Tag Archives: Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward Triumphant in $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto

McLain Ward and HH Gigi’s Girl. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario -Two-time U.S Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward claimed the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto, presented by GroupBy, in front of a sold-out crowd on Saturday night, November 10, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

Ward topped a 21-horse starting field over tracks set by 2018 World Championship course designer, Alan Wade of Ireland, to claim the ninth Royal Horse Show World Cup title of his career. As the final challenger in the jump-off, Ward saved the best for last, executing a brilliant round to stop the clock at 32.42 seconds riding HH Gigi’s Girl. Ward’s U.S. gold medal teammate at the recent World Championships, Devin Ryan, posted a time of 33.88 seconds with his World Championship partner, Eddie Blue, to finish runner-up.

“It was nice to have the last spot in the order,” said Ward, who was presented with the Hickstead Trophy, given in memory of Eric Lamaze’s legendary 2008 Olympic gold medal partner, and a Longines timepiece for his win. “I know Devin and his horse are quick because he has beat me a few times. Sometimes you get lucky.

“This was a gymnastics test, which is what courses are now at the highest level,” continued Ward of Wade’s track, one that HH Gigi’s Girl, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Vingino x Celano) owned by Double H Farm, conquered with style. “The mare performed beautifully the whole second part of this year and is really putting things together, and it’s a great way for her to finish her season. She has always been a spectacular jumper and I feel she has a really exciting future.”

Ward, 43, estimates that he has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for almost a quarter of a century, saying, “I love it here. Obviously, I’m not Canadian, but I think of this as a second home. The show is being run beautifully and the organization is phenomenal. As you saw, we had a sold-out crowd, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

The victory earned Ward coveted qualifying points for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final, an event he won in 2017. The 2019 edition will be held next April in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Ward, who had also won the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open one night earlier riding Tradition de la Roque, earned the Leading International Rider title.

Ryan’s second-place finish placed him closer to his goal of qualifying for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final after a spectacular year for him and his mount, Eddie Blue, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC.

“As I always say, take it one day at a time, but this year I am going to try to make it back to the World Cup Final,” he said. “We’ll see how the cards play out, but he’s had quite a big year this year, and I think he’s a really special horse, so I don’t want to over use him.

“You always think about what you would you have done differently,” continued Ryan, 36, of his position behind Ward. “I didn’t take quite the shot that McLain took. I probably should have tried it, but that’s show jumping for you!”

Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC posted the first clear round of the evening riding her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Hermelien vd Hooghoeve, and opened the jump-off by again jumping clear in a time of 34.62 seconds for third place.

“It’s always harder going first because you know you have to go clear,” said Ramsay, 26, who first attended the Royal Horse Show in 2012 when she won the Running Fox CET Medal Final. “I think my horse did everything I asked of her. We are really lucky to have this Canadian indoor venue here at The Royal and having this crowd is really unlike anything else.”

Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire also posted a double-clear performance in a time of 35.20 seconds to finish fourth riding Roulette BH for owner Gochman Sport Horse LLC, while New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley rounded out the jump-off field in fifth place after having a rail down over the short course aboard Barnetta, owned by Sky Group.

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

Green Meadows Coaching Keeps ‘Old Times’ Alive at Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward, his wife, Lauren, and their three-year-old daughter, Lilly, joined the Wallers atop the ‘Old Times.’ Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Mr. and Mrs. Harvey and Mary Waller of Stockbridge, MA and their ‘Old Times’ coach claimed a third consecutive victory in the historic Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class on Friday, November 9, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

“It never gets old!” said Mary of the win on Friday night. “It’s always special. I love the Royal.”

The Green Meadows Coaching division, generously sponsored by Hugessen Consulting, Inc., is dedicated to the great tradition of the road coaches and park drags of years gone by, and the Wallers’ ‘Old Times’ coach exemplifies a fine example of that tradition.

The ‘Old Times’ coach was famously driven from London to Brighton, England in the 1880s. It has since been conserved in its entirety by the Wallers, who purchased the road coach in 2001 and had the paint stripped down to find the original color and lettering, enabling it to be put back to its exact original appearance.

