Have you ever wondered why parade horses, such as those of the RCMP Musical Ride, remain so calm when ridden? It is ALL about the training! This winter, the members of the RCMP Pipes, Drums and Dancers had an opportunity to assist in this training with one specific horse. Piping to train Noble – certainly exciting for the band, especially in this 150th anniversary year of the Force in 2023.
Over the past year, a 7 year old RCMP mare named “Her Noble” (Noble for short), was selected as an ideal gift for His Majesty King Charles III, the Honourary Commissioner of the RCMP, to celebrate his upcoming coronation ceremony. There is a long standing tradition of the RCMP gifting horses to the Royal Family. Because of the select breeding and training they receive, these horses are quite suitable to be ridden by the Royals for public ceremonial functions.
The most famous of the eight previously gifted horses, was the well-loved “Burmese”, gifted in 1969 to the late Queen, and on whom she rode for every Trooping of the Colour ceremony until 1986. The RCMP’s special association with the Royal Family began in 1897 when they represented Canada at the 1897 Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria. With many visits afterwards, the Mounted Police took part in successive coronation parades in 1937 and 1953, and many more visits on other Jubilee celebrations.
Police Service Horse Noble toured with the Musical Ride in 2022, with 90 public performances under her belt across Canada. She demonstrated a superior physical and athletic ability, and a calm demeanour. These traits, plus her size, made her an ideal horse for His Majesty.
Extra training for Noble began late in December, to prepare her for the challenges and unusual environment she would encounter in her new role. This is where the Pipe Band came in. Naturally, military parades involve music, so she had to become accustomed to the skirl of the pipes and the pounding of the drums, as well as the loud words of command and the movement of troops around her.
Band members travelled to the stables to serenade, march, and follow the horse, which became “normal” for her. Starting small with only a few pipers and drummers, eventually the full pipe band and dancers were marching and performing there every few days, as she curiously sniffed out instruments and the humans that played them. She took to it all like a champion, even coming over for a nibble at the tassels on the pipes and a turn at playing a snare drum.
On 17 February, a formal “passing out” grad parade was held with members of the Musical Ride forming the marching troop, led by the Pipes and Drums. Shortly after, Noble was flown over to the U.K. to take up residence at the Royal Mews in Windsor Castle. Our hope is that His Majesty the King will ride Noble in the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremonies.
The Royal Family has posted the story and some photos of Noble’s first encounter with His Majesty at the following link:
The Band was proud to participate in this effort and wishes Noble well in her new role with the Royal Family.