Tag Archives: Royal Horse Show

Darragh Kenny Brings Luck of the Irish to the Royal Horse Show

Darragh Kenny and Charly Brown. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny won the $35,000 Brickenden Trophy on Thursday, November 10, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

A total of 12 horses jumped clear over the track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal to qualify for the jump-off.  Kenny, 28, was the final rider to return and laid down the fastest time of the day, 33.23 seconds, riding Charly Brown, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Burggraaf).

“This is a very good horse,” said Kenny of Charly Brown, a horse acquired two months ago by Vlock Show Stables.  “He is intended for Teddy Vlock to ride, but I borrowed him for these two weeks while my horses are in Europe.  He is very experienced, has jumped a lot of big classes, and is really capable of doing anything.”

Jessica Springsteen of the United States finished a close second, stopping the clock just fractions slower in a time of 34.13 seconds riding Tiger Lily for owner Stone Hill Farms.  McLain Ward, winner of Wednesday night’s $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto with HH Azur, crossed the timers in 34.25 seconds to finish third, this time riding Malou.

Canada’s own Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB took fourth with a time of 35.67 seconds riding Winslow High while 1996 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Leslie Howard rounded out the top five with the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off riding Donna Speciale, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau.  Her top placing allowed Howard to retain the blue armband for the Leading Lady Rider Award supported by Tiffany & Co., which she has held since winning the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on opening day of the international division.

“The course was very good and it suited me,” said Kenny.  “A lot of people didn’t do the inside turn from one to two but this horse has a lot of experience so I could do it quite easily.  I knew I was up a little on the clock at that stage so I didn’t have to rush the rest of the course.

“Bernardo did an excellent job last night with the World Cup qualifier,” continued Kenny, who piloted Cassini Z to a top ten finish in the $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Toronto for fellow competitor Mac Cone of King City, ON and Southern Ways.  “It was perfectly done.  He got the perfect amount of clear rounds, and it was a super jump-off.”

Thursday marked Kenny’s first win of the week with international show jumping competition continuing through Saturday at the Royal Horse Show.  Highlight classes include the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday evening, and the iconic $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge on Saturday evening.

“I love this show,” said Kenny, who last competed at The Royal in 2014.  “It’s very much an old-style show, and they run it brilliantly; the organization is super and the crowds are amazing.  To be honest, I don’t have a bad word to say about the show; I think they do everything perfectly.”

The luck of the Irish was evident in the Ricoh Coliseum as 21-year-old Daniel Coyle, also of Ireland, rode to victory in the first phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship.  Coyle secured the win riding Fortis Fortuna for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm based in Cheltenham, ON, whose horse, Dixson, won the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on opening weekend with ten-time Olympian Ian Millar.  Quincy Hayes, 25, of Aurora, ON, placed second with Calgary 56, while 17-year-old Kathryn Dafoe of King City, ON rounded out the top three riding Eos van de Donkhoeve, owned by KD Lan Solutions.

David Will of Germany broke up the Irish domination by winning the $35,000 International Accumulator on Thursday evening.  In his first-ever trip to Canada, Will scored an international victory riding Cento du Rouet by accumulating the most points in the fastest time.  Ireland settled for second with Shane Sweetnam and Cobalt placing ahead of Belgium’s Jos Verlooy riding Caruso 472.  Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC took fourth place riding Chesney for owners Artisan Farms while Calgary’s Vanessa Mannix rounded out the top five with Chemas.

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

Leslie Howard Wins at Royal Horse Show

Leslie Howard riding Donna Speciale. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Leslie Howard of the United States opened international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show with a win in the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday, November 8.  The CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show is held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Top show jumping athletes representing Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the United States and the home nation of Canada contested the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday afternoon, opening five days of international competition at the Royal Horse Show.

Upon successfully completing the ‘power’ phase, riders advanced to the ‘speed’ portion where the fastest time wins.  U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Leslie Howard stopped the clock in 28.82 seconds over the track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal to take the win riding Donna Speciale over David Will of Germany, who crossed the timers in 29.72 seconds riding Monodie H in his Royal Horse Show debut.

“Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off,” said Howard of claiming the first international victory of the week.  “It puts everything in a positive light, and that’s a great feeling.  Today was a nice 1.40m with nothing that crazy, but the course designer gave us the option of some nice inside turns that you could take a shot at.  It was a perfect course for the first time in the ring.”

Of her winning mount Donna Speciale, an eight-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Cavalier x Concorde) owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, Howard noted, “She is a real horse for the future.  She just has everything; she’s scopey, fast, careful, game, and she loves to win.  She’s just a really super horse and if she can keep doing this up through the levels then she’ll be the best in the world!”

