The Mystery Of The Upside Down Pennons!

Photograph of crossed RCMP lances



In the past we have done stories on the lances and different colours used on the RCMP Musical Ride pennons. In the days before the permanent Musical Ride there were Rides in Ottawa, “Depot” and Vancouver, pulled together for special events and it appears for a time they used different coloured pennons in each location. Equitation was a very large part of training and life on detachment work up to the late 1930s.




Equitation training carried on till September 1966 when it was discontinued. Looking back to old photographs from the early days when photographs were black and white it could discerned that the white part of the pennon was always at the bottom and whatever colour was on the top was always at the top.


Photograph of North West Mounted Police members mounted and carrying lances (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).


Photograph of the RCMP Musical Ride on Treasure Island, Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco 1939 (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).


Photograph of RCMP members on horseback with lances – blue over white pennons in 1950s (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).


Photograph of current day with RCMP Musical Ride carrying lances with red over white pennons (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Recently while looking for some information from an old RCMP Quarterly I noted a photograph on the inside back cover of a the Musical Ride from 1919 with the legendary CSM Tim Griffin, then a Sergeant Major, standing in front of that year’s version of the Musical Ride, and saw that the white of the pennon was on top.   What’s that all about!


1919 – Photograph of RNWMP members on horse back hold lances with pennons – white over red. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Sgt. Major Griffin standing in front of the 1919 Musical Ride, at the Calgary Stampede. Note the white of the pennon is on top. Also the white leather work on the horses and the white shabracks.   The question of the white shabracks came up in the story on “The Mysterious Giant White pillow case.”   – Check out Ric’s article here.




Unfortunately, there are no members of the 1919 Ride left to ask “why were the pennons upside down?” I will have to wait until getting to “The Big Parade Square in the sky” to seek out CSM Tim Griffin and ask him “why?”

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage