Horse Attitudes | Buzz Blog

Friday, April 22, 2016

Horse Attitudes

Odysseo by Cavalia opens in Sandy, reminds us why we love horses.

Posted By on April 22, 2016, 3:33 PM

  • Pin It
  • Dan Harper
Horse encounters are increasingly rare these days. Downtowners used to regularly hear the clip clop of horse-drawn carriages around Temple Square until the city fathers banned them in 2014. The city’s crowded and polluted streets were not the best place to connect with your horse spirit. Horses need grassy slopes where they can run like the wind, and humans lately seem to need the opposite as they dwell in ever more dense sprawling cities.

We’re starting to miss each other.

Which may be all the reason you need to plunk down the big bucks to see Cavalia’s Odysseo. If nothing else, you will see horses, 65 or so of the most elegant steeds you’ve laid eyes upon—Spanish purebreds, Lusitanos, Arabians, quarter horses, Appaloosas and Holsteiners and paint breeds among them—performing under a white big top that stands 125-feet tall in a Sandy shopping mall parking lot.
click to enlarge Odysseo's big top - JERRE WROBLE
  • Jerre Wroble
  • Odysseo's big top

click to enlarge Seating for 2,000 - JERRE WROBLE
  • Jerre Wroble
  • Seating for 2,000

Created by Normand Latourelle, one of the early founders of Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia is a Canadian company based in Quebec that has elevated and transformed the circus experience. From the seating (for 2,000) to the stage (more than 17,500 square feet) to the IMAX-style screens (requiring 18 projectors and 200 moving lights) to the 365 costumes to the live band that performs music to keep pace with the horses, each element, layered upon the others, conspires to impress. At first, it’s just, “Wow, cool.” But by the end, as horses gallop across a small lake (40,000 gallons of water that pooled before your eyes), you have to surrender to the notion that you’ve been taken someplace new in the realm of entertainment.
click to enlarge Odysseo's tack room - JERRE WROBLE
  • Jerre Wroble
  • Odysseo's tack room

Yes, it has a lot to do with the visual sleight of hand, as stunning backdrops transport you from forest to jungle to desert to frozen tundra, even to mythical places that seem otherworldly. But the spirit of the horses looms large, and you become a witness to the playful respect between performers and animals.
  • Jak Wonderly
The horses—all male, of which 20 are stallions—have plenty of space to run and strut and prance, and do so in several instances without even a halter or bridle. They don’t seem stressed, which is a concern with many animal performances.

According to the website, the animals are allowed to “play” onstage and are not forced to perform tricks. They rotate in and out of performances, and are given days off to rest throughout the engagement.
Information on each horse outside their stall - JERRE WROBLE
  • Jerre Wroble
  • Information on each horse outside their stall
A visit to the stables immediately after the show revealed spacious clean quarters where animals were washed, fed and primped by an attentive staff. It’s unlikely the show would succeed if the animals were pressured or under duress.

  • Andrew Miller
  • The Angels
The human performers—48 aerialists, dancers and acrobats—bring a passion and energy to match that of the horses, as acrobats catapult while horses jump, perform dressage and execute stunts. A troupe of Guinean acrobats wowed the audience with their drumming and acrobatic prowess; they had the audience shouting “O walu guere moufan!” which we eventually learn means “No more war on earth,” a touching sentiment as the troupe disappears into the sunset.
  • Noble Photography

Such was the magic. The performance, featuring original music that blends Spanish, gypsy, New Age and classical scores, stirs the soul, helping you recall that you are, by virtue of being a Westerner, a horse person. Observing the grace and poise of these equine beings will have re-thinking your mundane existence. So ride like the wind to Sandy and catch this show while it’s in town.

Cavalia’s Odysseo, The Shops at South Towne, 10450 S. State, Sandy, 1-866-999-8111, through May 16, Tickets $44.50 to $154.50 plus taxes and fees. The Rendez-Vous VIP package is priced from $199.50 to $249.50 plus taxes and fees. It offers seating, buffet dining, open bar, desserts during intermission and a stable visit after the show. Special pricing/packages are also available for groups, children, teens and seniors (65+). More information at

On Topic...

More by Jerre Wroble

  • City Guide 2022

    City Weekly’s 18th annual celebration of all things SLC
    • May 4, 2022
  • More »

Latest in Buzz Blog

© 2022 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation