As a retired member of the RCMP, I have performed with the Musical Ride in 1956 (touring northeastern Canada and USA in such places as New York, Chicago, Toronto and Ottawa), and in 1957 (performing six months in England, including three performances for the Queen in Windsor, and in Scotland at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and in other cities in both countries).
When the RCMP was formed in 1873, its members patrolled on horseback the Great Trek West was done on horseback. The Musical Ride was always part of the RCMP.
All members of the Musical Ride are regular members of the RCMP. The first Musical Ride was performed at Regina in 1887 and performed many places in the world and was always well-received to a packed crowd after that.
I served on detachment in Port Alberni and Campbell River, B.C. in between the Rides. During my time on the Ride, a few riders were thrown by their mount.
I remember in 1958 at the Calgary Stampede, five members were dumped from their horses much to the glee of the cowboys sitting on the fence nearby. Some horses continued riderless in formation while others dashed around the arena. I was never thrown by a horse in the Musical Ride or in training. Riding was part of our training in 1955; however, it was discontinued in 1966.
Horses are like people some are leaders and some are followers. In 1956 and 1957, I rode Terry in the Ride. (He was a follower, which was the position I had.) In 1958, I rode Jimmie a leader as I was a lead rider that year. Some horses love to be in parades or leading the ride, and show it by their gait.
I loved the Ride and hope it stays with riders for another 100 years.
John R. Ginter
Radium Hot Springs