Every year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police hold a name the foal contest online. This year is no different, and the RCMP is inviting children from across Canada to enter. The contest is open to kids 14 and under to enter names for the 2024 crop of foals. The RCMP told Global News  the first letter of the name must be “A”, a naming convention that changes every year. The Mounties will select 10 names to christen the new horses.

The RCMP began its breeding program in 1939 when it was noted during the 1937 coronation of King George VI that the RCMP contingent’s red tunics really stood out against the black horses that the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry rode. The following year the RCMP Commissioner directed the Mounties to purchase only black horses, and to ensure such a directive could endure, the RCMP created its own breeding program.

Initially Thoroughbreds were the main breed used by the Mounties, but starting in 1989, the breeding program added black Hanoverian broodmares and stallions to improve the bloodlines, particularly in terms of “colour, substance, and conformation.”

The first breeding program was based in Saskatchewan. It was at this farm the famous Burmese, a black mare that was gifted to Queen Elizabeth II in 1969, was born. The horse quickly became her favourite and the Monarch rode Burmese until the horse’s retirement in 1986. The mare passed away in 1990. A statue of Queen Elizabeth II riding Burmese was unveiled in Regina in 2005 as part of the centennial celebration.

The breeding program was moved in 1968 to Pakenham, Ontario, where it remains today. You can watch a video about the life of foals born on the farm here:



The contest will run from April 8 to 26. Check the official website after April 8 for details.