The western swing of the RCMP Musical Ride carries a different tune with it this year.
It's both festive and sombre, with the celebration of Alberta's centennial tempered by a salute to the slain Mounties of Mayerthorpe.
And here in Calgary, the famous horse march will help mark the milestone of 30 successful years for Spruce Meadows -- a fitting way for the musical Mounties to kick off their first road trip of the season, said ride spokesman Sgt. Marc Godue.
"It's just the right time for us to be in Alberta, for sure," said Godue, the head trainer and a 15-year member of the musical ride.
"Here's the 30th anniversary, and we wanted very much to be part of it.
"It's a great horse facility and prime horse country out here."
The 33-horse musical ride has made an appearance here a handful of times in the past.
And during the National, continuing through Sunday, it will showcase its usual 25-minute routine with crowd-pleasing moves such as the gate, the star, the wagon wheel and the final charge.
But no special tribute has been planned for Spruce Meadows to honour the four Mayerthorpe Mounties killed in the line of duty by a crazed gunman March 3.
"The Mayerthorpe show is going to be pretty much geared toward that," said Godue of the Aug. 30 event scheduled for the northern Alberta town.
Nevertheless, said Const. Chris Scott, a musical rider formerly stationed in Alberta, the Mounties feel every stop this year is a show of support for his fallen comrades.
"We're here getting a nice break from the field, but we're all still police officers," said Scott, 28.