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Pandemic can’t stop the Fort’s Musical Ride

Mounted Patrol members Trooper Tiegan Trotter (left) and Trooper Tess Luther.

With a nod to the rugged determination of the early Mounties, the Mounted Patrol at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mounted Patrol last week debuted a Musical Ride adjusted to meet social distancing protocols, keeping alive a tradition that is nearly five decades old.

Museum manager Sandi Davis said it took some doing but a ride was choreographed that allows the Mounted Patrol and their mounts to maintain a safe distance.

Davis said one of the biggest challenges was for the veteran members of the Mounted Patrol not to ease back into the tried and true patterns they have mastered over a period of years.

Gone is the traditional inspection of the Mounted Patrol in the museum’s courtyard.

The Mounted Patrol instead lines up in the riding arena for inspection.

The pandemic and the need for social distancing has also forced the museum to cancel its award-winning “Groom A Horse” program.

The public is not allowed into the stables to mingle with riders and horses during the pandemic.

The Fort Museum’s Mounted Patrol is made up of local youths, many of them high school, college and university students, working at a unique summer job.

Established in 1972, the Fort Museum’s Musical Ride carries on an equine and musical tradition that dates back to the earliest days of the North West Mounted Police.

Mounted Police legend has the first recorded musical ride taking place in Fort Macleod in 1876, without musical accompaniment.

In 1886 the Musical Ride was established at a riding school in Regina.

In 1920 the force became known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the modern form of the Musical Ride was created.

The Fort Museum created its own Musical Ride in 1972, performed by summer employees in uniforms similar to those worn by the early Mounties.

The eight riders and their horses are trained to execute movements similar to those used in the RCMP Musical Ride, including the Shanghai Cross, Dome, Carousel and Charge.

A maple leaf is shaved into the rump of each horse in the Musical Ride.

The Mounted Patrol consists of Sgt. Tate Matson, Trooper Madisen Groves, Trooper Tiegan Trotter, Trooper Cheyenne Lee, Trooper Tess Luther, Trooper Alex Russell, Trooper Kayley Hann and Trooper Isaiah North Peigan.

The horses are Maple, Jesse, NJ, Cash, Bayley, Sandi, Five and Cowboy.

The Musical Ride is performed at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday until Aug. 16.

The Mounted Patrol performing Friday at the Fort Museum.

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