The Caparisoned Horse

The Caparisoned Horse

Right off the top you are probably asking yourself what is a “The Caparisoned Horse”. It is the practice of having a horse of a deceased military officer led in the funeral procession is a remnant of an ancient custom of sacrificing a horse at the burial of a warrior. Generally the horse was hooded, sheathed in a cloth or armored covering and bore a saddle with the stirrups inverted and a sword through them. This further symbolized the fact that the deceased had fallen as a warrior and would ride no more. The entire caparison (the ornamented covering) is black. The hood, saddle blanket and cape are made of wool or serge (a strong, twilled fabric with diagonal rib). All brass and leather is highly polished.  

What has this got to do with the RCMP you might ask. After the funeral of Constable Sarah Beckett on Vancouver Island following her tragic death in a collision with another vehicle many members had asked “why the horse with the boots reversed in the stirrups?” This question has again surfaced with the death of Cst. Shaelyn Yang and the spirited horse in her memorial parade. Hopefully, I can provide some background regarding the boots reversed.

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The Caparisoned Horse

 

Ric Hall 24394/O.1330
November 15, 2022

Photograph of retired RCMP Superintendent Ric Hall (Source of the photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

 

 

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