Tag Archives: Royal Horse Show

Blue Ribbon Days Percherons Named $25k Six-Horse Draft Champions at Royal Horse Show

Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, driven by Dean Woodbury. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – The horses of Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, owned by the Albert Cleve and Jim Day families and driven by Dean Woodbury, won the $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship on Saturday, November 11, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship, presented by Ames Construction Inc., was the culmination of five days of six-horse, breed-specific competition at The Royal, with the top three Belgian, Clydesdale, and Percheron hitches invited to contest Saturday night’s championship in front of a sold-out crowd in the Ricoh Coliseum.

The Blue Ribbon Days Percherons hitch of Farmington, MO finished second in Friday’s Percheron Six-Horse Hitch class to qualify for Saturday night’s championship, where they claimed the prestigious title.

“It’s a great honour to win at The Royal,” said Dean Woodbury, who first contested The Royal in 1982. “It makes you feel good to win the last show of the year no matter what you’ve done the rest of the time!”

While Woodbury frequently drives a talented team of geldings for Blue Ribbon Days Percherons, it was a team of mares that took the win on Saturday night.

“There was lots of power in that ring tonight and lots of very good hitches all the way through,” said Woodbury. “The horses get driven at least every other day, if not every day.  They’re just like an athlete; they have to be trained and toned.  You want them to be fit to go into the ring.”

Taking the Royal Six-Horse Draft Reserve Championship title were the Percherons of All Star Farms, driven by Ross Honsberger of Bellevue, MI and owned by Doyle and Renee Dingman.  Honsberger and the All Star Farms hitch won the Percheron Six-Horse Hitch class over Blue Ribbon Days Percherons to qualify for the championship.

Bryce Smith’s Double S Belgians hitch, driven by Kyle Forsyth of Tillanook, OR, rounded out the top three in the championship, having qualified by winning the Belgian Six-Horse Hitch class on Wednesday, November 8.

In addition to the popular Six-Horse Hitch classes, the 2017 Royal Horse Show also offered Two-Horse, Four-Horse and Unicorn classes for the draft teams.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.

Beezie Madden Wins Two in a Row at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show

Beezie Madden riding Breitling. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Four-time U.S. Olympic medalist Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY won the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday, November 10, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair running through November 13 in downtown Toronto, ON.

Hot off her win in Thursday’s $35,000 Brickenden Trophy with Coach, Madden returned to the Ricoh Coliseum with Breitling LS, owned by Abigail Wexner. Riding second in the order, Madden set the early time to beat over the speed track designed by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, stopping the timers clear in 50.03 seconds. The only rider to come close to catching Madden was Nicola Philippaerts of Belgium who piloted Inouk P, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, to a time of 51.97 seconds for owner and father, four-time Olympian Ludo Philippaerts.

“There were some really good riders out there, but I think I set the pace fast enough that they had to take some risks and that was difficult to do,” said Madden, 53, a regular competitor and crowd favourite at the annual Royal Horse Show. “This has been quite a good show for me. The quality here is always good with good jumping, which makes it is difficult to win, so I am thrilled to win two classes.”

Of her mount Breitling LS, Madden noted, “He has had a phenomenal year! He has developed into a horse I can depend on in any kind of class.

“Tonight, there were a lot of inside turns with jumps coming up quick, so you needed a horse that was rideable and that is one of his very strong points,” continued Madden of the 11-year-old La Silla stallion (Quintero x Armonia). “He has become quite a quick thinker, which he had to develop into, so I was really happy that he did that well with this course.”

Canada’s own François Lamontagne of St. Eustache, QC took third on home soil with a clear round in 54.42 seconds riding Chanel du Calvaire, while Sharn Wordley New Zealand claimed fourth in 56.32 seconds on Caiman des Sequoias for owner Sky Group. Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB was the only other rider to post a clear round, piloting Chemas home in a time of 56.67 seconds.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.

Beezie Madden Claims Brickenden Trophy at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show

Beezie Madden riding Coach. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Four-time U.S. Olympic medalist Beezie Madden won the $35,000 Brickenden Trophy on Thursday, November 9, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair running through November 13 in downtown Toronto, ON.

Madden of Cazenovia, NY was the one to beat in a 15-horse jump-off over tracks set by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. She and Coach, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Con Air x Corofino I) owned by Abigail Wexner, crossed the timers double clear in 30.35 seconds for the victory.

Less than a second separated the top five with Madden unseating fellow U.S. show jumping athlete Andrew Kocher from the top of the leaderboard. The Oklahoma native settled in second place with a time of 30.60 seconds riding Artemise du Houssoit, owned by Double H Farm. Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts jumped into third aboard Aikido Z with a time of 30.70 seconds while the number-one ranked rider in the world and winner of Wednesday night’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Toronto, Kent Farrington of the United States, took fourth riding Creedance with a clear jump-off effort in a time of 30.73 seconds. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle rounded out the top five, having posted the first double-clear performance with a time of 30.97 seconds aboard Martha Louise.

“I try to come to The Royal every year because I think this show is fantastic; the jumping is always good here and the crowd is incredible,” said Madden, who also placed third riding Coach in the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday, November 7. “This year, I have a great string that I am building, and they needed some indoor experience. Coach has all the potential in the world, and today I used his huge stride to my advantage and was able to do less strides around the ends of the ring, which not very many other riders could do.”

Madden has selected Coach as her mount for the $87,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge on Saturday night, November 11, noting, “I am just starting to step him up into the top level. After two classes this week, I feel he is settled enough and ready for a big class on Saturday.”

On Thursday evening, three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY won the $35,000 International Accumulator Challenge over Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam. Both riders collected 65 points over the course, but Ward had an edge on the clock with a time of 49.88 seconds riding HH Callas for owner Double H Farm, while Sweetnam broke the timers in 50.47 seconds aboard Don’t Touch du Bois, owned by Spy Coast Farm, Paul Tracy, and Sweet Oak Farm.

Earlier on Thursday, Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON won the opening phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship riding Excellent B. The pair posted one of two clear rounds over the speed track, stopping the timers at 61.07 to hold off runner-up Veronica Bot of Burlington, ON, who rode Quidam’s Caprice M to a time of 61.62 seconds for owner AEI Corp.

Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC took third riding Chacco Prime with the fastest four-fault effort, while Julia Madigan of Vancouver, BC finished fourth on Farfelu du Printemps, owned by John Madigan. Ashley James of Senneville, ON rounded out the top five riding Dartagnan Z.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.

Jessica Phoenix Wins $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge at 95th Royal Horse Show

Jessica Phoenix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON claimed victory in the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge in front of a full house on November 4 at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Following the opening round of competition, riders carried their penalties forward to the all-deciding final round. Phoenix, who was sitting second behind Rachel McDonough of Toronto, ON coming into the final phase of competition, posted the fastest penalty-free time of the night to seal the win. Phoenix was aboard Abbey GS, a 16-year-old bay Canadian-bred Trakehner mare owned by Charlotte Schickedanz.

“For this event you want a horse that’s super careful because if you leave the show jumps up, you’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top three,” explained Phoenix of the key to successfully negotiating the course consisting of traditional cross-country obstacles interspersed with delicate show jumping fences. “Abbey GS is such a fantastic jumper, and she’s so brave and so bold that I couldn’t have thought of a better horse to bring tonight.

“It’s so fun to be able to demonstrate this incredible sport in front of this many spectators, which is something that we don’t often get to do,” continued Phoenix, 34, who won individual silver and team bronze medals at the 2015 Pan American Games.  “I think it’s incredibly important for our sport.”

With two fault-free performances and a two-round combined time of 198.12 seconds, Phoenix took the win over Brandon McMechan of Toronto, ON, who was the only other rider to jump clear both nights riding Oscar’s Wild.

U.S. Olympian Boyd Martin finished third in his Royal Horse Show debut, bouncing back from five penalty points on Friday night to jump clear over the course set by Mark Phillips.

