Saturday, September 2, 2017

RCMP Musical Ride ~ Kamloops, BC

The RCMP Musical Ride is a world renowned show of skilled RCMP members and their beautiful horses.  The tradition, which began many years ago, allows them to be ambassadors of goodwill promoting the RCMP’s image throughout Canada and the rest of the world and has been doing so for many years.

The Musical Ride arrives
The Musical Ride performs between May and October every year and by visiting up to 50 communities, their performances help raise thousands of dollars for different charities in those cities and towns.  Kamloops was one of the fortunate ones to be able to see them this year and upon entering the venue, we were given a program which included so much information and history, much of which I have shared here.

A very impressive sight
The North West Mounted Police began in 1873 and used horses to do their job in those days.  Out of boredom, they began using their drills and tricks to compete among themselves and in 1876 performed at Fort McLeod, Alta, which is likely their first public appearance.  This evolved into the Musical Ride.

Musical Ride does complicated drills
The first riding school was established in Regina in 1886 and during the winter of the next year, five performances were done at the barracks there.  Later that year a fire demolished the riding school and the depot and the ride did not resume performing until 1901.

Musical Ride in Kamloops
The first time the Musical Ride was performed outside of Western Canada was in 1908 and held in Quebec City for their 300th anniversary celebration.  This was also the first time a member of the Royal Family was to see the ride as the Prince of Wales was present.

Ambassadors of Goodwill
The Musical Ride was cancelled when WW1 broke out in 1914 and did not resume until 1920.  By then the NWMP was now the RCMP with headquarters moved to Ottawa, Ont.  During that first year, there was another division which added to Regina’s and there were two performances done by the Musical Ride.  A third division was established in Vancouver in 1930, and this division would perform there.  

Crowd watches drill with flags
The Ride first performed in England in 1930 and by 1934, it was performing in the United States.  These continued until the WW2 outbreak.  They did not perform again until 1948 but have been performing worldwide ever since. 

Musical Ride circle
It is performed by a troop of 32 and their horses and consists of a choreographed series of drills and done to music.  There is no doubt there is a lot of training done in order to have such control and coordination for the riders with these horses.  There was a time that it was mandatory for all recruits to have this training but only those assigned to the Musical Ride now get it.

 Musical Ride circles the arena
It has been many years since we’d last seen the RCMP Musical Ride and as much as we enjoyed seeing them again, I was disappointed in the venue.  I’d read that the seating allowed 3,000 but bring lawn chairs should those seats be taken.  We did manage to get there a bit early but there were perhaps half of that number of seats available (shown on the city’s ad) and all were taken.  Sitting in a lawn chair does not give anyone a true picture of the actual drill that these skilled horsemen and women are doing, but aside from that.......  their performance was flawless and amazing!

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