JULY 2017 THE RIDER /19 Leader of the pack

By Cst. Elenore Sturko, Musical Ride There are 32 riders and

horses in the RCMP Musi- cal Ride, but only one rider leads them all. For the 2017 tour year, the first position, known as the “one of one”, is filled by Cpl. Genevieve Neily and her horse, Flash. Cpl. Neily has been

with the RCMP for 19 years, working in B.C. and Ontario. She first joined the RCMP Musical Ride in 2003 as a constable, tour- ing from 2004 to 2006. “Being a member of

the Musical Ride was a goal I had from the time I joined the RCMP,” says Neily, who began western- style riding at a local ranch at the age of 10. “I’ve been a horse enthusiast since childhood. It’s always been a passion.” Now, some ten years

since leaving the Musical Ride in 2006, Cpl. Neily is back as a riding instructor and lead rider for Canada’s 150th anniversary tour. “Leading the ride is

always an honour, espe- cially this year, knowing we are celebrating the an- niversary of our country,” says Neily. “I am excited and nervous, I want to put on the best shows we can for Canada.”

Picking the leaders The Musical Ride is

made up of eight sections of four horses across and four rides of eight horses front to back. The horses are num-

bered 1 to 4 in each section, and 1 to 8 in the rides. Horses in positions 1, 2, 5, and 8 have the job of lead- ing or setting the dressing for the rest of the group during the various move- ments. Not every horse is up

to the task of being in front. They must be bold, not skittish and have a good temperament. They need to be a larger horse who is able to keep a consistent pace.

Horses and riders

alike are positioned for per- formances based on their traits and whether they have the ability to fill the lead positions. “It’s not just about rid-

ing ability, it’s also about personality,” explains Sgt. Scott Williamson, whose job it is to decide where to

position riders and horses. “We do our best to make the best matches to get the best perform- ances we can from our riders and our horses.” As lead instructor and non-

commissioned officer in charge of the 2017 tour, Sgt. Williamson says this year has brought some

great matches, including that of Cpl. Neily and Flash, a 9 year old gelding in his 3rd year with ride. “Flash has the talent and dis-

position to be out front and he’s a very good match for Cpl. Neily,” said Sgt. Williamson. “They are going to make a great team for this year’s tour I am looking for-

ward to some stellar perform- ances.” You can see Cpl Genevieve

Neily and Flash as they perform the RCMP Musical Ride. For tour dates

and locations visit

h t t p : / / w w w . r c m p -

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