“It’s unbelievable; I had no idea that the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was this awesome!” exclaimed Martin, who was riding Kyra for owner Christine Turner. “I would have come many years before had I known. I got to experience the food, and the cows, and the pigs, and the goats. I probably spent way more money than I should have in the trade fair, and then finally got to the riding tonight.”

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Leanna Lazzari Scores Second Consecutive Royal Horse Show Championship

Leanna Lazzari and Cavallino at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH in 2016. Photo by Third Shutter from the Sun Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Leanna Lazzari, 15, of Mississauga, ON, was crowned the Children’s Hunter Champion and accepted the Rowfantina Collage “Skippy” Memorial Trophy as Best Junior Rider for the second year in a row at the 94th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair held from November 4 to 13 in Toronto, ON.

Lazzari began competing on the A-circuit at nine years of age and was soon climbing the ranks in pony and children’s hunter competition.  In 2013, she started training under the tutelage of Lois and Peter Mulligan and their daughter, Francesca, at Stoney Fields in Schomberg, ON.  Since then, Lazzari has proven to be a consistent winner, including earning five Royal Horse Show championship titles over the past four years.

“From the first day that she arrived at Stoney Fields, she demonstrated a work ethic far beyond her years,” said Lois Mulligan of Lazzari’s quest to continually improve.  “I’ve taught a lot of kids, and I’ve never had one with the dedication and eagerness to learn that she has.  Her drive is turning her into a horsewoman as well as a rider.”

Fellow trainer Francesca Mulligan wholeheartedly agreed, saying, “Leanna is always looking to improve her riding and educate herself, whether it’s by sitting down to watch 200 trips on-line from Harrisburg or studying videos of her own riding.  She always puts forth 150% effort, and that is one of my favourite things about her.”

Lazzari’s dedication has paid off with a long list of accomplishments to her credit.  In both 2013 and 2014, she was named the Ontario Hunter Jumper Association (OHJA) Medium Pony Champion riding Cherrybrook Just Blue In, owned by David Dowler.  In 2013, she won the Small Pony Championship title at the Royal Horse Show riding Morwel Hightide, a feat she would repeat in 2014 aboard Hillin Eira, owned by Cara Whitham.  Adding to her accolades at the 2014 Royal Horse Show, Lazzari also won the Medium Pony Championship aboard Cherrybrook Just Blue In.

Also in 2014, Lazzari was the OHJA Pony Power Handy Series Winner and made her debut at the United Stated Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pony Finals in Lexington, KY with two mounts, Cherrybrook Just Blue In and Goldhills Arresting Charm, owned by Kelly Traver.

Success continued for Lazzari in 2015 when she won Children’s Hunter, Children’s Medal, and Children’s Pony Championship titles from the OHJA.  At the 2015 Royal Horse Show, she was named Children’s Hunter Champion after winning all three classes over fences and earning a score of 90 in the stake class riding Socialite, owned by Sidney Jefferson.  Her commanding performance earned Lazzari the prestigious title of Best Junior Rider.

Lazzari’s 2016 season got off to a slow start when she suffered an unfortunate ligament injury to her wrist that required surgery.  Not able to return to the show ring until August, Lazzari had only a few short months to prepare for the 2016 Royal Horse Show.  Despite the setback, Lazzari successfully defended her 2015 titles and was again named Children’s Hunter Champion riding Socialite as well as Best Junior Rider for the second year in a row.

“I only showed four times before The Royal,” said Lazzari, who divides her time between riding and her high school studies.  “To accomplish something like what we did this year at The Royal, after having not ridden all summer, was really exciting and unexpected.

“Winning at The Royal is so unique; it’s special to be part of something so grand!” continued Lazzari.  “It’s a long running tradition that attracts so many people from so many different backgrounds. They all enjoy the horseshow. It’s exciting for everyone.”

