Close Connection: Queen Elizabeth and the RCMP Musical Ride – September 22, 1977

July 20th, 2017

The Musical Ride is a well-known fixture of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). With 32 riders, the Musical Ride travels across Canada and internationally, showcasing spectacular choreographed performances. You can’t get any more Canadian than watching Mounties carry out impressive cavalry skills on horseback while fully kitted out in the iconic Red Serge and Stetson.

However, a lesser known fact about the Musical Ride is its relationship with Queen Elizabeth II. If you peek into the past, you’ll see the Queen’s lifelong affection and intuitive affinity for horses. So, when the RCMP were thinking of a gift for their Honorary Commissioner, Queen Elizabeth, they decided on the perfect present: a horse.

In 1968, the RCMP’s riding master, S/Sgt. Ralph Cave, presented Burmese, a beautiful Musical Ride service horse to Her Majesty. In no time at all, Burmese stood out as a favourite. For over 20 years Burmese was among royalty, but unfortunately Burmese passed away in 1990. Since Burmese, the RCMP has given the Queen four other horses: Centenial (1973), James (1998), George (2009), and Sir John (2016).

Returning the honour in 2002, Queen Elizabeth gave a horse from her personal collection to the RCMP in recognition of her Golden Jubliee, marking 50 years as reigning monarch.

Although you may not have known it, Queen Elizabeth and the RCMP Musical Ride have shared a close connection for nearly five decades.

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