Friday, May 24, 2024

RCMP Musical Ride welcomes hundreds to its annual open house

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The RCMP’s world-famous Musical Ride held its annual open house over the weekend, welcoming the public into the force’s stables on Sandridge Road in Ottawa’s east-end.

“Horses are the draw, they’re our stars and we’re happy to show them off to people,” said Supt. Kevin Fahey, the RCMP officer in charge of the Musical Ride and Heritage Branch.

Throughout the day, visitors were invited learn from the experts like Dwayne Haye. He’s been with the RCMP for seven years as a farrier caring for the horses hooves.

“I’ve never seen the ride until I joined,” he said. “And now, it’s just a passion to see the public’s reaction on how much they respect and enjoy the horses.”

The Musical Ride is an iconic Canadian showcase of equestrian skills recognized from coast to coast and abroad.

Last year, the Mounties gifted King Charles III one of their beautiful black horses as part of the monarch’s coronation. This year, the tour will take place between May and August, with stops in Manitoba and Ontario.

King Charles III, second left, is officially presented with ‘Noble’, a horse given to him by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) earlier this year, as he formally accepts the role of Commissioner-in-Chief of the RCMP during a ceremony in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, England, Friday April 28, 2023. (Andrew Matthews, Pool Photo via AP)The day culminated in a performance by the RCMP pipes and drums. The sight of the scarlet red tunic and Stetson hat is a connection to many in the audience.

“It brings back the community piece behind it, the police work and the humanity behind police work,” said Kelly Schwerdfeger, whose brother is an RCMP officer in Vancouver.

The annual event has been in Ottawa for over thirty years. While admission is free, visitors are encouraged to donate to the Ottawa Food Bank.

In 2023, more than $3,000 was raised and over 2,300 pounds of food was collected. The Ottawa Food Bank hopes to see more donations in the face of unprecedented demand.

“Rates of food bank usage has increased since by 68 per cent since 2019 and 22 per cent since 2022, so there’s more people all the time in need to access food support who maybe never have before,” said Anthony Cardoso with the Ottawa Food Bank.

“Everything helps, I can’t stress that enough.”

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