Coach Francesca Mulligan added, “The atmosphere at The Royal is one that can’t be replicated at any other horse show.  There is nothing like the feeling that runs through you when you are standing in that chute.  Competing at The Royal is such a historic part of our industry in Canada, and is a real rite of passage.  This year’s honours truly embody Leanna’s entire year of hard work.”

Following her significant success riding ponies and children’s hunters, Lazzari now plans to transition into the junior hunter and equitation rings.  One of her mounts will be Cavallino, a horse that joined her string in the fall of 2014 as a green project.

“In the future, I would like to get into the big equitation in Canada and the U.S.,” said Lazzari of her goal for her three remaining years as a junior rider.

The Mulligan family and Stoney Fields specialize in developing young riders and ponies and, according to Francesca Mulligan, Lazzari has been a vital part of their program thanks to her ability to catch ride and bring along green horses and ponies.  The role is one Lazzari hopes to continue as she ages out of pony competition and moves up to the junior hunter ranks.

“To be able to bring along the young ones is always an accomplishment,” said Lazzari.  “To see how ponies and horses develop over the course of time helps you to build a relationship and a bond with them.  It has been a great experience and has taught me a lot.  I look forward to continuing to help the Mulligans and other people develop their ponies.  It is a big part of my riding, and continues to teach me a lot.”

With such enormous success to her credit as a pony and children’s hunter competitor, Lazzari will officially make the step up to junior competition in January when Stoney Fields resumes competition at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
Cell: 518-586-6258
lindsay@jumpemediallc.com
www.jumpmediallc.com

Jeff Brandmaier and Caliana Named Royal Horse Show and Canadian 1.40m Jr./Am. Champions

Jeff Brandmaier and Caliana. Photo by Jump Media.

Toronto, Ontario – Jeff Brandmaier and Knightwood Stable’s Caliana capped off a great year at the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON by winning the McKee-Pownall Junior/Amateur Championship. Over three days of competition, the pair was the model of consistency, and was the only combination to jump clean first rounds in all three classes and earn a top placing in each.

Brandmaier and Caliana, a 13-year-old bay Rheinlander mare (Come On x Wachter) also earned the Canadian Champion title for the 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper division.

“I am thrilled to pilot Caliana to this recognition,” said Brandmaier. “She is so deserving. We call her the ‘Warrior Princess’ because she is always game and fights for the clear round. We know each other so well, she is a great horse, and we had an amazing year!”

The honour was a storybook ending to an exciting year for Brandmaier, 57, who recently returned to the show ring following major surgery in his battle with cancer. The pair’s 2016 season included winning four High Junior/Amateur Classics, the Ontario Hunter Jumper Association (OHJA) High Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship, The Angelstone Tournaments Junior/Amateur 1.40m Circuit Championship and earning the $5,000 Nationwide Auto Warranty High Point Junior/Amateur Jumper Bonus at Angelstone Tournaments in Rockwood, ON. Brandmaier and Caliana also made their grand prix debut in the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix in July at the Ottawa National Horse Show.

Ending an incredible year marked by top honours at The Royal was a special experience for Brandmaier, especially with his wife and fellow competitor, Margaret ‘Muffie’ Guthrie, and their three-year-old daughter, Liza Jean, with him every step of the way. In addition to competing at the Royal Horse Show, Muffie and Jeff, along with Braeburn Farms, present the Canadian Hunter Derby National Championships at The Royal, which culminates with the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby.

“The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a magical place that has been dear to our family for generations, and this is a team win for Knightwood,” said Brandmaier. “My trainer Erynn Ballard is incredible. She worked with us to develop the winning plan for the year and that reflected in Caliana’s readiness for the Royal; she was fresh, focused, and happy to do her job. Erynn inspires so much confidence with her approach to the sport and made the Royal and the entire year easy and so much fun!

“Our barn manager, Lesley Leeman, is integral to our success and is a true professional,” continued Brandmaier. “She keeps everything organized and Caliana is always prepared flawlessly: shiny, fit, relaxed, and ready. It is a great feeling when everything comes together.”

