It's 32 horses and riders moving as one; perfect
harmony between man and beast; a kaleidoscope of
manes and tails and battle lances crisscrossing in
collage of synchronous movement. It takes your
breath away!...I was a kid; it haunted me.
- Lt. Harding Welsh (due South, "All the Queen's Horses")
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) was formed in 1873 as an effort to bring order to the Canadian west. The new Canadian government wished to avoid the problems their neighbor to the south was having with the Native American population, so it was the vision of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, to create a mobile mounted police force who would be tasked with securing friendly relations with the various tribes and maintaining peace as settlers began to arrive from the east.
The first mission of the NWMP, the March West, is still considered an awesome feat for the new police force. The goal was to march a detachment 800 miles to the west of Fort Dufferin, Manitoba to an area known as "Whoop-Up" country to stop a group of whiskey traders. The force faced enormous difficulties in their trip, but upon their arrival they learned that the whiskey traders had fled when they learned of the NWMP's approach. They built Fort Macleod in southern Alberta which became the force's first fortified presence in the west. Plans are currently underway to re-enact this famous march in the summer of 1999.
The relatively small force had enormous success in maintaining the peace over the next 30 years. Around the turn of the century, the NWMP's territory was expanded to the Yukon and the Arctic coast. King Edward VII bestowed the title 'Royal' to the North-west Mounted Police in 1904. The group became known as the 'Royal Canadian Mounted Police' in 1920 when a reorganization of the federal police forces in Canada took place. It was then that the RCMP's jurisdiction was expanded to cover the entire country.
The origin of the 'red serge,' the bright coat that has become a symbol for the Mounties has been difficult to trace. Indications are that the red serge was used since Mounties were formed in the 1870's. Why use red for the color of the uniform? Common sense dictates that it would be difficult for the wearer to be able to blend into his surroundings with such a coat on. Although I have not been able to confirm this, the color was probably chosen because it is the same color as the uniforms used by the British army of the time. The British chose red because it made it difficult for their enemies to tell if they had wounded a soldier since the blood would blend into the uniform.
For a more detailed history of the RCMP, please see their official website at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/musicalride/home_e.htm.
The Musical Ride
The RCMP Musical Ride was formed in the 1887 at the Regina barracks and has been an integral part of the force's public relations since 1904. The original members of the Musical Ride sought to demonstrate their riding skills and amuse themselves while they served in the North-west Mounted Police's outposts in the Canadian West. During the early 1900's, there were actually two different Musical Rides, one based in Regina, and one based in Ottawa. Today, there is only one Musical Ride, and it is located at the RCMP Rockcliffe, Ontario facilities.
The Musical Ride gained popularity among due South fans when they were featured as part of the episode "All the Queen's Horses" in which terrorists take over the Ride's train in an attempt to create a nuclear disaster.
The Musical Ride consists of 32 RCMP volunteers who have at least two years of experience. Each volunteer goes through a rigorous training course before they become part of the Ride. For more information on the Musical Ride and it's horses, please see their official website at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/musicalride/home_e.htm.
If you are interested in Musical Ride paraphernalia, you may find what you are looking for at the Ride's online store at: http://www.musicalrideboutique.com/
Musical Ride Schedule
For the Musical Ride's current schedule, please check out their official website:
Back to William & Elyse's Due South Web Page
Copyright February 1999 by William A. R..
Last updated: April 21, 2003.
This page may be reprinted for personal reading use only.
Any other uses of this page are strictly prohibited without the specific written consent of the author.