On the occasion of the celebration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the RCMP is heading to Britain. As a warm-up for its visit to the United Kingdom, the Musical Ride offered a dazzling show at Verden, Germany. The house was packed as Verden is the main centre for the breeding of Hanoverian horses and a major meeting place for riding enthusiasts and breeders from around the world.
The show was a cooperation of the Association of Hanoverian Breeders, Tourism Saskatchewan and the Canadian Embassy in Berlin which assisted in identifying potential partnerships and contributed to promote the show through its various networks.
The RCMP has a long history with breeders associations. RCMP horses must be black, elegant, uniform in size, substance and temperament, stand sixteen to seventeen hands tall, weigh between one-thousand two-hundred pounds and one-thousand four-hundred pounds, have good solid leg bone, and conformation that lends itself to health and longevity.
The Musical Ride was developed from a desire by early members of the North-West Mounted Police to display their riding ability and entertain both themselves and the local community. Considering that the original Mounted Police members had a British military background, it was inevitable that the series of figures they performed were traditional cavalry drill movements. These movements formed the basis of the Musical Ride. Although legend has it that the first Musical Ride was performed as early as 1876, the first officially recorded Musical Ride was performed in Regina under Inspector William George Matthews in 1887.
Members of the Musical Ride are first and foremost police officers who, after at least two years of active police work, volunteer for duty with the Musical Ride. Most members are non-riders prior to their equestrian training with the RCMP; however, once they complete the courses of instruction, they not only become riders but ambassadors of goodwill. Working through a unique medium, they promote the RCMP's image throughout Canada and the world.