For retired Sgt. Katherine Hansen, joining the RCMP Musical Ride in 1996 was a dream come true.
As a little girl growing up on a farm in Penticton, Hansen was horse-crazy, but it was when she saw the RCMP Musical Ride at age six that her future path became clear.
The RCMP Musical Ride is a troop of 32 riders and their horses, who perform intricate figures and drills choreographed to music and act as ambassadors of goodwill who promote the RCMP’s image throughout Canada and all over the world.
After 25 years with the RCMP, and 20 years with the Musical Ride, Hansen retired briefly before returning as a reserve constable in her hometown of Penticton.
When the pandemic struck, Hansen took the time to write up the stories she had been working and thinking about for years, about Harry the Musical Ride Horse.
Harry has a wavy mane and tail, a distinctive trait for his Canadian breed, which makes him stand out to the children in the book because he was so different. The story is about appreciating and embracing our differences.
In 2000, Hansen met Queen Elizabeth II while performing at the Windsor Horse Show, and this year, the retired sergeant sent her a special copy of her first book.
For her work, Hansen received a letter of thanks from the queen.
“I thought the queen may enjoy the story of Harry and I wanted to extend my thanks to her for the gracious hospitality that she extended to the ride when we stayed at Windsor Castle,” she said. “I am completely thrilled to receive a letter from Her Majesty and know that she has read my book.”
When her daughter was young, Hansen used to tell the stories about the Musical Ride to her at bedtime.
“I always wanted to write for children because I knew there were other kids like me who dreamed of one day being with the Musical Ride,” Hansen said. “I wanted to write stories about believing in yourself, the power of friendship, and working with a team.”
For every 100 books that she sells, she will donate 10 books to local charities, to assist with children and their families. The first 10 books are going to the RCMP Victim Services Unit in Penticton.
Hansen wrote two other books, Harry the Musical Ride Horse Goes to Newfoundland and Harry the Musical Ride Horse Goes to the Calgary Stampede. The books are available at www.kateandharry.ca or through the RCMP Foundation at www.themountieshop.ca.
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