What do you think of when you hear the word CANADA?
Second largest country?
Most amazing country on earth?!
or maybe you think of the Mounties.
My in-laws are visiting Justin and me this week. His mom is quite the horse appreciator so we rushed home from their Vancouver arrival to the RCMP Musical Ride.
The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka Mounties) are about as Canadian as you can get. Add skilled horses and you've got a-boot the best stereotype ever, eh? Where's the maple syrup?
The musical ride is a party of thirty-two officers displaying intricate and stunning horsemanship in pre-arranged maneuvers to both awe crowds and retain a part of our national heritage.
According to the RCMP website, the musical ride began because a bunch of officers were bored. Nice. I'm sure lots of man-taunting and betting were involved. Apparently they must have entertained someone because the tradition lives on.
Accidentally arriving one and a half hours early gave ample time to visit the stables, horses, and riders before the main event. They were being kept clean and cozy at the exhibition grounds.
For you other horse appreciators out there, the horses are Hanovarian: bred for colour, temperment, and size. The maple leaf on the horse's rump is created using a stencil and brushing hair against the grain, or whatever, using a damp brush.
Rain didn't keep the crowds away. The Musical Ride travels throughout the country so you never know when it'll be coming around. The two day show was a lucky fluke for my town. A neighbouring city had to bail so we picked up the open spot. Wet coast weather wasn't going to hold us back. I'm glad it worked out for my mother-in-law to see the show.
Incredibly, a rider told us that 80% of officers chosen had never ridden a horse before applying. Being a member of the musical ride is quite the honour. Of five hundred applicants, only fifteen are chosen each year.
Be warned though: this is a three year post with no free time during the summer. Practise is twice a day while training the first year and who knows how much once you begin performing.
Of course, you must have two years of active RCMP officer duty before applying for position of rider.
I tell you all of this, you know, just in case you were considering a career change.