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RCMP Musical Ride Gallops Into Gibsons, B.C. By Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 14, 2013 12:14

Musical Ride entering Dempster Field at Brothers Park in Gibsons

taken by Duane Burnett of Duane’s World


I first had the privilege of seeing our RCMP Musical Ride when Expo 86 was held in Vancouver. I watched that performance, beautifully backlit by the sunset over the city, and was awestruck at the incredible precision of these horses and riders. When I heard that the Musical Ride was going to visit our small town of Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of B.C., I was thrilled to find out that the horses were going to be stabled in our neighbourhood and that I would have an opportunity to meet them individually.
As beautiful as the polished performances are, behind the scenes is often where we learn the most. When I asked about the history of the Musical Ride, I found out that it originally evolved from the North West Mounted Police. Uniforms were worn, lances were carried, horses wore ceremonial white head ropes, and were taught to carry out traditional military drill movements, just as they are today. The first Musical Ride performance was held at the Regina barracks in 1887 and regular public performances started in 1904, carrying on across the country ever since. Thirty-five riders, thirty-six horses, a farrier, a technical production manager and three Non-Commissioned Officers travel with the Musical Ride. The tour takes place between May and October, and includes Canada, the United States, and select International venues.
I was interested to hear that the horses are all bred by the RCMP themselves, rather than bought from other sources, and that the first breeding farm was at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan. In 1968, breeding was moved to the detachment near Pakenham, Ontario, because the larger Saskatchewan facilities were no longer needed.

New foal and future Musical Ride member photo taken at the RCMP Breeding Farm in Pakenham, Ontario

The photo of the new foal came from the RCMP Media Center at:



Thoroughbreds were originally used, but in 1989, the force purchased Hanoverian mares and stallions to cross-breed with existing Thoroughbreds. The horses I met at Chaster Creek Stables on July 30 were of this mixed bloodline, all black and approximately the same height, 16 – 17 hands. Their intelligence and gentle temperament was evident, as crowds ranging from babies to the elderly walked through the stables, stopping to pet them freely. Even though these horses are naturally agile and athletic, their training is never rushed. General training starts at age 3 and takes approximately 3 more years. Many of the horses continue with the Musical Ride past the age of 20.

Casey could be as sweet as he was cheeky. Moments after this photo was taken he grabbed his feed pail and flung it into the alleyway, demanding supper!

Photo Carol M. Upton


The Gibsons performance included the iconic British Columbia Regiment Irish Pipes and our very own Coast Cow Girls Drill Team. Proceeds from the show were donated to our local Hospital Foundation. Annually, the Musical Ride helps approximately 40 communities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a number of excellent causes. What a gift to all of us!

Several of these giant trailers were needed to transport all the equine members of the Musical Ride and their equipment.

Photo Carol M. Upton

RCMP Musical Ride Equine Members at rest on the day of their Gibsons performance.

Photo Carol M. Upton.

The Ride is touring British Columbia at the moment and will perform in High River, Alberta on September 9. If you have a chance to see this living example of our country’s history and national identity, you won’t want to miss it! For more information and a tour schedule, please visit the RCMP website at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website: www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
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Show Trail: Canadian Nationals Arabian and Half Arabian 2012 -Manitoba By Carol M. Upton

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 23, 2012 09:39

“He has the flanks of an antelope, the legs of an ostrich, the trot of a wolf and the gallop of a young fox.” ~ Edouard al-Dahdah, a breeder and lover of Desert Arabian Horses
Although summer has long fled, even here in B.C., I greatly want to share my experience this August at the 2nd Annual Canadian National Arab and Half-Arab Championships in Brandon, Manitoba. I don’t often attend major horse shows focusing on one breed, so this opportunity could only be described as a thrill for me.

The show, a flagship event for the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), hauled in for a week at the Keystone Center in mid-August. My first surprise was to hear how much revenue this generated within Brandon over that week - 8 to 10 million dollars overall. Show exhibitors arrived from 40 states and 6 provinces with roughly 750 horses to compete in 187 classes – and downtown Brandon was abuzz with retail activity from morning until night as classes proceeded.
The atmosphere was extraordinarily friendly in the barns and the spectacular Trade Show. There was ample opportunity to say hello to breeders and competitors, or relax in front of their viewing areas, watching dvds of the horses in show and available for sale. It was evident everywhere we went that education and training in responsible horsemanship and horse welfare is paramount to these individuals and organizations. What an incredible level of involvement, especially for our young folks!
Being new to it all, I was particularly enamoured of the special evening performances like the Best of Breeding Mares and Stallions, and the purebred Native Costume and Park Championships. I could not do these performances justice with my small digital, but you can see it all for yourself next year!

Videos, live feeds and results can be found at the Arabian Horse Association link: http://www.arabianhorses.org/competitions/nationalevents/canadiannationals/2012/
There are exhibitors from all across North America designated as “Discovery Farms”, a designation that indicates their willingness to introduce visitors in-person to this incredible athletic and romantic breed in a non-sales atmosphere. The purebred Arabian is today virtually the same as that ridden in the ancient Middle East. More information on Discovery Farms can be found at this link:

Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
Website:      www.dreamsaloud.ca
Twitter:         http://twitter.com/#!/Karolka
LinkedIn:      http://linkd.in/qyQNxy
Facebook:   http://on.fb.me/dTidfK

HOT:          http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=79

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