RCMP Musical Ride veteran leads his last show
After a career spent representing Canada around the world on horseback, Sgt. Maj. Bill Stewart has led his last RCMP Musical Ride.
Stewart performed for the last time on Canada Day, wrapping up a career that spanned almost 40 years.
“I came to the musical ride tryout in 1974 and did the ’76 and ’76 rides,” he said. “I then came back as an instructor in 1978 and I’ve been here ever since.”
His time showcasing Canadian riding talent in the signature red serge included training riders to perform for the Queen during visits to Canada.
“I’ve had the privilege of escorting her majesty on numerous occasions here in Canada when she visits, as well as members of the Royal Family,” he said.
“I’ve had the unique privilege of having had the opportunity to ride with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle on a number of occasions.”
Queen Elizabeth II made Stewart a member of the Royal Victorian Order earlier this year, an honour Stewart called “one of the highlights of my career.”
“It’s been an absolutely wonderful career, to be able to spend so much time doing something that you really, really like,” he said. “At the same time, I’m really looking forward to getting on with the next phase of my life.”
In what could be surprising, he said that next phase won’t include horses, the animal that’s helped him share Canadian spirit with the world.
“I’ve had the great fortune of travelling with the musical ride and seeing . . . not only how much the RCMP is respected, but how our great country of Canada is seen around the world,” he said.
The first official musical ride was performed in Regina in 1887 to show police's riding ability, meaning this is its 125th anniversary.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Ellen Mauro