Brandmaier was also quick to express gratitude to McKee-Pownall Equine Services veterinarian Meghan Waller, DVM, and her dedication to Caliana, and for their sponsorship of the Junior/Amateur division at the Royal.

“They raised the profile of this division, and we all appreciate that,” concluded Brandmaier.

Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613-292-5439
www.jumpmediallc.com

Green Meadows Division Keeps Coaching Tradition Alive at Royal Horse Show

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Waller and their Orleton Farm hitch. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – The Green Meadows Coaching competition at the Royal Horse Show showcased four of North America’s top coaches at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Hailing from Stockbridge, MA, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Waller and their Orleton Farm hitch made the trip to Toronto to capture the win in the Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class, as well as sweeping four additional Green Meadows division classes.

“We’ve been coming here for about 12 years,” said Mary Stokes Waller.  “The Royal is The Royal!  It’s special.  It’s a very old and traditional horse show, and it means more when it’s so steeped in history.”

The Green Meadows Coaching division, generously sponsored by Hugessen Consulting Inc. of Toronto, ON, is dedicated to the great tradition of road coaches and park drags of yesteryear.

The Wallers earned the win in the Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class driving one of the most-celebrated and well-known road coaches, “Old Times.”

“It’s the most famous public road coach in history,” explained Waller of the English coach built in 1886 and acquired by the Wallers in 2001.  “We worked very hard to have it conserved and get it back to its original condition.  We took layer after layer of paint off it, and we put it back to the way it had originally been made.  All of the harness is the original brass.  That was taken off of the old leather that was not useable, and put on to new leather.”

That attention to detail and the historical accuracy of the coach are all part of what judge Colin Henderson of Wiltshire, England examined as he presided over the Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments competition.  Judging of the preparation and presentation of the appointments took place during the afternoon on Friday, November 11, prior to the judging of the performance of the hitch’s four-horse team in the Ricoh Coliseum on Friday night.

“The appointments are not just about the coach itself and the quality and the finish of the coach, but also the correct equipment that goes with it; everything from the cushions to the various leather straps,” said Henderson, who served as the head coachman for HM Queen Elizabeth II for ten years.  “If it’s a park drag, then it should have its own picnic set.  The quality of those can obviously change enormously.  There again you’ve got things like umbrella baskets on board, coach horns, coach horn cases; there’s quite a multitude of equipment to look over in detail.”

Like The Royal itself, the Green Meadows Coaching preserves and celebrates an important part of equestrian history.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439
www.jumpmediallc.com

Ames Percheron Farm Claims $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Championship

Travis Shaw. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – The horses of Ames Percheron Farm, driven by Travis Shaw, won the $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship on Saturday night, November 12, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship, presented by Ames Construction, was the culmination of five days of six-horse, breed-specific competition at The Royal with the top three Belgian, Clydesdale, and Percheron hitches invited back for Saturday night’s championship in the Ricoh Coliseum.

The Ames Percheron Farm hitch of Jordan, MN had finished second in the $2,500 Percheron Six-Horse Hitch to qualify for Saturday night’s grand finale.  In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 spectators in the Ricoh Coliseum, The Ames Percheron Farm claimed the overall championship title.

“We’re always aiming to be at the top but it takes so little, one little mistake, to drop you from first to fourth,” said Shaw.  “It’s tough.”

Despite the stiff competition, Shaw and the team at Ames Percheron Farm are no strangers to success at the Royal Horse Show, having previously claimed the championship title in 2013 and 2014 before finishing as the reserve champions in 2015.

“There’s no other show that we ever see that’s as prestigious as The Royal,” Shaw said.  “The crowd, the atmosphere, the arena, the lighting – it’s all a first-class show.”

The Country Lane Belgians. Photo by Mackenzie Clark.
The Country Lane Belgians. Photo by Mackenzie Clark

Country Lane Belgians of Sunderland, ON, driven by Kyle Forsyth for owners Ted and Chris English, took the Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship Reserve Championship title.  The Country Lane Belgian team topped the $2,500 Belgian Six-Horse Hitch class earlier in the week.

