Two young equestrian women from Moose Jaw have been given a very unique opportunity this summer. They’ll be caring for and riding retired musical ride horses at RCMP Depot Division.
Chantal Fernell,19, and Ashley Jarton, 19, will be looking after “Turbo” and “Salute”. The two horses (ages 14 and 15) have served a full career touring across Canada for the RCMP Musical Ride, but now they’re ready for a less demanding job.
That’s where Fernell and Jarton come in.
The girls are in charge of bathing, brushing, saddling, and exercising the horses everyday, and will perform with them at all the Sergeant Major Parades and Sunset Ceremonies for the rest of the summer.
It’s an opportunity both women are thrilled about.
“It’s not everyday that someone, let alone teenagers, get to be part of the RCMP and get to work with such a big title,” said Jarton.
The girls both have competitive equestrian experience, and say they take a “horses first” approach. But, that doesn’t mean this new job comes easily. The tightly choreographed parades and ceremonies require intense focus.
“I seem to have difficulty making sure my distances are right, my timing is perfect and that the dressing stays up,” said Jarton.
They practice for the ceremonies daily. It’s all part and parcel of getting to know their new partners.
“Salute is a cuddler,” said Jarton. “He’s very much a gentle giant. I’ll go and stand by the stall and I’ll kiss to him, and he’ll stick his nose out and try to kiss me back. He definitely does whatever he can to please someone. He’s an amazing horse.”
“He’s very friendly. He likes people and performing. He’s very good, very calm,” said Fernell.
Fernell and Jarton are considered RCMP “core riders” which means they get to wear the original North West Mounted Police uniform. The tan breeches, black boots, red serge, white gauntlets and white pitch helmet come with a certain “awe” factor.
“Oh my gosh, the feeling is amazing,” said Jarton of putting on her uniform. “We feel important every time we put it on. We go out into the parade and people just look at us in awe, and I’m like, ‘oh I feel so important’.”
You can catch the foursome in action at the RCMP Academy Parade Square throughout the summer.