That attention to detail is part of what helped the Wallers earn the win in the Coaching Appointments Class, judged on performance, presentation, and emphasis on appointments. All three factors were taken into consideration during Friday evening’s Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class in the Coca-Cola Coliseum, while the presentation and emphasis on appointments were also judged during a special reception on Friday afternoon.

“This is a very special coach, so it’s nice to bring it here to a special show,” said Mary. “The way they do the appointments in the other ring beforehand showcases the coaches. You get to see them in a special surrounding, and it makes it that much nicer. All of our staff works so hard, so for them to see it in there after they’ve been working on it for days – and then to have us win – it’s really more for them than for us because it’s our whole team that has accomplished this!”

This year, the Wallers also had three special guests as part of their winning team for the evening’s Coaching Appointments Class. Two-time Olympic and recent World Championship team gold medalist, McLain Ward, rode on ‘Old Times’ alongside his wife, Lauren, and their three-year-old daughter, Lilly.

“We’ve known McLain forever, and he’s probably ridden with us three or four times here at The Royal,” said Mary. “Lilly was bracketed by mom and dad holding her in up there! It was really fun having them with us.”

Finishing in second behind the Wallers was the Canadian entry of Gerben Steenbeek and his park drag entry for Stonecreek Friesians of St. Marys, ON. Third place went to John P. White of Newtown, NJ driving a road coach, ‘Excelsior,’ for Shallow Brook Farm.

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

Ward Wins Weston Canadian Open

McLain Ward. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Speed was the name of the game and none were faster than McLain Ward of the United States to win the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday night, November 9, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The premise was simple: leave all the jumps in place over the course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade and do it in the fastest time. Six riders left all the rails up, with Ward accomplishing the feat in a time of 62.71 seconds. His mount was Tradition de la Roque, an 11-year-old black French-bred mare owned by Kessler Show Stables.

Canada’s own Keean White of Rockwood, ON gave it his best effort riding Leilani, an eight-year-old grey Oldenburg mare owned by Lisa Marie Gauthier and Angelstone Farm. With a time of 63.49 seconds, White finished as the runner-up. Capt. Brian Cournane riding Penelope Cruz and Conor Swail aboard GK Coco Chanel took third and fourth places for Ireland respectively with times of 64.11 and 64.70 seconds. Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire was fifth with a clear round in a time of 68.17 riding Roulette BH while 2017 Canadian Champion Amy Millar of Perth, ON posted the only other clear round of the night to finish sixth with Heros.

Ward, 43, estimates that this is his 23rd or 24th time competing at the Royal Horse Show.

“I love it here,” said Ward, who was a member of the gold medal team at the recent World Championships. “I think this is one of the great events in our sport throughout the world. The atmosphere, the way that they have been able to hold on to so many traditional aspects of the event – I think it’s a phenomenal evening. It’s one of the few places where I come to watch something other than show jumping.

“The Royal is something that is very special to me,” continued Ward. “The environment here is brilliant. This is a crowd that really understands the sport and appreciates the animals. It still has great ties to agriculture. People make an effort to dress up and make it an important evening. I think it creates an environment that is electric and special to be a part of.”

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

Daniel Bluman Wins for Israel at Royal Horse Show

Daniel Bluman riding Ladriano Z. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Israel’s Daniel Bluman won the $85,000 GroupBy “Big Ben” Challenge on Thursday night, November 8, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Twenty-two of the world’s top show jumping athletes entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum in the hopes of scoring victory in the $85,000 GroupBy “Big Ben” Challenge, a sentimental favourite at the Royal Horse Show named for Ian Millar’s former mount. Eleven mastered the track set by 2018 World Championship course designer, Alan Wade of Ireland, to advance to the jump-off.

