Precision, pageantry, and plenty of horses await at Lower Fort Garry. The RCMP Musical Ride is an expertly choreographed treat for the senses, steeped in Canada’s history and culture. On August 1 (presale tickets on sale now), Lower Fort Garry will play host to 32 riders and their horses as they perform intricate figures, cavalry drills and eye-catching formations on the historically significant site. The Musical Ride will take you on a journey to the past, when horses and riders performed season after season in cities and towns across Canada. The RCMP Musical Ride is a retro cool spectacle to write home about, even if most of us now prefer to send texts over postcards…

Embrace our storied past

Those trumpeters! Those crowds!

Lower Fort Garry is the ideal location for the RCMP Musical Ride, sharing a rich history with the traditional ride and the RCMP. The 150 NWMP (North-West Mounted Police, changed to RCMP when merged with the Dominion Police in 1920) who were stationed at the stone fort of Lower Fort Garry were sworn into the force between October 1873 and June 1874. The Fort will come alive once again with historic re-enactments, a tribute to the North West Mounted Police and authentic Indigenous dancing.

Admire highly trained horses

Horses, you’re the real MVPs.

In 1938, Commissioner S.T Wood proclaimed that all RCMP horses must be black, after seeing how sharp scarlet tunics looked against black horses at the coronation of King George VI. This tradition held strong and in 1989, black Hanoverian mares and stallions were added in to cross with the Thoroughbreds, valued for their docile personalities. Most horses start in the ride at 6 years old and undergo 2.5 years of training.

Witness years of training in action

There’s just something about that uniform.

The first recorded Musical Ride consisted of twenty men and their horses, put on public display in Regina in 1901. Since then, the number of riders has increased to 32 (plus the member in charge), with riders remaining with the Musical Ride for 3 years to maintain an annual rotation of 33% of the riders. The first female joined the Musical Ride in 1981, and by 2013, there were 18 female members in the troop.

Recognize the history of hard work

Round and round and round they go.

This year’s RCMP Musical Ride is taking place in the heart of summer – more favorable conditions than when the original NWMP members trained at Lower Fort Garry during the winter. A snow day was only called if temperatures exceeded -38 degrees Celsius, and not one Celsius less! To put emphasis on the hard work of these men, before the North West Rebellion of 1885, the NWMP doubled as mailmen and were sworn in by the postal service to work on trains through Canada.

Take in the breathtaking synchronization

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

With 32 riders in the troop, a successful musical ride requires perfect timing, precision and synchronization. You can imagine the hours of training put in to create a coordinated horse/rider combo. The use of the horses for other regular duties was stopped in 1936 – because horses need work/life balance too! The Musical Ride itself requires outstanding synchronization and organization – planned meticulously down to the final detail to plan proper location, horse care, seating, sound and master of ceremonies.

Buy your tickets now for this world-class spectacle. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time and are not available at the door.

Sources: The Musical Ride documentary by NFB, History of the RCMP Musical Ride, Horse Canada, LOVESMUKIWA

Article sponsored by Parks Canada