Rounding out the top three in Saturday night’s championship were the winners of the $2,500 Percheron Six-Horse Hitch, the All-Star Farms hitch, driven by Ross Honsberger for Doyle Dingman and Nick Wagner.

“This is a real big win for us,” said Honsberger following his victory driving an all-mares team in the Percheron Six-Horse Hitch.  “We actually took some of the fall off with these girls.  They’d been off for a good seven or eight weeks.  This is their first show back after a break off; we didn’t know what we’d have but they performed well.  We were really ecstatic.”

All-Star Farms first competed at the Royal Horse Show in 2010, and the prestigious indoor horse show has been a favourite ever since.

“We look forward to it every year,” said Honsberger.  “It’s so unique compared to everything we do.  To have the other breeds here and the lights, the cameras, the action, the pomp and circumstance – that’s the Royal!  That’s what you think of when you think of it.  It’s just a classy, classy event.  We always look forward to it every year, and it’s usually our last show of the year, so it’s kind of the grand finale.”

Finishing in fourth in the $25,000 Royal Six-Horse Draft Championship were the winners of the $2,500 Clydesdale Six-Horse Hitch competition, the Express Clydesdales of Yukon, OK, driven by Josh Minshull for owners Bob Funk and Express Clydesdales.

In addition to the popular Six-Horse Hitch classes, the Royal Horse Show also continually offers Two-Horse, Four-Horse and Unicorn classes for the draft teams.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.  Next year’s Royal Horse Show will be held from November 3 to 11, 2017.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439
www.jumpmediallc.com

Kent Farrington Conquers ‘Big Ben’ Challenge at 2016 Royal Horse Show

Kent Farrington riding Creedance. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge on Friday, November 11, to close out the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 people, 21 riders challenged the final international show jumping event of the 2016 Royal Horse Show.  A total of seven jumped clear over the huge track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal, but none could match the daring performance of Farrington and Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) owned in partnership with RGC Farm.

“There were some really nice horses jumping here tonight,” said Farrington, who was competing at the Royal Horse Show following a five-year absence.  “More than anything, more than winning, I’m thrilled with the progress of the horse.  I feel like he’s on track to become a very good grand prix horse.”

Farrington and Creedance posted a blistering jump-off time of 31.86 seconds that could not be matched.  Reigning Olympic Champions Nick Skelton of Great Britain and Big Star, owned by Oliver Robertson and Gary and Beverley Widdowson, came the closest, stopping the clock in 33.55 seconds.

“There was no way I could beat Kent so I went for second,” said Skelton who has been attending The Royal since the late 1970s.  “They have a great crowd here that really takes part in and enjoys the show.  I like coming here; it’s one of my favorite indoor shows.”

Nick Skelton and Big Star
Nick Skelton and Big Star

Ian Millar of Perth, ON thrilled the home audience with a clear round in a time of 33.79 seconds riding Dixson while his 2008 Olympic silver medal teammate Mac Cone of King City, ON was fourth in 36.26 seconds riding Gasper van den Doorn for Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings, Inc.  2008 U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut rounded out the top five by posting the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off with a time of 33.82 seconds riding Confu for St. Bride’s Farm.

Of the final test set by course designer Cabral, Farrington said, “I thought it was a creative course using three doubles instead of a triple, which we see all the time in indoor jumping.

“This is a really classy horse, and he’s learning at each show,” continued Farrington who is aiming Creedance at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final to be held from March 29 to April 2 in Omaha, Nebraska.  “He’s a little bit special and very, very sensitive, so loud noises and things like that really set him off.  I thought maybe these indoor shows would be a little bit of an adventure, but he’s really settled down now and he’s handling it nicely.”

Following five days of top-caliber international competition, three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward was presented as the Leading International Rider.  Ward’s trip to Toronto was highlighted by a dominating win in the $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday night riding HH Azur for owners Double H Farm and Francois Mathy.

Leading Canadian Rider honours went to 12-time Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 69, of Perth, ON, who was presented with the Lt. Col. Stuart C. Bate Memorial Trophy in recognition of his consistent performances throughout the Royal Horse Show.

