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Reflections: Remembering the pageantry and skill of the RCMP Musical Ride

Columnist Erna De Burger-Fex recalls a time (before seatbelt laws) when she piled 11 kids into her station wagon to see the Mounties in action
RCMP musical ride

I have always appreciated the glorious colours of the ceremonial dress of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Their beautiful red serge coats and the elegant black horses with the maple leaf stencil on their haunches.

A number of years ago, I heard an announcement on the radio that the RCMP Musical Ride would be performing at Sudbury Arena. I was definitely going to attend this breath-taking performance. 

We had a large station wagon at the time so besides my three daughters. I invited any neighbourhood kids who wanted to come. In total, I had 11 children in the car — obviously before seat belt laws had ever been heard of. None of them had never seen this quintessential Canadian spectacle.
The children were excited and well-behaved. When we arrived at the arena, they all disembarked and waited with elated chatter for me to park the car. When I approached the box office, the clerk asked me how many people were accompanying me. When I told him that I had brought 11 children with me, he charged me $5 for the whole bunch. 

He felt, as I did, that the kids needed to experience this distinctly Canadian pageant. Having enjoyed the Musical Ride previously I wondered how this could be performed in the confines of our hockey rink. We managed to find the numerous seats we required and waited for the performance to begin.
Suddenly, the lights were momentarily dimmed and we heard the clopping sound of the horses’ hooves. The lights went on and there they were, the Mounties, on their horses circling the ice area at quite a speed. 

Because of the tightness of the oval surface, they were very close to the boards so that we all enjoyed the beauty of the spectacle. It was breathtaking as they performed their intricate manoeuvers in and out and around without hesitation. 

They completed their performance facing out towards the audience all around. The thunderous ovation did not frighten the horses. We were invited to approach the smiling RCMP riders, ask questions and rub the horses’ noses. The children were thrilled! We noticed there were male and female riders, a fact that surprised the kids.

In the car on the way home to Lively I heard only positive comments about Canada’s National Police Force. I was glad that we had experienced this sensational performance together.

Erna de Burger-Fex is a writer and retired teacher who writes about aging and the funny side of getting older. Got a question for Erna? Email