2012 Musical Ride

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.

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

Worth Pondering…
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.

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RCMP Musical Ride

The image of the red-coated Mountie in broad-brimmed Stetson hat is associated with Canada round the world. But there is more to the Mounties than just a romantic image.

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From the beginning of its history, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has served Canada and its people by establishing law and order in the frontier reaches of this vast nation.

Representing a colorful tradition and ceremony through the horse and the scarlet uniform, the RCMP created a spectacle known around the world as the Musical Ride.

The Origin

The Musical Ride originated from the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) as they made the Great March West across Canada in 1874. Although the original NWMP were scattered in small groups over tens of thousands of miles of unsettled prairies, they routinely practiced both mounted and foot drills.

In this time, Sergeant Major Robert Belcher and other members who directed the mounted training had been members of the British Cavalry regiments and had experience in performing drill displays.

Only after the men of the NWMP had formed their own band, did the riding displays take the form of the Musical Ride as we know it today. The performance of the drill movements accompanied by music helped the NWMP to entertain themselves during the evening or while off duty.

The Early Years

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The first recorded display of the NWMP riding performance, under the direction of Sergeant Major Belcher—and with no public in attendance—took place at Fort Macleod, Alberta in 1876. Training for and performing the Musical Ride provided relief for the officers from the daily drill periods and routine duties.

The first time the NWMP performance was named the Musical Ride was at the Regina barracks in 1887. A total of five performances were given that year. There were no public displays for many years after this because regular police duties and the creation of new posts took precedence.

The NWMP riding performance became a form of public entertainment in 1904. The troop trained under the direction of Inspector Frank Church and performed in Winnipeg, Brandon, Qu’appelle, and Regina.

Some of the Musical Ride movements are based on cavalry drills. These drills began to take shape during the eighteenth century when Frederick The Great of Prussia (1712-1786) revolutionized cavalry tactics and trained his cavalry to a standard which became the envy and ideal of other European nations.

The basis of the Ride’s movements stem from the ability to move a mounted cavalry regiment with some form of organization, e.g. single file, half sections, and sections at all three paces. Since 1887, Musical Ride Instructors have developed and elaborated on these basic movements.

The Musical Ride became a permanent entity of the RCMP in 1961. Up to 1961 it had been impossible to plan performances far in advance, as there had always been doubts about whether or not the Ride would continue.

Prior to 1961 and beginning in 1920, there were two Rides that performed in various parts of Canada and the US. One Ride was based in Rockcliffe, Ontario and the other in Regina, Saskatchewan, occasionally with other Rides trained for local performances.

RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
RCMP Musical Ride performance at Edmonton, Alberta (Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre), July 23, 2010 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Over the years, the popularity of the Musical Ride has grown and it has become a world renowned attraction.

The Ride varies from year to year as every new Instructor slightly alters the Ride movements and formations.

Please note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride

Part 2: 2012 Musical Ride

Worth Pondering…

There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe.

It has symmetry, elegance, and graced—

those qualities you find always in that which the true artist captures.

You can find it the turning of the seasons,

in the way sand trails along a ridge…

—Frank Herbert, Dune

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RV Converted to Process Impaired Drivers

The mobile impaired driving unit—a huge recreational vehicle converted into a roadside processing centre for drunk drivers—is hard to miss when Washington state troopers have it out on the road.

Washington state patrol trooper, Steve Luce, in a mobile impaired driving unit on display at Glenlyon Norfolk School, where 77 officers were installed on Alexa’s Team. (Source: Darren Stone/timescolonist.com)

It was also hard to miss when it was parked outside Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria as an example of what could be cruising British Columbia highways by early next year thanks to more than $272,000 in fundraising.

Surrey residents Laurel and Michael Middelaer, parents of four-year-old Alexa, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008, have led the fundraising to acquire “Alexa’s Bus”—a specially equipped bus that will be active throughout the Lower Mainland, reports the Times Colonist.

The command unit was shown off during a ceremony to name 77 officers from the southern part of Vancouver Island to Alexa’s Team, which recognizes officers who have given out at least 12 impaired driving charges or immediate roadside prohibitions.

Washington’s six-year-old mobile unit program has been widely praised for reducing drunk-driving related fatalities.

In 2006, the state had 340 drunk-driving related fatalities, said Washington State Police Sgt. J.P. McAuliffe, a number that dropped to 260 in 2010.

Presently, when officers initiate a criminal impaired investigation after pulling over a driver with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08, they must take the driver back to the local detachment to perform a breathalyzer test and write up the paperwork, a process that can take officers off the road for hours.

“The mobile unit speeds up the whole DUI process,” said McAuliffe, explaining that it allows an officer to be off the road for just 30 minutes.

“That officer can go off and in turn arrest another impaired driver.”

