RCMP horse breeding program

The RCMP horse and rider is a proud symbol of Canada that's recognized around the world. We're extremely proud of our elegant, strong and even-tempered horses, which we've been breeding for over 80 years.

On this page

The birth of the iconic Mountie image

The history of the RCMP's horse breeding program traces its roots back to 1937. That year, Assistant Commissioner S. T. Wood headed the RCMP contingent at the coronation of King George VI. Assistant Commissioner Wood was impressed with how strongly the red tunic stood out on the riders in the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry who rode black horses.

When Wood became Commissioner in 1938, he ordered the RCMP to buy only black horses. It soon became clear the RCMP would need to establish its own breeding program to meet this requirement.

The breeding program began in 1939, when Depot Division in Regina, Saskatchewan, officially started breeding these famous black horses. The farm moved to Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan, in 1942, before moving again in 1968 to its present location in Pakenham, Ontario.

Our breeding farm

A mare and her foal

Our breeding farm produces some of the finest Hanoverian horses in Canada. Measuring roughly 150 hectares, the farm is home to about 15 brood mares, 2 stallions and 30 young, developing horses.

The welfare of the horses is always the number one priority. The experienced staff at the farm oversees the care and well-being of the horses at all times. They address any issues immediately and a veterinarian attends as required.

Historically, the RCMP bred horses that were mainly thoroughbreds. In March 1989, we added black Hanoverian broodmares and stallions to help improve the stock's bloodlines in terms of:

  • colour
  • substance
  • conformation

From naming to joining the Musical Ride

Each year, the foals get their names from the Name The Foal contest. Kids across the country submit their best name starting with a specific letter that changes each year.

The horses eventually go on to join the RCMP Musical Ride as long as they meet certain requirements, including:

  • size
  • colour
  • rideability
  • temperament

RCMP horses also appear in various public functions, such as parades, Royal escorts, and other special events.

The life cycle of our horses

The life cycle of a Musical Ride horse is roughly 20 to 25 years, with changing roles as they age.

Birth to age 3

The young horses are at the farm growing and developing.

Ages 3 to 6

The young horses, called remounts (replacement mounts), move to the Musical Ride stables where they undergo a minimum of 3 years of training and development.

Age 6 onward

Once their training is complete, the horses perform on the Musical Ride for about 10 years.

Post-Musical Ride

When horses stop performing on the Musical Ride, they serve as schoolmasters to train future riders and perform local ceremonial duties.

Our horse auction

Since 1995, surplus horses that don't meet the strict requirements of the Musical Ride have been sold through auction roughly every two years. These highly sought after horses are excellent for the various equitation disciplines, such as dressage and show jumping.

To ensure horses go to serious buyers, we set high base prices and require all bidders to register in advance. Proceeds from the sale of these horses go directly back into the Musical Ride breeding program.

The next auction will take place in October 2020. For the first time in the auction's history, it will occur solely online through GCSurplus. Please visit the RCMP website regularly for updates.

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