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Mountie uniforms displayed in Ride Through the Ages

Mounted Patrol at The Fort

The Mounted Patrol at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod, dressed in replica uniforms for the Ride Through the Ages. From left: Nicole Larson, Lisa Bassett, Chelby (Chuck) Glen, Marish Schnell, Shelby Lyke, Ashley Gunderson, Kayleigh McAllister and Keeley Cook. PHOTO BY FRANK MCTIGHE, THE MACLEOD GAZETTE

The Ride Through the Ages is an annual summer highlight at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod.
Members of the Mounted Patrol dress in a variety of replica uniforms worn by the North West Mounted Police and RCMP since 1873.
“The review order of the RCMP is immediately distinctive world-wide and synonymous with Canada and our national pride,” announcer Carl Brave Rock said. “But it took many years, and some trial and error in dress regulations, before the Mounted Police found a uniform that suited their needs and the Canadian climate.”
The Mounted Patrol performs its Musical Ride four times daily through July and August, executing movements and patterns that are based on 17th century European battle formations that have evolved over the years.
The first Musical Ride was held in 1876 in Fort Macleod by members of the North West Mounted Police.
The Fort Museum started its own Musical Ride in the 1970s, and it remains a key attraction in 2016.
The Mounted Patrol is normally dressed in 1886 replica uniforms, but once each summer the Musical Ride gets a new look as the riders don different uniforms.
Brave Rock explained the uniform worn by the Mounties has undergone many changes over the decades.
Cp. Kayleigh McAllister rode Whisky dressed in the present-day RCMP dress uniform.
Trooper Chelby (Chuck) Glen rode Tommy in the original uniform of the North West Mounted Police, including the forage cap, or pillbox as it is more commonly known.
“The original hat of the North West Mounted Police was the forage cap,” Brave Rock said. “The pillbox style forage cap was the first regulation headgear in 1873, and was worn in some degree until 1903.”
Trooper Mariah Schnell, riding Chick, wore the pith helmet that came into service in 1874.
“It was copied from a style used in India, but it was deemed unfavourable by the men because it was heavy, got caught in the wind and soaked in the rain,” Brave Rock said.
Trooper Nicole Larson rode Belle wearing the elaborate full-dress tunic adopted in 1876 by the North West Mounted Police. Intricate braiding on the sleeves and embroidered stars and crowns on the collars designated rank.
“These patterns were adopted from the British 13th Hussars,” Brave Rock said.
Sgt. Lisa Bassett rode Lena wearing a replica broad brim felt hat favoured by the men.
“Civilian prairie dress became acceptable service order because it suited the prairie climate,” Brave Rock said. “Beaded buckskins and a variety of civilian attire was worn up until 1920.”
Cpl. Ashley Gunderson rode Jesse wearing a field tunic adopted by the Royal North West Mounted Police shortly after the turn of the century that was used in service until 1957.
Trooper Shelby Lyke rode MJ wearing a battle-style fatigue uniform that was first phased into service in 1957.
Trooper Keeley Cook rode Roxie wearing an example of the modern review order of the RCMP.
“The pattern for scarlet serge was first introduced in 1919 and remains in service today as RCMP review order,” Brave Rock said.
“It was not until 1904 that the stetson hat synonymous with the force today, became regulation,” Brave Rock noted. “At the time, these hats were called ‘Boss of the Plains’ hats and were first worn by the force here in Fort Macleod in 1894 as non-regulation headwear.”
Other members of the Mounted Patrol in 2016 were troopers William Gray, Janay Damen and Alicia Boot.
Reserve riders were troopers Morgan Gunderson, Shody Perry, Rylan Clarke, Jennifer Weaver and Tate Matson.
The Musical Ride ended for the season on Aug. 30.

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