Tuesday, July 23, 2024

RCMP Musical Ride kicks off in Ottawa Thursday

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It’s a Canadian symbol and tradition, the world-famous RCMP Musical Ride is ready for another summer of touring.

Superintendent Kevin Fahey, Musical Ride and Heritage Branch Officer in Charge, said, “To be part of the performance is quite an honor. We practice all year long. We start practicing in the month of January, and it all culminates all the way through to the tour, the annual tour. And we take the program on the road and travel and see Canadians. And, so it’s quite an honor not only to represent the RCMP, but to represent Canada.”

Ottawa audiences are fortunate, the RCMP Musical Ride Centre is located in the capital, and that means free Musical Ride performances. Canadian Sunset Ceremonies are scheduled from June 27 to June 30, every night at 7 p.m.

This year’s Musical Ride will be different than in years past, with brand new choreography.

Corporal Amber Gambling, Musical Ride Instructor and Trainer, said, “There’s a lot of new moves that we’ve never done before, so we had to learn those and the horses had to learn those.”

Not only do the riders love performing in the show, the horses love it too.

Gambling says, “There is one horse, Pots, that I was riding this year and he actually dances to the music. One of the songs come on, the crowd starts clapping, and he will lift his feet to the song. It’s really something special.”

For the officers involved in the Musical Ride, this is their full-time job while they are stationed here.

Inspector Kelly Godard, Musical Ride Officer in Charge, says, “Clean the stalls, muck the stalls, get their horses prepared. So the grooming, get their gear ready, they would turn out, they would go and ride for an hour and a half. They would return. They would have to clean their tack, clean their horses, feed the horses, clean up the barn. And then they’d do it all again in the afternoon. So this is all in preparation for when we tour in the summer time.”

Prince Charles watches a performance of the RCMP Musical Ride in Ottawa, during the Canadian Royal tour, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

While admission is free, those attending Saturday’s performance are asked to drop off a food donation.

“Usually we’ll have an opportunity as well to support the local community. And this year, at our sunset ceremonies, it’ll be for the Ottawa Food Bank,” said Fahey.

The RCMP Musical Ride will tour this summer in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba.

“We have some jumping, some dog relays, we’ll have the pipes and drums band,” says Fahey, “We’ll have some outside riders who’ll be doing some drills as well, and then concluding with the music ride. So we hope you come and see us.” 

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