In the tie-breaker, Bluman saved the best for last, cruising to a clear round in a time of 32.34 seconds riding Ladriano Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Alexa Schwitzer and Blue Star Investments. As the final challenger, Bluman knew the victory was his, and celebrated along with the packed house. Devin Ryan, who recently helped the United States become World Champions, rode his top mount, Eddie Blue, to a clear round in a time of 32.53 seconds to finish runner-up.

“I had the advantage of going last,” said Bluman, who represented the Israeli Show Jumping Team in its first World Championship appearance in September. “Devin’s horse is a very fast horse. It has pretty much the same weapons that mine has to win a class like this one. I won by a fraction of a second. I got lucky also. I could have been second place, but it was meant to be for me tonight.”

At 28 years of age, Bluman has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for several years and appreciated the crowd’s support as he went for the win.

“My first year competing here was 2011; Eric Lamaze got me an invitation,” said Bluman. “I’ve come almost every year since then. I really, really love it. It’s a fantastic city, and it’s a fantastic crowd. When you jump in a place that has a crowd and has an atmosphere, the whole energy changes and your desire to win also changes. We go to a lot of competitions, but when you’re at a show like this, every class you compete in, you want to perform. Forget about the prize money, forget about the world ranking points, forget about anything else; you just want to be the best that you can be for the crowd. That’s what makes it fun!”

Catherine Tyree of the United States took third place with a clear round in a time of 33.32 seconds riding Bokai while Australia’s Rowan Willis and Blue Movie were fourth after crossing the timers in 34.52 seconds. Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON set the pace as the first to go in the jump-off, delivering a fantastic clear in 35.26 seconds aboard Count Me In, owned by Sandy Lupton, to round out the top five.

Captain Brian Cournane Captures $36,000 Brickenden Trophy Victory

Captain Brian Cournane of Ireland enjoyed a win in the $36,000 Brickenden Trophy International Jumpers riding Penelope Cruz on Thursday afternoon.

From a starting field of 19 entries representing eight different countries, nine combinations advanced to the jump-off over Wade’s course. The leading time continued to get progressively faster throughout the jump-off, with the final entry of Cournane and Penelope Cruz, his 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, stopping the clock in 28.69 seconds to take the win.

“She’s naturally a very quick horse, so I knew that if I could do the distances and be tight, she covers the ground very quickly,” said Cournane, who acquired the mare from fellow Irishman Darragh Kerins a year ago. “I had to have a lot of confidence in her to do the tight turns and trust that those jumps would stay up and that we’d be fast.

“I’m so honoured to be here,” continued Cournane, who is competing at The Royal for the first time. “It’s a wonderful show, and I’ve heard so many great things about it. I was first reserve on the invited riders’ list for a couple of weeks; I was really hoping I’d get in and, at the end, I did!”

While Cournane is new to the Royal Horse Show, he’s very familiar with this year’s Royal Horse Show course designer.

“It’s very funny; when I was a kid doing hunter trials in Ireland, I was 16 or 17, and Alan was building the courses back then,” said Cournane, 36. “Now we’re at The Royal, and he’s building! It’s incredible.”

With less than a second separating the top four finishers, second place with a time of 29.09 seconds went to Canada’s Keean White aboard Tahiorn while third place was awarded to Daniel Bluman of Israel with a time of 29.18 seconds riding Colestina H. Rounding out the top four with a time of 29.58 seconds was Kent Farrington, the defending champion of the Royal Horse Show’s marquee event, the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto, riding Daddy Cool.

Sam Walker Rides Winning Streak Into Royal Horse Show

Also claiming a major victory on Thursday afternoon was 16-year-old Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON. Fresh off a win in the prestigious ASPCA Maclay Final at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY on Sunday, November 4 – where he became only the fourth Canadian winner in the event’s storied history – Walker returned home to Canada to also top the Running Fox CET Medal National Final.

“It feels a little bit surreal!” said Walker of his dual wins, first aboard Waldo on Sunday at the National Horse Show and then four days later riding Willem, a mount owned by Nicole Loochtan that was a last-minute ride for Walker after his intended mount for the final was sold.