The command unit has a dispatch centre, three breathalyzer devices, a fingerprint area, and three computer terminals to allow officers to write up the paperwork and two holding cells for drunk drivers, the Times Colonist reports.

It even has an antenna that can grab video from the police aircraft that is sometimes used to record footage of suspected drunk drivers who are reported by other motorists.

It is always staffed by three officers with expertise in impaired driving and can be requested by any local police force planning a roadblock.

McAuliffe said the bus costs about $80,000 a year to staff and maintain.

In the past six years, the Washington troopers have processed 2,500 impaired drivers and seen a steady reduction in the number of impaired-related fatalities.

“It brings huge efficiency to the operation side of impaired driving enforcement, and the other side of it is public awareness,” said Insp. Ted Emanuels, the officer in charge of the RCMP Lower Mainland traffic section.

The RV is also used as an educational tool, put on display at special events and on holidays when drinking and driving is a problem, such as New Year’s Eve.

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Worth Pondering…

I choose to live by Choice, not by chance; to make Changes, not excuses.
To be motivated, not manipulated; to be useful, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.

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Charges Laid in Death of Alberta RVers

The RCMP has charged Travis Vader, 40, with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann.

Lyle and Marie McCann. Photo courtesy Global

Vader had been identified for some time by authorities as a suspect in the disappearance, but had yet to be charged.

It’s been more than twenty months since Lyle and Marie McCann went missing during a road trip from their home in St. Albert, a northern suburb of Edmonton, Alberta to visit family in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.

The McCanns, both in their 70s, were last seen July 3, 2010 fueling up their motorhome at a gas station in their hometown of St. Albert. Their credit card had not been used since they bought that gas.

Their burning RV was found two days later at Minnow Lake campground near Edson, Alberta, about 120 miles west of Edmonton. The registration was pulled out of the motorhome before it was destroyed by fire; the documents showed that the McCanns were the owners.

On July 10, seven days after they left their home, the McCanns failed to meet their daughter, Trudy Holder, in Abbotsford, B.C. She contacted RCMP to report them missing.

That’s when RCMP first linked the missing couple to the burned RV.

Alberta Mounties admitted they botched the early stages of the investigation after police went to the burning motorhome and found the McCanns’ registration papers. They called the McCann home, but abandoned the chase when there was no answer.

If my motorhome is ever found burned in a remote location and the police phone my home to inform me and there’s no answer, I sure hope they send an officer out to talk to my neighbors and ask about my whereabouts. I also hope that they would do that immediately—not over a week after I’m reported missing.

Travis Vader takes stand in sentencing hearing . (Courtesy: edmonton.ctv.ca)

On July 16, the green Hyundai Tucson SUV the couple had been towing was found abandoned in thick bush about 18 miles east of Edson.

That same day, police announced a manhunt for Travis Vader who they said was a “person of interest” in the investigation, and warned the public not to approach him.

After Vader was arrested on unrelated warrants in the nearby hamlet of MacKay on July 19, RCMP upgraded his status to “suspect.”

Well-known to police, Vader has a long criminal record with 12 separate sets of charges dating back to 1995. He was wanted in connection with at least 17 drug, gun, theft, and arson charges stemming from two separate incidents.

Vader, 40, is a father of seven children, and was at one point a successful oilfield worker who owned his own businesses. But his life appears to have changed significantly after he developed a drug problem several years ago.

Though the McCanns’ remains have never been found, they were legally declared dead last summer.

In February, Vader was denied release following an Edmonton bail hearing. The decision brought an “enormous sense of relief” to the son of missing couple Lyle and Marie McCann.

“We are happy that he is staying behind bars,” said Bret McCann, at the time.

The reasons why Vader was denied release, and the arguments heard during the hearing, cannot be revealed due to a publication ban.

Vader’s first court appearance is slated for May 15 in Edson. He was arrested at the Edmonton Remand Centre, where he had been held on unrelated charges.

“Understandably, the public has many questions about what happened to the McCanns,” RCMP spokesman Staff Sgt. Shawn LeMay said in a news release issued yesterday (April 23). “Those questions will be answered in court.”

The RCMP says they won’t be commenting further on the case.

The McCanns’ son, Bret McCann, said he is relieved to see charges laid after a wait that has lasted nearly two years.

“We’re very relieved,” he told the Edmonton Journal yesterday. “We’ve waited a long time for this.”

With charges laid, Bret McCann says his family is preparing for a new phase in what has been a long and agonizing journey.

He said he is looking ahead to the preliminary hearing, which could take place this fall, where the McCann family will get to hear details of the case and the investigation for the first time.

“I’m hoping this will help us find our parents and understand what happened,” he said.
Bret McCann said he also hopes the murder charges may prompt new people to come forward with new information A $60,000 reward for information is still being offered in the case.

“This isn’t over for us,” he said. “We still need to know where our parents are.”

Worth Pondering…
Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

—Helen Keller

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