Canadian riders made an impressive showing on home soil with Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON placing third in a time of 31.75 seconds riding Thalys Z for The Thalys Group.  Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC clocked in at 32.18 seconds riding Brighton for owner Artisan Farms, while Keean White of Rockwood, ON rounded out the top five riding Corette, owned by Angelstone Farms, Javier Salvador, and Diamante Atelier, with a time of 32.20 seconds.

No stranger to Toronto, Howard has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for nearly three decades.

“It’s special for me simply because I have a lot of great memories,” said Howard, 60, who is especially pleased to be competing for Longines FEI World Cup points at this year’s Royal.  “I’m so happy that Toronto has one of the North American League World Cup qualifiers because I think it is the best indoor show that we have; the footing is perfect, they have great course designers, the scheduling is wonderful, and they have super crowds.  It really is the best of the best.”

Howard will pilot another mount, Gentille Van Spieveld, in the $130,500 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 9, which highlights international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show, and is a qualifying event for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska next spring. Howard will face stiff competition in the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto from McLain Ward of the United States and HH Azur, who have returned to The Royal to defend their 2015 title.

Ward comes into Wednesday’s competition following a win in the $35,000 Jolera International Welcome on Tuesday night riding Malou, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare.  The pair raced to victory in the one-round speed class by stopping the clock at 54.66 seconds.  2004 Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil took second with a time of 54.75 seconds riding Citizenguard Cadjanine Z, owned by himself and Alain van Campenhoudt, while Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam placed third with a time of 54.80 seconds riding Main Road for owners Seabrook LLC and Sweet Oak Farm.

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

Ian Millar Wins Record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Championship Title

Ian Millar riding Dixson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON landed his record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, November 5, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Millar returned last in the second and final round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, having posted the fastest clear in Friday night’s opening speed round riding Dixson.  Millar and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON repeated their flawless performance in Saturday’s two-round final over tracks set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal.

“It’s a lot of stress, that final round!” said Millar, 69, who has now claimed the national title a total of 12 times in his illustrious career.  “There’s no room for error, and that’s what jumping it is all about.  There was no option but to do what Dixson did.”

Saturday night’s victory marked an impressive comeback for Dixson after two sinus surgeries sidelined him earlier in the year and ultimately kept Millar from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“In the years that I’ve been riding him, I’ve never jumped him indoors, but it was not an issue for him,” said Millar, who last won the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion in 2014 riding his London Olympic mount, Star Power.  “It’s great to have this quality of horse here at The Royal because we’ve got some serious competition coming at us next week in the international division.”

Having returned to competition in August, Dixson was back at the top of his game, holding off Mac Cone, 64, of King City, ON.  For the second year in a row, Cone earned the Reserve Championship title riding Gasper van den Doorn for owner Chadburn Holdings, Inc.  The pair finished on a combined total of 1.73 penalties carried forward from Friday night’s speed phase, and joined Millar as the only other horse-rider combination to leave all the rails in place over three rounds of competition.

Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON posted two clear rounds in Saturday night’s final to finish third with a total of 4.45 penalties riding Granturo, owned by Western Sales & Development.

Having finished second and third behind their father on Friday night, Jonathon and Amy Millar, both of Perth, ON, remained in the top five following the final phase of competition.  Jonathon Millar and Bonzay, owned by Isotropic investments, finished on 4.46 penalties for fourth while Amy Millar incurred 8.42 penalties to place fifth riding Heros, owned by AMMO Investments.

Based on their performances in the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Cone and Moffatt move forward to the international division, beginning Tuesday, November 8.  They join fellow Canadians Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB, Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, who were all pre-qualified based on their world ranking.

The $130,500 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 9, highlights international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show, and is a qualifying event for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska, next spring.  Rio Olympic champions Nick Skelton and Big Star of Great Britain headline the list of international entries, which also includes Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, who were both members of the U.S. Olympic silver medal team in Rio.

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.

About The Royal

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.  This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.  For competition schedules, live webcasting, results, and to purchase tickets, visit www.royalfair.org.

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

Michael Jung Wins $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge

Michael Jung. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung of Germany claimed victory in his $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge debut on Saturday night, November 5, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Jung, who won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, thrilled a full house in the Ricoh Coliseum by guiding Cruising Guy home in the fastest time to win the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge.