“He came up here for the CET from Castlewood Farm in Wellington, FL,” said Walker, who trains with his parents, Scott and Dee Walker of Forest Hill Farm, and John Brennan and Missy Clark at North Run. “He was amazing this week; I couldn’t be happier with how he performed. I’m just really, really grateful that I got the opportunity to ride him.”

Reserve Champion in the Running Fox CET Medal National Final was Beatrice Daviault of Saint-Damase, QC riding Lia; third place went to Mackenzy Nadeau of Carleton Place, ON aboard Ferraro K, owned by Brookstreet Stables. Rounding out the top four was Kyara Semrau of Foothills, AB with Cori Coletta.

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

Isabelle Lapierre Captures $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre riding Carrera S. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode Carrera S to victory in the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby on Tuesday, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The win marked the pair’s second major hunter derby victory of the Royal Horse Show as they also topped Sunday’s $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby. With riders contesting Tuesday night’s hunter derby finale in reverse order of their standings in Sunday’s class, Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, were the final entry to navigate the course designed by Rob Carey in the Coca-Cola Coliseum.  Judges Kitty Barker and Rob Bielefeld awarded Lapierre an overall score of 109, including a base score of 93 coupled with handy and high option bonus points, to place the pair at the top of the leaderboard. For the win, Lapierre was awarded the Paddy Ann Burns Trophy.

“With my first horse, I did one less stride everywhere,” said Lapierre, referring to her additional entry in the class, Excellent Balou. “With Carrera S, I added a stride everywhere.  That’s why I like the derbies: it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the way that your horse goes.  He was very relaxed, and he jumped super.  I think he gave 100 percent.”

As the highest scoring pair in both the Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby and the Knightwood Hunter Derby, Lapierre and Carrera S were presented with the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy as the Canadian Hunter Derby Champion.

“Maybe the best thing is to retire from doing hunter derbies!” joked Lapierre of winning Canada’s highest hunter derby honour.  “To win, it’s like a dream.”

Finishing second in Tuesday night’s class with an overall score of 107 were Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller.  Not far behind with a score of 103 was Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Chantilly Lace for owner Shannon Walter, while Ballard also picked up fourth place with a score of 96 aboard ‘Round Midnight, owned by Knightwood Stables.

The Eastern and Western Canadian Hunter Derby Series champions were also recognized on Tuesday evening, with the $10,000 Prince of Thieves Go West Trophy, presented by Jump Canada, awarded to Lapierre and Carrera S as the Eastern Canadian Champions and the $10,000 Represent the West Championship, also presented by Jump Canada, given to Kassidy Keith and Carivero, owned by Miranda Lebeuf, as the Western Champions.

Dressage Dazzles at the Royal Horse Show

Featuring an all-star cast in the Dressage Derby, four riders faced off in a knock-out style competition on Tuesday night.

Esther Mortimer of Guatemala faced off against U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle, while Tom Dvorak of Hillsburg, ON challenged fellow Canadian Dressage Team veteran, Jaimey Irwin of Stouffville, ON. All four riders were competing with borrowed horses and had five minutes to familiarize themselves prior to riding a Prix St. Georges test.

Lyle won her knock-out round, as did Dvorak, to advance to the final. Riding yet another unfamiliar mount, Dvorak went first, earning a score of 66.912% from the panel of highly-respected judges. In her Royal Horse Show debut, Lyle used her skill and was awarded a score of 69.559% to be crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion.

“I’m really glad I made the trip to The Royal,” said Lyle, who is based in Wellington, FL. “I have always heard about it and never had the chance to come. It’s an incredible venue and something really special. This is a really fun challenge and I love only having a couple minutes to sort it out. It’s a good test of horsemanship and strategy. These are all really incredible riders and it was really close competition.”

