The amazing club members at home hosted the RCMP musical ride this past weekend at our club facilities. How awesome is that? I was incredibly sad to miss it, and even more upset that I couldn't be there to pitch in and help get the grounds ready.
I've previously seen them once before at home, and again at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver last summer. They are comprised of a troop of 36 riders and horses that spend the summer months touring around Canada. Here in Canada, we see the mounties all the time. You see them even more frequently if you belong to a certain element of the population ;). Less often, we see them in their red serge and riding boots on special occasions. Holidays, parades, heck, one even walked me up to the stage receive my high school diploma. What we don't usually see is them actually riding horses.
The RCMP are federal police officers, policing all of Canada. They are assigned different posts throughout their career, often travelling from one end of the county to the other. All of the riders in the musical ride are regular staff members who have applied for a 3 year posting on the musical ride. Most have no prior equestrian experience and once accepted to the program attend a very rigorous training program.
The horses are Hanoverian, bred specially by the RCMP at a farm in Ontario. They are bred to be uniformly black, have excellent temperaments and enough stamina to stand up to a very busy summer touring schedule.
Why am I exceptionally sad to miss them this time? A few years ago, we met an RCMP officer and his wife through some good friends. After talking horses a time or two, and some changes in their personal situation, he decided he'd like to try out for the musical ride. I gave him a lesson or two on Lainey and showed him the basics of horse care and handling- he was a natural. They moved away about a year or so ago - he had been accepted for training for the musical ride in Ottawa! So, this visit would have had extra special meaning - I would have loved to have been there to cheer him on :)
If you're curious, there's much more info at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca