Retired RCMP Musical Ride horses join depot division in Regina for the summer

A pair of retired horses from the famed RCMP Musical Ride are in Saskatchewan, based at depot division in Regina, for the summer.
Horses Salute, left, and Turbo with riders Ashley Jarton, left, and Chantal Fernell who are caring for the animals for the summer. (Evan Radford/CBC)

A pair of retired horses from the famed RCMP Musical Ride are in Saskatchewan, based at depot division in Regina, for the summer.

The animals, Salute and Turbo, were part of the special equestrian unit of the RCMP in the Ottawa area for six years. Now they travel around Saskatchewan as ambassadors, of sorts, for the Mounties and the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina.

Already the horses have traveled to Yorkton and Swift Current to participate in community parades. They were also part of the opening ceremonies for the North American Indigenous Games on Sunday.

Two equestrians from Moose Jaw, Ashley Jarton and Chantal Fernell, are looking after the horses for the summer.

"The whole upkeep with these guys is definitely 50 per cent more than what I have to do on a daily basis," Jarton said of the experience so far, compared to typical horses. "These guys are not allowed to be dusty, dirty of any type. Always have to have food and water in front of them and have to look presentable 24 hours a day."

Horses have been an integral part of the RCMP, and the training academy in Regina, since the Mounties were first established.

According to the the RCMP Heritage Centre, horses were a permanent feature at depot division from 1882 until equitation training was discontinued in 1966.

After that, all RCMP horses were located at the Musical Ride Centre in Rockcliffe, Ontario, until the Friends of the RCMP Heritage Centre brought horses back to Regina in 1999, as part of a special 125th anniversary of the march west of 1874.

Since then, retired Musical Ride horses have been back at Depot on a regular basis.

Jarton and Fernell, when they ride Salute and Turbo, wear the original North West Mounted Police uniform that includes tan breeches, black boots, red serge, white gauntlets and the white pith helmet.

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