A special breed

Laura Hesse / The Star
July 31, 2013 09:00 PM

PSH George is introduced to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Every two years since 1995, the RCMP Foundation, in cooperation with the RCMP, has held one of Canada's most sought-after events: the RCMP Horse Auction.

This is not an auction to sell off the famous Musical Ride horses but an opportunity to purchase one of the surplus horses produced by the RCMP's outstanding breeding program, established in 1939.

Buyers travel from all over North America to attend the auction. The next one is Oct. 5 in Ottawa.

The RCMP horse has changed from the hard-working, tough and ready Calvary horse that we see in old photographs.

"We use only the highest quality of Irish Draft, Oldenburg, Westphalian, and Hanoverian lines to produce what we want," says John Phillips, RCMP Breeding Farm Manager, "horses that are black with black genetics, good size, excellent conformation, outstanding character, and temperament plus. Our broodmares come from all over the world.

"These horses must be people-friendly above all else. They must be gentle and willing. We know from the first day that the foals are born whether they will be suitable for the Musical Ride. Only six out of 10 make the grade of those that we think are suitable."

According to Sgt Major Bill Stewart, Head Trainer for the RCMP Musical Ride, "these horses must be able to handle everything from balloons to throngs of people in parade to rifle and cannon fire. We try to prepare the horses for everything. That's one of the reasons that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II loves the RCMP horses so much. The first horse gifted to Her Majesty in 1969, Burmese, is one of only two horses buried at Windsor Castle. George, who was just gifted to Her Majesty this year in honour of the 40th anniversary of Burmese's arrival, is now fulfilling his role in the Royal Mews and recently carried Prince Charles in the prestigious Trooping of Colour Ceremony in London."

If you want to own a piece of history or fall in love with one of the horses in the RCMP Musical Ride at Arbutus Meadows Aug. 3-4, ask the officers about the horse auction or email rcmp_horseauction@live.ca.

Eva Zielinsk-Millar Photo / PSH George is introduced to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.;

© Oceanside Star

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