The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is making room in its paddocks for a royally special horse. As a sincere thank you for its participation in the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations in May, the monarch gifted the police service's Musical Ride with a stunning handcrafted rocking horse.
The horse, made by the world-renowned Stevenson Brothers, is a replica of Burmese - the first horse the government and RCMP gifted the Queen back in 1969. The striking black mare was one of Her Majesty's most beloved horses and accompanied her on 18 Trooping the Colour parades. Sadly, Burmese passed away in 1990 but to this day remains a strong symbol of friendship between the British monarchy and Canada.
In addition to performing during the equestrian themed birthday celebration, the RCMP gave the monarch an eight-year-old horse named Sir John. “When we gave the horse to the Queen for her 90th birthday, we didn't expect anything in return," says Superintendent Leslie Cook, Officer in Charge of the Musical Ride Branch, who opened up to Hello! Canada about the Queen's kind gesture. "Little did we know she had planned such a thoughtful and meaningful surprise for us. Burmese, the first horse we gave her in 1969, has been immortalized in this beautiful rocking horse."
The rocking horse will soon be on display to the public at the RCMP Musical Ride Visitor Centre in Ottawa.
The Queen's birthday pageant featured more than 900 horses and 1,500 performers from around the world. At the end of the show, a parade of the monarch's own horses took to the arena, ridden by, among others, her daughter Princess Anne, the Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise, together with granddaughter Zara Tindall, riding her eventing horse Toytown.
The two-hour event took the Queen through the key events in her life - a reminder that she had not only reached a record-breaking reign, but has also been a first-hand witness to some of the most momentous events of the past century.