At the age of 12-years-old Pierre Cloutier was given his first horse from his parents and a dream to cross Canada formed. Now, at 40-years-old, Cloutier has spent four months on the road with his two horses, Bobby and Kelly, on his way to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
Cloutier began his journey on Nov. 6 in Saint Barnabé-Sud and he has been winding his way through the country to fulfill his lifelong dream.
“At 12-years-old when I got my first horse on the dairy farm I decided this was something I wanted to do,” Cloutier explained. “When you get older you have responsibilities and a life, so I didn’t focus on travelling across the country.”
“Life kind of pushed me to do this, I hadn’t really planned on it, but I was working 20 hours at work and my girlfriend and I parted ways. If I wanted to go this was my time.”
Originally Cloutier planned on being on his own. He had stocked up his two wagons with seven days of necessities. His intention was to rough it along the way, expecting to be in the bush; but, as he began travelling he discovered that people along the way are willing to share in his dream and he has found places to stay each night.
“The plan is not happening the way I thought it would, I thought I’d be in the bush by myself, but this is a lot better way of it happening,” Cloutier stated. “When the people first came across the prairies they travelled from East to West and now I’m doing that same thing. And this is the way they often travelled, they would stop along the way at people’s houses and they would be given a bit of bread and stay in the barn for the night.”
“I’m doing this the exact way people 200 years ago would have. In those times they were heading out to B.C. to look for gold, and I’m looking for gold too, just not the same as those people. I’m looking for my gold. I believe everyone has their own gold they go out and look for.”
Along the way Cloutier says people have been wonderful. Since the first person who gave him a place to stay stopped him on the road, Cloutier has had a place for he and his team to stay each night. One person calls down the road to line up a few different nights stay, then the next does, and the word is sent along the road that a traveler is making his way across the country.
“I thought I’d go on this trip and it would be personal,” Cloutier explained. “People like what I’m doing though and people have opened their doors to help me every day.”
“When I reach B.C. I hope to keep dreaming and one of my other dreams right now is to play in a country music band. I keep a diary with me and will write songs about my experiences. Hopefully sometime I will be back with a show and maybe pay back those that have helped me. Nothing in life is free and I need to find a way to pay people back.”
While speaking to The Observer, Cloutier was readying his team for their journey from Gord and Lorna Dickinson’s to Andy and Sandra Robertson’s. He carefully and caringly adjusted the harnesses on Bobby and Kelly wanting to ensure his animals were comfortable. He checked them over, inspecting their hooves then their bodies for any scratches they may have.
Cloutier also explained that he would like to pick up a second team of horses midway through Saskatchewan as well to continue his journey towards the Rocky Mountains.
A true story of making dreams come to life, Cloutier encourages everyone to follow their dreams and most importantly believe in themselves.
“I’ve had my dream since I was 12,” Cloutier stated. “I’m now 40 and the hardest part was believing that I could do it. It took years to reach my dream, but most importantly you don’t have to ask yourself which way it will happen just now that it can.”
To track where Cloutier is and for more information as he makes his way to B.C., he can be found on Facebook through searching “Pierre Cloutier, Traversée du Canada cheval.”