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The Spirit Horse Returns

A symphony horn player and an Indigenous friend travel across time and all of Turtle Island (North America). Through art and music, we learn about a mysterious group of small horses who can teach people of all Nations the importance of taking care of each other and the land we share.

In The Spirit Horse Returns, a hornist in the orchestra who lives on a farm is gifted an Ojibwe Horse. Not knowing anything about this Indigenous-developed breed but intrigued, he and the audience go with the orchestra on a journey of discovery.

An Indigenous knowledge keeper takes us through time to meet the first of these mysterious “small horses of the deep woods” who were helpers and spirit guides to First Nations and Métis people. Exploring the diversity of Indigenous cultures, we visit the magnificent Horse Nations of the prairies, and jig with a joyous Métis kitchen party. The arrival of settlers also brings challenges and changes as the small “Indian Ponies” are pushed aside during colonization and used for such purposes as the Gold Rush and Pony Express.

But just when it seems they will be lost forever, the last few horses are rescued! Through the daring efforts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together, the horses are given new life and new hope. Audiences are gifted a beautiful new song to carry with them as caretakers of the Spirit Horses. Finally, they are introduced to an inspiring prophecy that shows each child that they have a place in bringing about a better world where people of all Nations care for each other and the land we share.

The Spirit Horse Returns combines an all-new rich and tuneful orchestral score, delightful songs, traditional teachings, and stunning colourful visual art. It provides young audiences with an inspiring and age-appropriate explorations of truth and reconciliation.

Learn more:


Naomi Woo, conductor

Ken MacDonald, horn, narrator

Jodi Contin, singer & story teller

Rhonda Snow, visual artist

Kevin Lau, composer

Alison Cox, Elder

Double the Trouble, fiddlers

Sistema Winnipeg, violin ensemble

Script by Jodi Contin, Ken MacDonald, and Rhonda Snow. Music by Kevin Lau with original songs by Jodi Contin and with music and consultation by Andrew Balfour. Original art and visual direction by Rhonda Snow. Consulting Elders and Knowledge Keepers: Dan Thomas, Alison Cox, Anita Chechock, Stan Cuthand, Doug Cuthand, Norman Jordan, Skuya Fasthorse, Wabishki-anaang.

Run time: approximately 71-minutes

Cost & Order Information

Cost is a flat rate of $100 per school. This includes unlimited views of the concert from March 15, 2022 until June 15, 2022, as well as access to the study guide and additional resources. Note that the content license is per school. If you teach at multiple schools, please submit an order form for each school you wish to purchase access for.

Click the link below to place your order!


Please note that our platform allows one device to be logged in per user at any given time. If there are multiple educators at your school who require simultaneous access, please send a note to Jeffrey Acosta.

Click here to download posters you can print and post in your classroom.

Digital Study Guide

WSO is proud to partner with the Manitoba Orff Chapter to develop comprehensive, curriculum-based study guides for the Musical Discoveries and Adventures in Music educational concert series with the goal of helping students engage with the music and prepare for their live concert experience.

Access to the digital study guide, audio examples, and additional resources are included with your order for The Spirit Horse Returns. These materials will be available soon.

Authors: Amanda Ciavarelli, Jewel Casselman & Liz Kristjanson, with coordination by Dawn Muir. Thank you to MOC for their ongoing partnership and support.


For more information

Program Inquiries: Brent Johnson, Associate Director, Education and Community
(204) 949-3967 |

Order & Payment Inquiries: Jeffrey Acosta, Education & Sistema Manager
(204) 949-3971 |