Members of the Musical Ride are first and foremost police officers who, after a minimum of two years of active police work, volunteer for duty with the Musical Ride.
Every year approximately 800 officers from across Canada make this application, however only 45 are chosen to come to Ottawa for the five-week Basic Equitation Course.
RCMP members remain with the Musical Ride for three years which ensures an annual rotation of approximately one third of the riders.
The Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of thirty-two riders and horses, plus the member in charge. The Musical Ride consists of the execution of a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drill choreographed to music. Demanding utmost control, timing, and coordination, these movements are formed by individual horses and riders, in twos, fours, and eights at the trot and at the canter.
One of the more familiar Musical Ride formations is the “Dome,” once featured on the back of the Canadian fifty-dollar bill. The highlight of the Musical Ride is, without a doubt, the CHARGE when lances, with their red and white pennons, are lowered and the riders and their mounts launch into the gallop.
The conclusion of the performance is the March Past performed to the strains of the RCMP’s Regimental March where the Musical Ride traditionally salutes the guest of honour.
The RCMP Musical Ride tours throughout Canada, as well as international venues, performing at approximately forty locations annually during a 100-day tour between the months of May and October.
The Horses of the Musical Ride
In 1873, the horses of the NWMP had to be rugged and tough since they were the primary mode of transportation for officers. Today an RCMP horse must be black, elegant, and athletic with a good nature and enough heart and stamina to carry it through approximately one hundred performances of the Musical Ride.
The RCMP has bred and raised its own horses since 1939 and today the national police force is known to produce some of the finest horses in the country.
The RCMP horse breeding program began at Depot Division, Regina, Saskatchewan, and was subsequently moved to Fort Walsh in 1942, the site of a NWMP fort built in 1875 in the beautiful Cypress Hills of south western Saskatchewan. Fort Walsh was home of the breeding program until 1968 when the operation was moved to Pakenham, Ontario about 30 miles west of Ottawa.
The RCMP Breeding Farm in Pakenham is built on one hundred and forty hectares of lush Ottawa Valley land where the Remounts spend the first three years of their life, growing, developing, and maturing before becoming Musical Ride horses and moving to the home of the Musical Ride, the Rockcliffe Park Equestrian Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
2012 Musical Ride Tour
The Musical Ride travels to every province on a four-year rotational basis. The 2012 tour includes Ontario and Manitoba. The 2013 tour includes Northern Ontario and British Columbia; Quebec and Alberta in 2014.
RCMP Musical Ride Tour Schedule
Location Show Date Host Organization
Paisley, ON June 20 Paisley Agricultural Society
Clinton, ON June 21 Bayfield Agricultural Society
Toronto, ON June 24 Queen’s Plate
Ottawa, ON June 26-30 Sunset Ceremonies
Calgary, AB July 6 Calgary Stampede 100th Anniversary
Brandon, MB July 18 North American Belgian Championship VII
Morris, MB July 21 Manitoba Stampede & Exhibition
Deloraine, MB July 25 Deloraine Community Development Corp
The Pas, MB July 27 The Pas Rotary Club
Wasagaming, MB July 29 Riding Mountain National Park
McCreary, MB July 31 McCreary Agricultural Society
Lundar, MB August 2 Lundar Agricultural Society
Winnipeg, MB August 3 Assiniboia Downs
Teulon, MB August 4 Interlake Riding Club Inc
Beausejour, MB August 5 Beausejour Centennial Committee
West St Paul, MB August 6 RM of West St. Paul
Carman, MB August 8 Dufferin Agricultural Society Inc
Town of Blue Mountains, ON August 25 Cedar Run
Orangeville, ON August 28 Orangeville Agricultural Society
Rockton, ON August 30 Rockton Agricultural Society
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON August 31 The Friends of Fort George
Windsor, ON September 2 Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Assoc
Shedden, ON September 6 Rosy Rhubarb Festival
London, ON September 7 London-Elgin-Middlesex Crime Stoppers
Caledonia, ON September 12 St.Patricks Catholic School
Welland, ON September 14 Niagara Regional Exhibition
Uxbridge, ON September 19 Uxbridge Horsemen’s Association
Lindsay, ON September 21 Lindsay Agricultural Society
Picton, ON September 25 Prince Edward Yacht Club
Topsfield, MA September 29 Topsfield Fair
Please note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride
Part 1: RCMP Musical Ride
Like water flowing over the rocks in a river, our lives touch all who are near us. Let your life leave good marks on those you touch.