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RCMP: The Musical Ride
One of the most famous symbols of Canada is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in their red jackets and brown Stetson hats. A specially trained group of RCMP officers, or Mounties, perform intricate manoeuvres on horseback in a spectacle known as the Musical Ride.
The Ride Begins
In 1867, Canada had just become its own country and it was growing and changing quickly. The country’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, was worried about keeping law and order in such a huge area. So in 1873, Canada’s government set up the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP). They were police officers who enforced the country’s laws, while on horseback.
Early members of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) wanted to show off their riding skills. So the officers practised cavalry drill manoeuvers choreographed to music. They called it the Musical Ride and, in 1904, they gave the first public performances in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. When the police force became the RCMP, in 1920, the tradition of the Musical Ride continued.
The Musical Ride Today
Each year, about 800 RCMP officers apply to take part in the Musical Ride, but only 12 to 15 are chosen. Although women were admitted to the force only in 1974, many of the officers in the Musical Ride are women.
It takes about 16 weeks of gruelling practice for the 32 riders and their horses to put together a Musical Ride show. They must learn many patterns and figures, with names such as the Bridal Arch, the Wagon Wheel, Thread the Needle, and the Dome.
The Musical Ride Horses
The horses are perhaps more important than the officers in the Musical Ride. They must be good-natured and able to cope well with constantly changing sights and sounds. Elegant and athletic, they must also be able to work extremely close together. All horses in the Musical Ride are black because they look so impressive with the Mounties’ red coats.
When the horses are three years old, they begin training to deal with parades, traffic, and crowds. At age 6, they begin special Musical Ride training, and some horses perform with the Ride until they are more than 20 years old.
Just before the performance, each rider takes a wet brush and stencil and marks a maple leaf on their horse’s rump. Every Musical Ride ends with the horses and riders charging down the field—a dramatic end to an event that is a unique part of Canadian history.
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1. What is the Musical Ride?CorrectIncorrect
2. Match the characteristics of Musical Ride horses to the reason they need the characteristic.
they are easy to train during the gruelling practice
to deal with parades, traffic, and crowds
they look so impressive with the Mounties’ red coats
They need to be good-natured so that…
They need to able to cope with constantly changing sights and sounds…
They need to be all black because…
3. How many RCMP officers who apply to take part in the Musical Ride are turned down each year?CorrectIncorrect
4. How many weeks of practice does it take to put a Musical Ride show together?CorrectIncorrect
5. Select the names of the manoeuvers the horses and riders have to learn mentioned in the article.CorrectIncorrect
6. Would you like to participate in the RCMP Musical Ride? Explain why or why not.
Great answer!Great answer!
Type your response above.