Hope was the first community in the Fraser Valley to host a show which doesn’t come around very often.
The RCMP Musical Ride made its stop in the community July 19 to an audience of close to 1,500 at the Hope sports bowl.
The 32 specially trained RCMP members and their jet black Hanoverian geldings showed off their skills to music from across the nation, including The Jerry Cans, Shania Twain and Great Big Sea.
Riders from many different provinces were represented, including one RCMP constable who started her 12-year career with the RCMP in Hope 2006. Const. Melanie Zonderland, with her 19-year-old horse Sherif, was given a warm welcome by the crowd.
While 90 per cent of RCMP officers who enter the Musical Ride program have no experience on horseback, Zonderland had a different experience.
“Before I even got into the RCMP, I always loved horses. I worked on a dairy farm for eight years before policing. And before I was even a member, I remember my interview to get hired, that I wanted to go into the musical ride,” she said.
Policing the way the RCMP used to, in Red Serge on horseback, is an amazing feeling for Zonderland. Equally moving for her is the welcome she gets from small towns she tours, like the town of Wabush in Labrador with a population of just under 2,000.
“I can’t talk about it too much because in Wabush, last year, I think I was crying. Every person I talked to, I was just in tears because everyone’s so happy to see you. They love the horses and a town that’s small like that, they don’t get anything,” she said.
“The work that the communities put in to host us, to have us here. I mean we’re only here a couple of nights and just the amount of hours and volunteer time and effort and money that goes into something like this, it’s incredible. And then when we’re out there in the show on the horses, it’s never a bad day at work.”
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