Prior to the Dressage Derby, Canadian Dressage Team veteran and Royal Horse Show fan favourite, Jacqueline Brooks, retired her long-time partner, D Niro, in an emotional celebration. Brooks, who has been competing at the Royal Horse Show since 1999, and the 19-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding affectionately known as ‘Goose’ have represented Canada in international competition around the globe, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As a special highlight, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of St. Bruno, QC performed a grand prix freestyle which sees required movements choreographed to music of the rider’s choice. The highest-placed member of the Canadian Dressage Team at the recent 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in September, Fraser-Beaulieu, and her mount, All In, had the crowd roaring its approval.

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

International Show Jumping Stars Set for Toronto’s Royal Horse Show

Kent Farrington aboard Voyeur. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Kent Farrington to Defend $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto Title

Toronto, Ontario – U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington will headline a star-studded field as the international show jumping division gets underway at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair running November 2 through 11 at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.

Four days of international show jumping competition will culminate in the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto, presented by GroupBy, on Saturday night, November 10. Having won last year’s featured event riding Voyeur, Farrington plans to saddle up Creedance as he attempts to defend his title against some of the best show jumping competitors in the world.

“I love the Royal Horse Show,” said Farrington, 37, of Wellington, FL. “It’s a throwback in time with everyone wearing black tie and a packed house. All of the classes feel important. It’s one of my favourite shows in a beautiful city.”

Of Creedance, an expressive 11-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the rider and R.C.G. Farm, Farrington said, “I’ve had him since he was seven and he’s really stepped up to be a very competitive grand prix horse on the biggest level. He has won classes at The Royal and other five-star events and is very fast indoors. Now that he’s more mature, he’s gotten more predictable and easier to manage. He was quite difficult to manage when he was young but he’s getting better with age.”

Joining Farrington in representing the United States are three of the four 2018 World Championship gold medal team members, Devin Ryan, Adrienne Sternlicht, and McLain Ward. Molly Ashe-Cawley, Margie Goldstein-Engle, Andy Kocher, and Catherine Tyree will also represent the stars and stripes in this year’s international division.

The eight international competitors invited to this year’s Royal Horse Show include Daniel Bluman of Israel, Capt. Brian Cournane, Cormac Hanley, and Conor Swail of Ireland, Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire, Karen Polle representing Japan, Rowan Willis of Australia, and New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley.

Canada will also be represented by eight competitors to make up the total of 24 athletes who contest The Royal’s international division each year. Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, both of Perth, ON, qualified based on their standings in the Longines World Rankings while Jump Canada’s high-performance committee named Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC and Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON as its two picks for the international division. Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON and Amy Millar of Perth, ON earned their tickets into the international division as the newly crowned Canadian Show Jumping Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively.

The international show jumping division officially opens on Wednesday, November 7, featuring the $36,000 Jolera International Welcome in the evening session. A sentimental favourite, the $85,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ International Challenge highlights Thursday evening while the popular $50,000 Weston Canadian Open is featured on Friday evening’s Royal Horse Show schedule.

Saturday afternoon, November 10, is Family Day, presented by McDonald’s, at the Royal Horse Show. The entertaining K9-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, pairs show jumping horses with agility dogs to see who can complete their respective courses in the fastest time. In an unparalleled evening of horse sport, the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto, presented by GroupBy, will bring down the curtain on closing night of the Royal Horse Show.

In entertainment, Australia’s Guy McLean will demonstrate his unique form of natural horsemanship throughout the Royal Horse Show while Pogo Puissance by Xpogo will take jumping to new heights as young athletes attempt to set records by jumping obstacles on pogo sticks.

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

Kilby Brunner Deforest Crowned MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final Winner

Kilby Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Kilby Brunner Deforest of Hillsburgh, ON claimed a victory in the $5,000 MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final to take the division championship riding Beaverwood’s Halo on Sunday, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The top spots were decided in a two-horse jump-off duel between 14-year-old Brunner Deforest and Tatum Horan of Oakville, ON. Horan, riding Royal, led off and was clear over the course, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, to post the time to beat at 29.50 seconds. Brunner Deforest returned second and handily took over the lead by nearly two seconds with a time of 27.88 seconds.

