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 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
|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!