Barriere had one of only two mounted scout troops in Canada

The scouts were under the leadership of Fred Long, an Irishman who trained horses for a living

The Barriere mounted scout troop:  (l-r) Assistant leader Bob Johnson

The Barriere mounted scout troop: (l-r) Assistant leader Bob Johnson

From 1971 to 1973 Barriere distinguished itself by being the home to one of only two mounted scout troops in Canada.  For these three years the 12 boys in the troop, ranging in ages from 12 to 16, practiced all of the formations and drills necessary for a mounted troop.

The scouts were under the leadership of Fred Long, an Irishman who trained horses for a living.  In Britain Fred learned all of the techniques of training a mounted troop, and when he came here he approached the local scout troop to see if they were interested in becoming a mounted troop.  The boys had a vote on it and in 1971 they became a mounted troop.

The boys practiced at Fred Long’s ranch, and he lent the five boys who didn’t own horses some of the horses he was training.  The scouts really enjoyed working as a mounted team, and Fred even taught them to play polo, which they also enjoyed.

When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Kamloops in 1971, Prince Philip, who is interested in horses, specifically requested that this unique scout troop be in Kamloops for their visit.

The troop lined up along the roadside where the royal couple would pass,  and as the car got to them it slowed, and the door opened, preparing for them to get out and meet the troop.

Unfortunately, security quickly moved them on, not allowing them to stop.

The troop didn’t get to meet the royal couple, but they got the recognition they deserved.

In 1973 Fred Long moved back to England, and with his departure the mounted troop disbanded.  But the memory of a special day in 1972 when they were viewed by the Queen and Prince of England will forever stand out in the minds of those who were there.

* Editor’s note:  From May 3 to May 12, 1971, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Anne visited the province to mark the centennial of British Columbia’s entry into Confederation.  They stopped in several towns and cities during their stay, including Victoria, Vancouver, Tofino, and Kelowna (which at the time they would have driven through Kamloops to reach).

Article provided by North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association archives and was written by Mike Richards, the article also appeared in the July 18, 1989 issue of the North Thompson Journal.