Grace Stevenson of Lakeside, NB piloted Ever So Clever, owned by Foshay South Eventing, to third by posting the fastest four-fault round over the original course, while Eva Marquis of Caledon, ON settled for fourth riding Red on a Roll for owner Mark Marquis. Maya Chahine of Oakville, ON rounded out the top five with I Love Lucy, owned by Julie Taddeo.

After also winning the stake class earlier in the day, Brunner Deforest was presented with Royal All-Canadian Pony Jumper Championship title, presented by MarBill Hill Farm.

“This is my fifth time competing in the pony jumpers at The Royal, and it’s exciting to be here!” said Brunner Deforest, who was reserve champion in pony jumper competition at The Royal in both 2016 and 2017. “This is a new pony for me; I got her one year ago and have been competing on her all summer.

“She is very fast and really good in the turns,” continued Brunner Deforest of her 14-year-old mare owned by Kristen Brunner. “She’s very confident and handled the noise and the [Coca-Cola Coliseum] very well. I love coming here and competing over a few days in front of a big crowd.”

While Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo put all the pieces together for a win at the Royal Horse Show, their connection took some effort.

“She is a complicated, and in the beginning of the season we were trying other bits and a lot of different things,” said Brunner Deforest. “But we realized I just needed to learn to ride her. We went to a plain, simple snaffle, and I got to know her not try to train her. Other than me telling her to ‘whoa,’ she does it all.”

Also claiming a championship on Sunday afternoon was Jordan Macpherson of Toronto, ON aboard Fiestamunde, owned by Sved Stables Ltd.

Macpherson and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare finished third in Sunday morning’s $2,500 Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Competition before returning later in the day to win the $10,000 Dominion Regalia Limited Junior/Amateur Jumper Royal Stake and ultimately the Royal All Canadian Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship, presented by Dominion Regalia Limited.

“The Royal is always such a great event in front of the home crowd,” said Macpherson. “It’s great to win, but it’s even better when you win at The Royal!”

Macpherson and Fiestamunde were one of four entries to advance to the jump-off in Sunday afternoon’s stake class, and over the short course, they stopped the clock clear in a time of 39.38 seconds. Finishing in second with the only additional double-clear effort was Sara Tindale of Campbellville, ON riding Djibab van de Linthorst, owned by Tindale Farms. Rounding out the top three was Hubert Lamontagne of Montréal, QC riding his own Dalton to four faults in a time of 38.64 seconds. Fourth place with 13 faults in the jump-off went to Veronica Bot of Burlington, ON aboard Quidam’s Caprice M, owned by AEI Corp.

Isabelle Lapierre and Carrera S Claim $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode away with the win in the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby, presented by Rosemary Phelan – Braeburn Farms, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

When Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum as the final of 20 entries to contest the Rob Carey designed track, Erynn Ballard and Enchanted held the lead with an overall score of 100, including handy and high option bonus points. Lapierre and Carrera S not only bested Ballard’s score, they did so by a sizeable margin, earning a base score of 95 and a grand total score of 113.

“It’s always a surprise when you get your score,” said Lapierre, a longtime Royal Horse Show competitor in both the hunter and jumper divisions. “I’m always the one, when I come out, I don’t really show so much emotion, because you never know what to expect. Then when they said 113, I was like ‘oh my God!’ I knew he was good, but not that good! It just all happens so fast.

“I really like the derbies,” continued Lapierre. “You can make plans, but you can change it based on the way it’s going in the ring. You have to think a bit how to do it. If you win, it’s not because you only have a good horse; it’s because you have to do the course well.”

With Lapierre clinching the win, Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller, took second, while third place with a score of 99 went to Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Stakkato Grande W for owner Augustin Walch.

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

Nicole Walker Claims Canadian Show Jumping Championship Title

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON claimed the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship title on Saturday night, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

“I will never forget this! It feels amazing. I’m very excited for my whole team, and I think the horse deserves a title like this because he’s such a special boy. I’m glad he could have a title to his name.” ~ Nicole Walker, who will celebrate her 25th birthday on Sunday, November 4

Having claimed victory in Friday’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One, presented by Lothlorien, Walker held the lead coming into Saturday night’s two-round competition. The defending Canadian Champions, Amy Millar, 41, of Perth, ON and Heros piled on the pressure by opening Saturday night’s competition with a clear round while Walker incurred four faults.

