.B. Highland Games last year and it hit me like a caber! The very next day, I put on my proverbial tartan socks and some Ashley MacIsaac, and we got to work!
“The rest — we hope — is history!”
Cavalier and Violet during Olympic training sessions.