RCMP’s Musical Ride fills the stands in Maxville
Several drivers on their way to see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride in Maxville on Saturday found themselves caught in a frustrating 45-minute traffic jam.
But once they were in their seats in the Kenyon Agricultural grandstands or spread out in tiers on the grass around the infield, irritation changed to joy with the start of a Glengarry-flavoured edition of one of the world’s most spectacular equestrian shows, and a Canadian tradition since 1873.
Before the show and while the horses were led out of their huge trailers for a warm-up on the grassy field north of the infield (a sight in itself for the handful of people who chanced to venture there) the crowd was entertained by the Connie Blaney Juvenile Pipe Band, members of the MacCulloch Dancers, and to wind up, Glengarry’s rollicking Celtic roots rock band, Fridge Full of Empties.
It was the first time in a good many years, 16 to be exact, that the Ride has stopped in Maxville, and people came from distances as far as Montreal and Ottawa to see the performance.
The 32 mounted officers in their scarlet tunics and bearing flagged lances entered the field through the south gate while piper Jack Yourt in red serge, a member of the RCMP Pipes and Drums and
Dancers - National Edition, was introduced as the day’s piper.
Announcer Bob Cleary reported that Mr. Yourt, who is a former president of the Glengarry Highland Games, was recently honoured with The Commanding Officer's Commendation from the RCMP Pipes and Drums, “in recognition of his outstanding dedication and performance as a volunteer member of the pipe band.” Mr Yourt’s bagpipes sang out and eyes turned to a heartstopping sight at the south end of
the field. Lining up in single row were the officers mounted on Black Hanoverian stock thoroughbreds.
As they waited, an antique buggy drawn by a team of fullbrother Arabian horses, 16 and 17 years old, entered the field. Mr. Cleary introduced the event’s guest of honour, Chris McDonell, mayor of North Glengarry, who was riding in the buggy behind coachman Adrian St. Denis.
The crowd was told that the beautiful high-stepping Arabians
with their arched necks and flagging tails, were rescued from the meat barn by Adrian and Annie St. Denis. At this, the crowd of over 4,000 let out a collective “Aw” before cheering and applauding.
After a turn around the field to the front of the stands where Mr. McDonell stepped off, the horses and buggy left the field, the crowd cheering all the way.
Eyes then turned south where the riders were moving forwards towards the centre of the infield. What came next was 45 minutes
of pure delight that began with a short drill to Stan Rogers’
Northwest Passage, his moving tribute to the spirit of adventure.
Many complicated and intricate drills and figures followed, the precision of the equitation drawing cheers from the crowd who were told by the announcer to cheer and clap -- “the horses and riders appreciate it,” he said.
After the final lance charge, members of the audience were invited to step onto the field with their cameras to meet the horses
and their riders.
Among the young people who gleefully crowded in was nineyear-old William Maclean from Loch Garry Rd. who said he really enjoyed what he had just seen, especially the horses when they charged, and that he would be happy to see it again. William also confessed that it had crossed his mind that he might like to wear a red tunic one day.
Five-year-old Mila Poulin from Martintown and her friends Jaden Cornelissen and Jaden’s threeyear old brother Kennedy, pressed in to pet Flash, a gentle-natured 10-year-old gelding mounted by Constable Catherine Ouellet. As the children reached to touch his face, the 16-hand horse reached his head down to be petted, closing his eyes as he let several dozen small hands roam over his nose and face.
On Monday, organizers were
still in awe at the success of the event.
“Wasn’t it wonderful? It’s overwhelming to think how many people came out,” said President of the Glengarry Highland Games Lindsay McCulloch. “The enthu- siasm and support were unbelievable.”
“You want be proud to be a Canadian? Go see it,” said Mr. McCulloch about the show. “And then you think about our local talent who were there and how proud they made us feel.”
Saturday’s Musical Ride was a joint fundraiser for the Kenyon Agricultural Society and the Glengarry Highland Games. Without knowing how many people would turn up or what the weather would be, organizers managed to plan and host a wonderful event on a beautiful day showcasing Canada’s equestrian goodwill ambassadors.
P.T. Barnum is remembered for many quotes, but it’s his gentle observation that “the noblest art is that of making others happy” that fits the bill here.
MUSICAL RIDE: Thirty-two RCMP officers mounted on high-stepping horses were the centre of attention at the Maxville Fairgrounds on Saturday for the RCMP’s Musical Ride. The free admission event was a fundraiser for the Kenyon Agricultural Society and the Glengarry Highland Games.
LITTLE MOUNTIE: Wheeler Latreille, 2, of Montreal in a RCMP outfit, was visiting with his grandparents Susan and Michel Latreille from Maxville. Here he watches the Musical Ride from his dad Claude Latreille’s lap.