History of the Mounted Troop
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) is a proud Regiment with strong ties to Western Canada. The Regiment has always tried to preserve and perpetuate its traditions and history by maintaining a link to the period when it was first raised, by Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, as a Regiment of Cavalry in 1900. Over the years, we have achieved this aim through the maintenance of the Strathcona Mounted Troop; 20 soldiers dressed in period uniform and mounted on horseback, performing a musical ride and a tent pegging demonstration in communities throughout Western Canada.
These soldiers volunteer for a minimum of one show season. The responsibility and rigor of the Troop is in addition to their normal responsibilities as a soldier of the Canadian Forces. They are committed to presenting our "living history". The Strathcona Mounted Troop provides an active display of a unique part of our national heritage which is enjoyed by thousands of Canadians annually.
The Strathcona Mounted Troop was reformed in 1974 to prepare for the Regiment's 75th and City of Calgary's 100th Anniversaries. The Troop has never received funding from the Federal Government or the Canadian Forces. The Troop's operation has been financed totally by donations from members of the Regiment, private individuals and service clubs. Additional funding comes from honorariums provided by organizations and cities where the Troop performs. The approximate cost to operate the Strathcona Mounted Troop is $150,000 annually.
Uniqueness of the Organization:
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) is proud to be represented by the Strathcona Mounted Troop, the last Canadian military mounted troop.
The Strathcona Mounted Troop has provided a colourful presence at civic celebrations, exhibitions festivals and rodeos. While the Troop has participated in parades in these events, our particular pride is in the Musical Ride. The thirty‑five minute performance includes a demonstration of the historical art of tent pegging, which originated with the British Army in India. Interaction is encouraged at the conclusion of each performance by inviting the public to meet horse and rider. Where possible, we also welcome the public to visit the stables at the show location to see the work that makes the ride possible.
The first Strathconas were able horsemen. Born and bred in the saddle and able to live off the land; these men of 1900 were recruited to serve as a match for the Boers in South Africa, where the British foot soldiers were being alarmingly defeated.
The Regiment established a musical ride to perpetuate its mounted heritage in 1923. the ride was performed routinely in Western Canada and the United States until it was suspended in 1939.
In 1974, in preparation for the 75th Anniversary of the Raising of the Regiment, and to celebrate the City of Calgary Centenary, the Musical ride was revived as the Ceremonial Mounted Troop. The 1920s pattern uniforms and equipment were chosen to rekindle the traditions and ceremony of the original ride. The organization consists of a troop leader, troop sergeant, and two sections of eight mounted troopers.
Today, the troop is designated the Strathcona Mounted Troop, to perpetuate the memory of the original mounted regiment. The size of the Troop has fluctuated as resources dictated, but the traditions of the ride have been maintained. As the troop receives no funding from the Department of National Defense, the Strathcona Mounted Troop Foundation was established. The sole purpose of the Foundation is the maintenance of stock, uniforms and equipment for the Troop. The Foundation is a registered charity and relies heavily on generous donations and the honorariums received from show sponsors. This generosity has empowered the Strathcona Mounted Troop to maintain a living history of our early military traditions.