When the top six in the standings went through to the all-deciding final, Walker kept her cool to deliver another clear jumping round, picking up one time fault over the course set by Ireland’s Alan Wade to bring her total score to five faults. When Millar and Heros faulted the second time out, their final score of 7.13 penalty points left them in second place, handing Walker her first Canadian Show Jumping Championship title riding Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON delivered a clear round riding Count Me In to finish in third position, while 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables. Olympic team silver medalist Mac Cone of King City, ON guided Zaia di san Giovanni to fifth for owner Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings Inc., while Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON also made the cut for the top six riding Granturo.

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker has grown up competing at the annual Royal Horse Show.

“I had a lot of friends and family here tonight as it’s very close to home,” said Walker, who trains with 2012 Irish Olympic individual medalist Cian O’Connor and his assistant trainer, Mark Kinsella. “But beyond everything, the atmosphere is incredible here. It has so much tradition. I would recommend every rider to come visit it at some point, even if they’re not riding. It’s just such a cool experience.”

With their top finishes on Saturday night, Walker and Amy Millar earned their tickets into the international division as the two highest placed finishers in the Canadian Show Jumping Championships not already qualified. Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, both of Perth, ON, qualified based on their standings in the Longines World Rankings while Jump Canada’s high performance committee named Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC and Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON as its two picks for the international division. The international division opens on Wednesday, November 7, featuring the $36,000 Jolera International Welcome in the evening session.

Lauren Kieffer Rocks $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge

The popular $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge rocked the house on Saturday night as competitors tackled a mix of delicate show jumping fences and challenging cross-country obstacles set by course designer Mark Phillips. Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA made her Royal Horse Show a winning one, riding Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory.

“I’m thrilled.  The mare is just incredible; she tries her guts out,” said Kieffer, who was riding a borrowed mount that she rode for the first time on Friday.  “It’s very rare that you hop on something and sync together so quickly.  It was so much fun to do this on her, and I felt so in sync with her.

“Brandon and Kendal certainly put the pressure on; I was hoping for a little bit more breathing room!” joked Kieffer following her indoor eventing debut.  “The format is fun; it’s energetic.  If it gets one person to leave here and go Google ‘eventing’ and get into it, then it did its purpose.”

Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

At the conclusion of the Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge, World Championship and Pan American Games medalist Selena O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON was presented with the Michael Gutowski Award, donated by Mr. Iain Gilmour, as the highest-ranked Canadian athlete on the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Eventing World Athlete Rankings.

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

Nicole Walker Opens Royal Horse Show with a Win

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON opened the Royal Horse Show with a win in the first phase of the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship held Friday, November 2, as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Speed was the name of the game in Friday night’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Round 1, presented by Lothlorien. As the final competitor to tackle Irish course designer Alan Wade’s speed track, Walker laid down the winning round, jumping clear in a time of 64.37 seconds with her partner of three years, Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

“It was nice to be able to watch a couple go since I went last,” said Walker, 24, of being the final competitor on course. “I knew just how fast I needed to go without risking too much. Hopefully we will have the same luck tomorrow.”

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker spoke to her progression from winning in the Under 25 division to winning the opening phase of the Canadian Championships.

“The Under 25 program is a great stepping stone,” said Walker. “You get to be in [the Coca Cola Coliseum] and be in that kind of pressure situation. Being indoors is a bit of a different vibe than outdoors. You really need to be on it. Just having that experience helped to get to the next level.”

In a sport where men and women compete as equals, it was another young female athlete, Ali Ramsay, 26, who finished runner-up. Riding Casino, a 10-year-old Oldenburg owned by Ramsay and Angelstone Farms, the Victoria, BC native also left all the rails in place and crossed the timers in 66.47 seconds. Keean White, 35, of Rockwood, ON and Leilani left two poles on the ground, but their incredibly fast time of 59.04 seconds held up for third place despite having an eight-second time penalty added for an adjusted total of 67.04 seconds.

