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The RCMP Musical Ride    by Maxwell Newhouse order for
RCMP Musical Ride
by Maxwell Newhouse
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Maxwell Newhouse's Musical Ride paintings have been exhibited across Canada. Now, they're presented in The RCMP Musical Ride, along with an account of the history and traditions of this annual pageant, a 'powerful horsey ballet'.

We learn that it all started with the North-West Mounted Police's 1874 prairie peacekeeping. The NWMP showed off their horsemanship at an 1887 performance in Regina, Saskatchewan, and evolved into the RCMP. Nowadays, they honor the past with the Ride, which is watched all around the world. Newhouse tells us that the RCMP breed horses for 'their shiny black coats', power, size, and 'calm friendly natures'.

Foals are named alphabetically, and trained for many years, particularly in dealing with strange noises and crowds. Police men and women take on special duty to train with the horses. We're told about their equipment, and grooming for the Ride, about superstar 'Lucky II', and about a program that changes every year, but always ends in a thrilling final charge.

I love the flight of Canadian geese above the first portrait on Parliament Hill, and the black and white sketches of the horses that are insterspersed with dramatically detailed color paintings. The RCMP Musical Ride is a wonderful account of pomp and pageantry in action - I plan to see the Ride myself this summer and recommend the book to anyone interested in horses and/or living history.

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