On the morning of December 13, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) tried something new and different. For the first time ever, the venerable organization’s Divestment of Horses Program opened the door to applications from individual Canadians looking to adopt Musical Ride horses retired from active service.
The new option reportedly came about as the result of a 2022 policy change. In the past, RCMP horses no longer used in the famous Musical Ride performances had been donated to charities, non-profit organizations or other governmental institutions. (By contrast, horses from the RCMP breeding program that don’t meet the criteria for the Musical Ride are generally sold at auction with appropriate reserve prices.) Finding the right homes for these special Hanoverian horses, part of an iconic Canadian tradition, is a responsibility the RCMP doesn’t take lightly. As stated on the organization’s Facebook page, “The Program matches people who are capable of providing excellent care with a former Musical Ride horse that’s been retired from active service due to health conditions or injuries. The top priority is finding the best possible home for each available horse based on its specific needs.”
However, the morning after their announcement went out on social media, the “Mounties” were forced to close the door they’d just opened due to an overwhelming number of applications–more than 1,000 within 24 hours, according to one source. Officials were surprised, to say the least, at the response.
An update immediately went on up the RCMP’s Facebook page: “The Divestment of Horses Program didn’t expect to receive so much interest. While we appreciate it, we cannot accept any more applications at this time. Please note that if you applied, you will only be contacted if your application is retained for consideration. Due to the very small number of horses that qualify for this Program, there is no guarantee you will be offered a horse.”
According to some officials, the Divestment of Horses Program is indeed very exclusive, with only one or two horses generally available for adoption each year.
However, the heartwarming degree of interest expressed in these horses speaks to a deep reverence for the work done by the RCMP. Indeed, the “Mounties” and their trusty steeds are a longtime source of national pride who also serve as international ambassadors for Canada.
As the RCMP website explains, “The Musical Ride is composed of a troop of police officers, their horses and the officer in charge. It consists of the execution of a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drills choreographed to music. Its first recorded public display was in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1901.”
It is worth noting that the Musical Ride tours every province on a rotational basis ” … to ensure that Canadians across the country are given an opportunity to see them perform.” The Musical Ride is also performed abroad while on tour to help promote the RCMP.
To learn more, visit the RCMP website.
Note: Landing page image from RCMP social media post