A distinctly Canadian musical event is heading to the region early next month – the RCMP Musical Ride.
A full troop of 32 RCMP riders and horses performing cavalry drills choreographed to music on Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Centre in Nanoose Bay.
The RCMP Musical Ride tours throughout Canada as well as internationally at 40 to 50 locations a year between the months of May and October. The Ride came from a desire by early members of the North-West Mounted Police to display their riding ability and also entertain.
Many of these early members had a British military background and were practised in traditional cavalry drill movements. In 1887 they named it the Musical Ride at the Regina barracks, but the shows didn’t become public until 1904. The event became a permanent entity of the RCMP in 1961.
The ride varies from year to year as new instructors alter the movements and formations slightly. The moves stem from the ability to move a mounted cavalry regiment with organization, control, timing and co-ordination.
The Dome is one of the most recognizable formations that take shape at the event, and was once featured on the Canadian $50 bill. The Charge is also an anticipated segment, when the horses charge and the riders lower their lances marked by red and white pennons.
RCMP Musical Ride helps charities and non-profit organizations raise money, and the event is being co-presented by the Parksville Rotary AM Club, which in turn serves the needs of the community.
Tickets to the show are $10, and ages three and under are free. Buy them from Marlin Travel, Parksville Close to You, Parksville Chamber of Commerce and Qualicum Beach RCMP detachment.
People are encouraged to come early, visit the stables and meet the RCMP riders and horses.
Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Centre is at 1515 Island Hwy in Nanoose Bay.