Held over two rounds, riders came into Saturday’s competition carrying forward their opening phase scores from Friday night.  Ranked second behind Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON, coming into the final phase of competition, Jung shot to the top of the leaderboard with a penalty-free, two-night cumulative time of 152.13 seconds when Slezak had two refusals riding Fernhill Wishes.

Jung’s win was especially remarkable, considering he had only ridden his winning mount, Cruising Guy, for the first time 24 hours earlier.

“I really felt more of a partnership with the horse tonight,” said Jung following his victory.  “He was really concentrated, and nearly in every moment he was super to ride.  He’s an experienced horse and very well prepared.  I just had a good ride with a good horse.  I have to say thank you to the team and to the horse.”

Rachel McDonough riding Irish Rhythm
Rachel McDonough riding Irish Rhythm

While Jung claimed victory, Toronto’s own Rachel McDonough placed second riding Irish Rhythm with a two-round time of 160.59 seconds.  Rounding out the top three was Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON riding Abbey GS, owned by Charlotte Schickedanz.

Jung made his first trip to Toronto a winning one over the 18-obstacle track set by course designer Captain Mark Phillips of Great Britain, himself an Olympic team gold medalist from the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

“I really liked the show,” said Jung, 34.  “It’s very beautiful, and the course designer is very experienced.  I’ve ridden many of his courses outside.  It’s totally different inside, but he did a good job.  It’s good competition.”

In addition to his success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jung won both the individual and team gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics and is one of only two riders to ever win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, achieved by winning the CCI4* Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA), the CCI4* Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), and the CCI4* Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) in succession.

Competition at the Royal Horse Show continues on Sunday, November 6, featuring the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby at 1 p.m.

Limited 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.

About The Royal

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.  This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.  For competition schedules, live webcasting, results, and to purchase tickets, visit www.royalfair.org.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Royal Horse Show Voted Top Indoor Event by North American Riders Group

Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Wellington, Florida – Toronto’s Royal Horse Show was ranked number one indoor horse show and top three overall when the North American Riders Group’s ‘Top 25 of 2015’ was revealed at its annual meeting on February 23 in Wellington, FL.

Used as a benchmark for competitions across the continent, the North American Riders Group’s (NARG) annual ranking employs a wide variety of criteria to assess show jumping events. Footing, Stabling, Jumps and Courses, Technical Aspects, Financial Aspects, Ceremony, and Marketing are all categories taken into consideration by independent evaluators.

Ranked number five in 2014, the Royal Horse Show has jumped up two placings for a spot in the top three against all shows in North America. Canadian events swept the top three with Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB, once again earning the number one spot followed by Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC. In addition to being the number three event overall, the Royal Horse Show maintained its position as the best indoor event in North America.

“Now in its 93rd year, the staff knows how to put on an entertaining show that appeals to the public,” read the NARG ‘Top 25 of 2015’ report on the Royal Horse Show, entitled ‘Fit for a King’. “Hundreds of thousands of spectators flock to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair each year and the Royal Horse Show, the highlight of the Fair, can be assured of sell-out crowds and a super-charged feel, creating an extraordinary atmosphere for top sport. As the top indoor event in North America in 2015, The Royal is truly an event fit for big prize money and show jumping royalty.”

The 2015 Royal Horse Show saw the debut of the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto, won by two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward of the United States riding HH Azur for Double H Farm. 2002 World Champion Dermott Lennon of Ireland and Loughview Lou Lou finished second while 2015 Pan American Games contender Roberto Teran of Colombia placed third riding Woklahoma, underscoring the international caliber of competitors drawn to the annual Royal Horse Show. The Royal was one of only four Canadian events to be selected for the newly-formed Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, a qualifying event for the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final to be held in March in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“We are thrilled to retain our number one ranking as the premier indoor horse show in North America and proud to be recognized as the number three event overall by the North American Riders Group,” said Charlie Johnstone, CEO of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “Thanks to our committees, volunteers, sponsors and fans whose continued support help make the Royal Horse Show a world-class event.”

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

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in the heart of downtown Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Laura Robertson Tops $5,000 Royal Pony Jumper Final at 2015 Royal Horse Show

Laura Robertson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Laura Robertson of Toronto, ON topped the $5,000 Royal Pony Jumper Final, presented by William Tilford and Marion Cunningham of Marbill Hill Farm, on Sunday, November 15, at the Royal Horse Show®. The competition officially closed out The 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

In a fairytale ending to the Royal Horse Show, Robertson and a chestnut pony called Royal took top call in the featured class for pony jumpers. Pony-size speed was showcased as Royal, owned by Charlotte Millar, carried Robertson to victory over 14 entries. They were the fastest of three double-clear efforts breaking the timer beam in a blistering 27.36 seconds.

