RCMP’s Mu­si­cal Ride fills the stands in Maxville

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

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.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

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.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

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.

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