It was a family affair as 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place with a time of 70.23 seconds riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables while the reigning Canadian Champion, Amy Millar, 41, also of Perth, placed fifth with a time of 70.63 seconds riding her 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Heros.

Lauren Kieffer Makes Royal Horse Show Debut

Opening night of the Royal Horse Show also featured the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge. Making her Royal Horse Show debut, Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA rode Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory in the opening phase of competition. With a clear round in a time of 90.03 seconds over the course designed by Mark Phillips, the Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games veteran now holds the lead heading into the second and final round of competition on November 3. Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

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

Royal Horse Show Doubles Down on Derby Fun

Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Adrienne Lyle headlines new Dressage Derby; Hunters Showcased in Knightwood Hunter Derby

Toronto, Ontario – U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle will headline the new Dressage Derby on Tuesday evening, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 2 through 11 at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.

Doubling down on Derby fun, Tuesday evening’s Royal Horse Show performance opens with the impressive Knightwood Hunter Derby followed by the Dressage Derby, a new concept that will see four riders go head-to-head riding borrowed horses in a ‘knock-out’ format. Riders will have only minutes to get to know their mounts before entering the Coca-Cola Coliseum to perform their test. The winner of each ‘knock-out round’ will move forward to a second round in the hopes of being crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion.

Lyle, a member of the U.S. silver medal team at the recent FEI World Equestrian Games, will be making her first trip to Toronto in addition to her Royal Horse Show debut.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Royal and I thought it was a fun chance to get to compete there,” said Lyle, who is based in Wellington, FL. “I have competed in some derbies in Florida before and I think they are really fun. The crowd loves them and they are a great test of rider skill.”

Joining Lyle in the Dressage Derby are Canadians Tom Dvorak and Jaimey Irwin along with Esther Mortimer of Guatemala.

“It’s the ultimate test of rider skill to have to ride a horse you don’t know and have never had a chance to watch or ride before,” said Lyle, who is looking forward to the challenge of riding an unfamiliar mount. “It’s an easy format for the crowd to understand because it makes sense and it is usually obvious which rider gets along best with their horse. Sometimes there’s also a lot of comedy involved! I grew up in pony club riding many different horses and I really enjoy the challenge of getting on and sorting it out in a few minutes. A lot of it is being able to read the horse and come up with a strategy.”

Prior to the Dressage Derby, Canadian Dressage Team veteran, Jacqueline Brooks, will retire her long-time partner, D Niro, in a fitting celebration at the Royal Horse Show. Brooks and the 19-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding affectionately known as ‘Goose’ have represented Canada in international competition around the globe, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Following the Dressage Derby, Brittany Fraser will perform a musical freestyle riding All In to close out the evening. The highest-placed member of Canada’s dressage team at the recent 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in September, Fraser will demonstrate both the artistry and difficulty in choreographing required movements to the music of her choice.

Opening Tuesday evening’s Royal Horse Show performance, the elegance of high performance hunters will be on display in the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby. Competitors from across the country have been earning points all year in the hopes of vying for the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy, presented to the overall Canadian Hunter Derby Series Champion.

From the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Friday and Saturday evenings, November 2 and 3, through to the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto, presented by GroupBy, on Saturday night, November 10, the Royal Horse Show offers something each day for all fans of horse sport.

In featured entertainment, Australia’s Guy McLean will demonstrate his unique form of natural horsemanship throughout the ten-day Royal Horse Show while Pogo Puissance by Xpogo will take jumping to new heights as young athletes attempt to set records by jumping obstacles on pogo sticks.

More than 1,000 horses from around the globe will compete for $980,000 in prize money during the 10-day CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show. VIP Platinum and Gold seating, as well as group and individual tickets, are on sale now and moving quickly. All Royal Horse Show tickets include general admission to the Fair.

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