More than two seconds behind Robertson, second-place rider Raphaelle Ferreira of Prevost, QC stopped the clock at 29.90 seconds riding her own Montreux. Ferreira’s top finish, coupled with a sixth-place ribbon in the $2,500 Royal Pony Jumper Welcome held Saturday, November 14, clinched her the Royal Pony Jumper Championship. Camille Huppe of St. Eustache, QC aboard Texas, owned by Susana Tezanos-Moreno, collected third on Sunday with a 31.03-second jump-off time. They were also second on Saturday to earn the Reserve Champion title.

Melinda Dupont of Mount Albert, ON and her own Snapchat were clean over the original track to advance to the jump-off, but suffered elimination to settle in fourth. Jumping to the fastest four-fault effort in the first round, Grace Munro of Wolfville, NS rounded out the top five in the irons of her own Ever So Clever.

Kilby Brunner Deforest topped the $2,500 Royal Pony Jumper Welcome, the first class of the division, on Saturday. Her partner was Barkway Topaz, an English-bred Welsh pony owned by her mother, Kirsten Brunner. Barkway Topaz did double duty at the Royal Horse Show®, also showing in driving competition with his owner.

The Royal Pony Jumper Division celebrated its third year calling The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair home, and welcomed riders from four provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – to Ricoh Coliseum. The division’s two classes were generously presented by William Tilford and Marion Cunningham, who were in attendance on Sunday to congratulate the riders on their accomplishments.

“Pony jumpers are the first step in developing riders that can go forward, think on the fly, and handle a wide variety of obstacles, terrain and approaches,” said Cunningham, who operates Marbill Hill Farm in Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON. “We are proud to support this competition at the Royal Horse Show®, and proud to encourage the future of show jumping sport.”

After ten days of top competition, featuring pint-sized ponies and World Cup Champions alike, the Royal Horse Show wrapped its 2015 season with excitement already building for the event in 2016, which will return to downtown Toronto November 4-13, 2016.

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

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

McLain Ward Wins $75,000 Big Ben Challenge to Close 2015 Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward riding HH Azur. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – McLain Ward of the United States scored yet another victory in the $75,000 Big Ben Challenge, presented by Hudson’s Bay Company, on Saturday night, November 14, to close out international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show®, held as part of The 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

A total of 20 entries tried their luck over the track set by British course designer Richard Jeffery in front of a sold-out crowd in the Ricoh Coliseum. More forgiving than in previous nights’ competition, Jeffery laid a track that saw eight horse-rider combinations advance to the all-deciding jump-off.

When Ward entered the Ricoh Coliseum, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts held the jump-off lead with a clear round in a time of 42.03 seconds riding H&M Legend of Love. Wasting no time around the short course, Ward guided HH Azur home in a time of 40.42 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard. Fellow American Reed Kessler challenged Ward’s time with Cylana, but the clock told the final tale, with a time of 41.44 seconds placing her second between Ward and Philippaerts.

“Honestly, as a rider doing this my whole life, you never think a horse like this exists,” said Ward of HH Azur, who made a huge effort at the final fence to take the win. “Most horses would have fallen down at that last fence. The take-off was 15 feet away, I bet. It’s not that I was surprised she jumped it; I was just surprised how easy it was. The jump-off was exciting, which is great for the crowd.”

Ward enjoyed an exceptional week of competition at the Royal Horse Show®, winning a total of four international classes – two riding HH Azur and two with his newest mount, Carneyhaugh Manx – and was awarded the title of Leading International Rider. He and HH Azur, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) owned by Double H Farm, also won Wednesday night’s $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto.

“The World Cup was the most difficult one we’ve seen all season, which I was excited about with this horse,” said Ward, 40, of Brewster, NY. “I really wanted to challenge her, and what a great way to end the year!”

Runner-up Kessler was thrilled with her 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare’s performance.

Reed Kessler riding Cylana
Reed Kessler riding Cylana

“She was fantastic,” said Kessler, 21, who is based in Germany. “I’m really lucky; I have a super experienced horse and she’s really brave and honest. She always wants to do her best, so in that respect I have it easy. They’ve been difficult courses all week by Richard; you need a horse that looks for the fence and is really brave.

“I love The Royal,” continued Kessler, who is competing at the Royal Horse Show® for the second time in her young career. “It’s a super show and has great atmosphere. They do their best for the horses and the riders here, and it’s always great to come to a show that is like that.”

