Farewell to the Horse of the RNWMP, 1918

They’ve issued us motors and cut out the horse,
For this is the trend and you’ll follow the course.
You twist the old crank till it spurts fire and rattles,
And smells worse than a thousand trail worn cattle.

You ride down the trail well booted with spur,
To hurdle the culverts like any Ben Hur.
You see your old horse and feel full of sin,
To think you’ve rebuked him for a great hunk of tin.

No friendly companion, no clopping of feet,
You just sit there steering on leatherette seat.
You can’t smell the sage or mown hay as you pass,
For that stinking odor of burnt oil and gas.

They tell you get mounted and fall into line,
So I’ll pack my old bedroll and ask for my time.
No use staying here, you’ve replaced my good friend,
So I’ll bid you “So Long” and this is the end.

Sgt. Fleming (1894–1966) was born in Aldershot, England, and joined the RNWMP Sept. 4, 1914 at Macleod, Alta. All told, he served for 26 years, and his tenure included riding horse patrol in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan. His poem was excerpted from the southern Saskatchewan history book, From Sage to Timber. Pictured is a Royal Northwest Mounted Police trooper (not Sgt. Fleming).