Great Expectations

or “My Life in Blog Sounds Much Cooler Than It Really Is”


Posted by mandyhuckins on September 8, 2009

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a long weekend with my sister in Chicago in August.  Since we are both horse lovers, we jumped on the chance to see a show called Cavalia.  It is billed as a Cirque de Soleil with horses.  We really lucked out because the show extended its run in Chicago to include my weekend there – and – my sister was able to get us some half priced tickets.  Here we are outside of the big top before the show.  Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures during the performance, so this is the only photo I have.

M&M Cavalia

The show mixed live horses (mounted and unmounted) with various types of acrobatics all set to live music, lighting and special effects.  Some of the acts were truly amazing – one of our favorites began with two white spanish horses ridden in by two gentlemen each with a lady riding behind the saddle.  As they circled the ring, the ladies connected a cable dangling from the ceiling to their persons and before you knew what was happening, they were flying in the air.  They circled and swooped just above the horses and riders who continued riding a pattern in the ring.  It was beautiful and etherial and at times breathtaking when it looked like there might be a collision.  (Of course, there wasn’t.)  There was also a fun section with western style trick riding and some pretty amazing roman riding with teams of four horses.  It was also fun to watch the liberty horses.  It seemed that they were training some younger ones who were full of personality and didn’t always want to do as they were told.  This actually made for a more fun show – when things didn’t always go perfectly and the individual personalities of the horses shown through.  My sister and I both appreciated how the horses were positively praised for doing something right, but were never scolded for doing something wrong.  All of the horses looked happy and healthy. 

It was a good show and a fun night, but apparently I am a tough customer because I do have some critiques:

1.) As far as classical dressage is concerned, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna this is not.  This is more showy rather than super correct riding.  I admit, for the general consumer, this is not an issue.

2.) I think their superstar – Templado – has been retired.  So, I got the impression that they have been training younger stallions to take his place.  But, I was looking forward to seeing the big “coups de gras” act – a horse and rider performing upper level dressage – maybe without a saddle and bridle?  It just seemed like a little something was missing.  They did project images of him (I think) on a curtain of water that flowed from the ceiling.  That was cool.

3.) My sister and I both felt that they really missed the mark on the merch.  I, for one, was ready to purchase some cool horse souvenirs.  But, we were a little disappointed in the stock.  Of course, there were t-shirts and stuffed animal horses and books and cds.  But, where were the beautiful pieces of jewelry?  Horse scarves?  Why couldn’t they team up with Breyer to produce a “Templado” figurine?  And, most of the stuff they had for sale featured their logo (of course) and a crazy CG image.  Why would you go CG when you have such beautiful animals that you can photograph?

Here is what I am talking about:

Cavalia Image

(Sorry its so small – you can’t really see how it leaves something to be desired, but trust me, it does.)

I bought the only item in the whole selectin with a cool graphic.  It is a grey mock-turtle neck made out of thin, stretchy fabric. 


The graphic wraps around the side of the shirt.  I don’t even like turtlenecks, but since it was the only pretty thing I saw and I had money burning a hole in my pocket, I bought it. 

Give me a call, Cavalia, if you want some more brilliant merchandising ideas to market to the horsey crowd.


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