The Children’s Book Harry the Musical Ride Horse, written by an Okanagan woman who actually performed in the ride, has garnered royal recognition from Queen Elizabeth II.
“I just had this feeling that if I sent her one of my books she might actually read it and enjoy it,” said Katherine Hansen, reserve constable with Penticton RCMP.
“Very shortly thereafter I got a response from her lady-in-waiting saying the Queen has read the book and loved it and would like to respond to you and two weeks later I received an airmail package.”
Hansen rode in the musical ride for four years as an RCMP officer from 1996 to 2000 and now she is sharing the story of one of the crowd’s favourite horses. On a whim, she sent a copy of her book to the Queen, who she met in 2000 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
“The Musical Ride actually stayed at Windsor Castle, which is amazing, and I had the opportunity to meet Her Majesty several times,” said Hansen.
“She would come down to the barn and I knew she shared a real deep love of not only the RCMP Musical Ride but also of horses in general.”
With the royal seal of approval, the author is already imagining Harry the Musical Ride Horse’s next adventure. The story of his first trip across the country with the musical ride has been translated into French, the second book follows the ride through Newfoundland.
“I was posted in Newfoundland for a few years and just had an amazing time there so I wanted to do a little nod to Newfoundland,” said Hansen.
“(In the second book) The friendship between (Harry) and his little mouse friend Stephan deepens and Harry is learning more of what it is to be a performer.”
By the end of the year, Hansen plans on releasing the third book, this time following the RCMP members and their horses to the Calgary Stampede. And two more books are in the works.
“He’s going to go back to the East Coast to P.E.I and New Brunswick and then we will cap it all off by going to Windsor Castle for the Royal Windsor Horse Show,” said Hansen.