The All-Canadian Cup, generously sponsored by Susan Grange and Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON, was awarded to Millar’s mount, Dixson, as the Leading Canadian-owned horse.  Grange both presented and accepted the award for the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding she owns with her daughter, Ariel Grange.

The Tiffany & Co. Leading Lady Rider Award, introduced at the 2016 Royal Horse Show, was presented to Leslie Howard of the United States.  A 1996 Olympic team silver medalist, Howard was presented with a Tiffany horseshoe pendant of round brilliant diamonds in platinum on a 16-inch chain.

International competitors shared the spotlight with up-and-coming riders on Saturday afternoon as the future stars of show jumping were showcased in the final phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship.  Twenty-one-year-old Daniel Coyle of Ireland secured the win riding Fortis Fortuna for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm based in Cheltenham, ON.  Coyle also clinched the overall Championship title, having also won phase one earlier in the week.  Quincy Hayes, 25, of Aurora, ON, was named reserve champion with Calgary 56, owned by Darcy Hayes, after placing second in phase one and fifth in phase two.

To the delight of horse and dog lovers alike, the $20,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, saw top international riders each paired with a ‘Superdog’.  After riders navigated a show jumping track, their canine partner took off around a dog agility course.  The crowd cheered for its favourites as dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes raced up, over, and through the obstacles.  In the end, it was Dutch Olympian Harrie Smolders who stopped the clock with the fastest time riding Apollonia 23, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, for owner Copernicus Stables, LLC.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.  The Royal will be back for its 95th edition, running November 3-11, 2017.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439
www.jumpmediallc.com

David Will Scores Back-to-Back Victories at Royal Horse Show

David Will riding Calista. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – David Will of Germany scored his second victory in a row, winning the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday, November 11, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Hot off his win in Thursday night’s $35,000 International Accumulator aboard Cento du Rouet, Will returned to the Ricoh Coliseum with Calista to top a 22-horse starting field.  Racing over the speed track, Will shaved more than two full seconds off the time posted by three-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward of the United States, stopping the clock in 51.20 seconds versus Ward’s time of 53.31 seconds aboard Malou.

“There were many, many options,” said Will of the track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal.  “I decided into the second double to do five strides because she has a very big stride.  Then you could do an inside turn again to the next one.  The course designer asked everything from us – if we can leave out strides, if we can do short turns.  It was a very nice course.

“McLain was second today,” continued Will.  “It’s really, really hard to beat him, so it’s like a little plus, even.  It shows me that I’ve done well if I’m able to beat him.”

U.S. rider Jessica Springsteen finished close behind in third place with a time of 53.77 seconds riding Tiger Lily for owner Stone Hill Farm.  Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar was fourth in front of an appreciative home crowd, stopping the clock at 55.09 seconds riding Dixson, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange.  Ireland’s Darragh Kenny rounded out the top five riding Cassini Z, owned by 2008 Canadian Olympic team silver medalist Mac Cone’s Sothern Ways.

McLain Ward and Malou
McLain Ward and Malou

For Will, his first trip to Canada has been a winning one.  In addition to bringing two of his own horses from Europe, he was reunited with Calista, a horse he rode as a seven-year-old.  Now owned by fellow competitor Georgina Bloomberg’s Gotham Enterprizes, Bloomberg generously loaned her horse to Will for The Royal.

“It couldn’t be any better!” said Will of competing for the first time at The Royal.  “It’s a great show, especially for us riders.  There’s a really good crowd that pushes us to do our best performances.  You feel that all of the people are involved in horse sport, and they really know if you are doing good at what you have done.  It’s just great!”

Competition at the Royal Horse Show continues on Saturday with the crowd-favorite $15,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, as the matinee performance, and the grand finale, the $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge, to close out the international show jumping division.

Tickets for the Royal Horse Show can still be purchased by visiting royalfair.org or ticketmaster.ca.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439
www.jumpmediallc.com