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RCMP Musical Ride kicks off a new season with the Sunset Ceremonies in Ottawa

A truly Canadian tradition, the RCMP Musical Ride's sunset ceremonies return to the capital for the May long weekend. It is a horseback spectacle sure to wow the audience, as the RCMP celebrates a 150-year milestone.

The troop is a well-groomed regiment of 24 equines, and their police partners, who will dazzle crowds in a show of cavalry that has been performed since 1873.

"When you think of Canada, for me, it is the Mountie in red serge on horseback. It is very iconic,” RCMP Const. Devonna Coleman says. "We go through pretty intense, vigorous training for six weeks when you first arrive to try out for the Musical Ride. Most of the riders are typically assigned one horse that they will ride throughout the tour season."

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ceremonial Unit trains five days a week, sometimes twice a day, in order to perfect the complicated routine. It involves the troop riding knee-to-knee, criss-crossing between one another, and running, or as the horse world calls it - cantering in formation and various patterns to music.

While there is plenty to see, just as much can be learned. For instance, the first name of every horse corresponds to the year it is born.

"This year, the letter is ‘W’," says Const. Coleman. "Each year, we have a contest called 'Name the Foal', where children all over Canada can enter a name into a submission."

But in this cavalry, there is one exception. A mare named Victoria, who was born in 2017, when the letter was 'O', and it’s because of her royal ties.

"Victoria’s mother was a gift to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in 2012," says Const. Chris Russell, who has been paired with her this year. "Elizabeth (Victoria’s mother) was such an honour for the Queen, vowed that the first-born foal to Elizabeth would be regifted back to the RCMP. She’s an exceptional horse and this is her first year that she is training and touring with the RCMP Musical Ride.”

The RCMP 150th Anniversary tour of The Musical Ride will perform in communities across Canada, raising funds for local charities and organizations. 

In Ottawa, there are four family-friendly events on May 19, 20 and 21 followed by the milestone 150-year performance on May 23. All shows begin at 7 p.m. at the RCMP Stables and admission is free.

Those who wish to attend are welcome to bring blankets and chairs and should arrive early to get a good spot. There are vendors on site and the event features the RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers, Capital Cowgirls, and the Governor General’s Foot Guard Bands. Top Stories

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