Dressed to impress: RCMP's Musical Ride visits Yukon

The RCMP's Musical Ride is in Yukon this weekend. A local hockey arena has been transformed into stables to house 32 Hanoverian horses used by the RCMP's Musical Ride.

Local hockey arena transformed into stables as 32 horses brought north for travelling show

Charge! Officers dip their lances as 32 the black Hanoverian horses rush forward. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The RCMP's Musical Ride visited Whitehorse this weekend. Officers wore their red dress uniforms with their boots shined and hat brims pressed straight, looking like Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

The production has brought up 32 black Hanoverian horses on which officers perform precision drills. The show has historic roots as far back as the 1870s when the mounted police were still trained in cavalry techniques.

The Musical Ride has been touring across Canada as part of Canada 150 events. The show has three performances this weekend in Whitehorse before heading to Skagway, Alaska.

Some things have changed since the 1870s. 

For starters the opening music is now an instrumental version of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care of Business. 

Hockey arena transformed into stable

Police horses have been staying at the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse.

RCMP Const. Aaron Harder, from Dauphin, Man., is one of the 36 travelling staff in Whitehorse for the event. He thanks volunteers who helped with accommodations. The City of Whitehorse also contributed labour to melting the ice and covering part of the concrete with sand and wood chips for the horses.

"All the sand, the shavings, the stalls, that was all set up when we rolled in," Harder said,"they've done an amazing job," 

Volunteers have been helping to organize and run the show. 

'It's just so Canadian' 

Mary Seely is one of about 125 volunteers who helped the show happen. She was selling Musical Ride hats Saturday and saw the ride in Dawson some years back.

"It's just so Canadian," she said.

Saturday's performance featured Yukon country musician Hank Karr who has been singing about the territory for more than 50 years.

Members of the Spirit Riders 4-H Horse Club led the events with a colour party. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Karr performed at least six songs in a row as there were some delays with police horses. The procession arrived a full hour after the scheduled start time.

The show did however have an opening equestrian act.

Members of Yukon`s Spirit Riders 4-H Horse Club performed some drills and held banners in what's called a colour party. 

The Spirit Riders recently travelled to Ottawa to see the Musical Ride perform.  Marina Boulerice was there and says it's impressive to see the riders do complicated moves, like a barn dance on horses.

"It was really cool and really complicated," she says.