The RCMP Musical Ride performed a variety of formations for a sold-out audience at the Lacombe Ag Grounds on Aug. 16. (Nykole King)
Lacombe was one stop out of dozens this past weekend as the RCMP Musical Ride makes its way across the country.
It was a packed house at the Lacombe Ag Society Grounds, as it was the first time the show has stopped in Lacombe. It gave the audience a look into the efforts for RCMP to train police animals for service in the field.
The focus shifted to a different division with the police dog demonstration taking the stage first. Showing some of the drills they use on their new canine recruits, they highlighted the rigorous training which is done from the Police Dog Service Training Centre located in Innisfail.
From there, the main act launched as horses trotted onto the field, the RCMP officers sitting high on horseback with flags in hand. As it started to rain on the audience, the officers looked unfazed as they galloped around the outside perimeter.
They united in a line to then break off at the middle, both segments curving along the sides to return back to to formation in the centre. Fading into the next, the choreograph featured cavalry stances and star formations, mostly highlighting the precision needed to execute the moves when cutting in sharply and weaving in between on another.
Sitting in the crowd was former musical ride member John Ginter who toured in the mid 1950s before moving to detachment. He was joined by his family who lives in Sylvan Lake.
“It was really good – I enjoyed it. Their horses are even bigger because they breed their own now,” Ginter said.
During his time with the RCMP Musical Ride, he toured in the United States, England and Scotland. He said that most things are quite similar to back when he was involved, but the most noticeable is that the ride had its own band which played more military music.
Although the ride started out with rain and a chilly wind, the weather improved about halfway through with the sun coming out and a rainbow appearing behind the crimson-coated officers.
After the show, each member of the ride dispersed around the corral area to speak with the audience. Each mountie swarmed by groups of people beaming up at the officer.
“I’m glad they kept the ride. I think it’s a great representation of Canada,” Ginter said proudly.
The musical ride is more than just a show, however, as it supports a variety of local charities across the country. This year’s stop in Lacombe was in support of the Blackfalds FCSS Winter Coat Program, as well as the Blackfalds Food Bank.