Dunvegan Pioneer Village 2016
Dunvegan Pioneer Village 2015
Sept 16 2015 newspaper article:
XIX Light Dragoons to join Battle of Glengarry
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Author: Tara Kirkpatrick ~ Journalist for The Review
DUNVEGAN – Re-enactors from the XIX (19th) Light Dragoons will be joining the 6th annual Battle of Glengarry, which will take place at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum on September 26 and 27.
Riders will demonstrate a number of cavalry moves. They will also be joining the battle to assist the infantry.
“Having the horses on the field during battle, forces the enemy to change their infantry movements to adjust to the horses,” said Captain Dan Williams of the XIX Light Dragoons.
The XIX Light Dragoons represent a cavalry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1781 for service in British India. The regiment served in India until 1806 and in North America during the War of 1812.
The regiment was disbanded in Britain in 1821. Re-enactors from the modern perform at historical re-enactments. They focus on public demonstrations that provide historical accounts of the War of 1812.
Following military techniques and practices are not new for Williams, a retired military veteran, who was a medic for the Canadian Army.
During an interview with The Review, Williams said that most of the re-enactors are former or current members of the military or police services. They include former marines, infantry and police officers.
William’s wife, Marie-Eve Dufort, is a mounted police officer for the Montreal Police Service. They met at a re-enactment and have been participating in living history battles for the past three years.
In addition to her policing duties, Dufort trains horses for the Montreal Police, mounted unit. As a re-enactor, she also helps train new participants to ride and to familiarize themselves with horses.
After retiring from military service Williams said that he was suffering with symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He credits horses with helping with his recovery and he says that every time he sees a veteran approach a horse for the first time, he sees that same spark of healing.
“I suffer from PTSD and I find that they (horses) are a huge tool to my recovery,” said Williams.
In mid-September, Dufort and Williams joined veteran Paul Nichols on his Ride Across Canada, to raise awareness about PTSD and other issues affecting contemporary veterans. They escorted Nichols through Montreal and when one of Nichols’ trucks broke down, they offered their own truck and trailer as a temporary replacement vehicle.
Williams said that he was proud to join the ride and that he welcomes veterans to visit his farm in Saint-Sébastien, Quebec, to learn about the Dragoons, or simply to hang out with the horses.
Preparing horses for battle re-enactments takes a great deal of training and repetition.
“It takes a lot of desensitization training,” said Williams. He begins training by putting the horses in a safe environment and giving them their feed. While they are eating, the horses are exposed to guns and smoke, which gradually gets louder and closer to the animals.
It’s a gradual process and not all horses are suited for the job. A few of Williams’ regular cavalry horses include ‘Hero’, a retired police horse and ‘India’, who was once a school horse.
One of the most popular cavalry demonstrations involves using a saber to cut a pumpkin in half, while sitting astride a horse and riding at full speed.
If conditions are favourable, the Dragoons may be adding a new stunt to this year’s demonstrations. For the past few months they have been practicing mounted shooting. If the horses are ready, you can expect to see a demonstration at the Battle of Glengarry.
“Of all of the re-enactments we participate in, we have the best reception in Dunvegan. We get great public support there,” said Willams.
For more about the Battle of Glengarry, visit www.glengarrypioneermuseum.ca
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