With Kessler second and Philippaerts taking third, New York’s Georgina Bloomberg took fourth place. The first rider on course, Bloomberg posted a clear round in a time of 45.66 seconds riding Caleno 3. Nicola Philippaerts, twin brother to Olivier, had four faults in the jump-off to place fifth riding H&M Harley vd Bisschop. Jonathon Millar was the top Canadian, taking sixth place with a rail down and two time faults riding his father’s 2012 London Olympic Games mount, Star Power. Two-time Olympic team gold medalist Beezie Madden of the United States had eight faults in the jump-off, as did New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley riding Barnetta, to finish seventh and eighth, respectively.

The Leading Canadian Rider Award, presented by AMJ, went to Jonathon Millar. In an interesting twist, Martha Louise and Ariana, both owned by the Grange family, tied for the All-Canadian Cup, presented to the leading Canadian-owned horse. The award is presented by Susan Grange’s Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON. Grange and her rider, Conor Swail of Ireland, accepted the All-Canadian Cup.

Canine-EquineTo the delight of horse and dog lovers alike, the $15,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, took center stage in Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. Riders were paired with a ‘Superdog’, navigating the show jumping track and crossing the timers before their canine partner took off around a dog agility course. The crowd cheered for their favourites, as dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes raced up, over and through the obstacles. In the end, it was Ward and Carneyhaugh Manx, his new 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, that crossed the timers with the fastest clear round for the win.

Also during Saturday’s matinee performance, Liam Dumont Walker of Oakville, ON won the $5,000 MP Equine Junior/Amateur Jumper Stake. Riding Lilius, Dumont Walker topped a four horse jump-off to claim victory over Ashley MacDougall of Brampton, ON aboard Alaska K by more than four full seconds. Dumont Walker finished the week tied for Champion in the Junior/Amateur division with Miranda Travers-Cavill of Claremont, ON, who won the other two classes in the division riding Capriato.

While international show jumping competitors are heading back to their respective corners of the world, the next generation will take center stage in the Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday, November 15. Highlights include the Children’s Hunter and Junior Jumper divisions, as well as the $5,000 Royal Pony Jumper Final, presented by William Tilford and Marion Cunningham of Marbill Hill Farm in Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON.

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

To purchase Royal Horse Show tickets, please visit Ticketmaster at http://www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131553/986584.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Nicola Philippaerts Wins $50,000 Weston Canadian Open at 2015 Royal Horse Show

Nicola Philippaerts riding H&M Harley vd Bisschop. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts scored victory in the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday night, November 13, at the Royal Horse Show®, held as part of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

British course designer Richard Jeffery set a challenging speed track for the starting field of 21 entries. With high speed came great risk, and only two riders managed to cross the finish line with all the rails still intact. Philippaerts did it in the fastest time, coming home in 59.83 seconds riding H&M Harley vd Bisschop while U.S. veteran Leslie Howard opted for a more conservative approach, stopping the clock in 64.04 seconds riding Utah. By comparison, fellow American McLain Ward, winner of Wednesday night’s $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto, posted the evening’s fastest time, a blistering 55.82 seconds riding HH Carlos Z, but at the expensive of a rail to finish third.

“The course was pretty big for a speed class,” said Philippaerts, 22. “There were only two clears and many were fast. There were a few that were faster than me but had one down. There were some difficulties, like the combination and the skinny vertical, but I was lucky enough to leave the rails up.”

Fellow Belgian competitor Francois Mathy, Jr., was another rider who produced a faster round in 58.34 seconds riding Polinska des Isles but had four faults to place fourth. American Charlie Jacobs was also faster than Philippaerts, clocking in at 59.58 seconds, but again failed to leave all the jumps in place to take fifth with Cassinja S.

Leslie Howard of the United States placed second riding Utah
Leslie Howard of the United States placed second riding Utah

“I didn’t think I was fast enough,” continued Philippaerts, who has been partnered with H&M Harley vd Bisschop, a grey Belgian Warmblood gelding, since last year. “I was halfway through the class and my horse is quite fast naturally, but he’s only eight and he doesn’t have all the experience yet. He did great today and I’m super happy with him. I think it’s a great horse. I hope it’s going to be one of my good horses in my future.”

Philippaerts and his twin brother, Olivier, are both competing in the international division of the Royal Horse Show®. Their father, Ludo, is a four-time Olympian for Belgium, and was ringside in Toronto to help the twins as they carry on the family name in the sport of show jumping. He was not only the proud father of the winning rider, but also the proud owner of the winning horse, as he owns H&M Harley vd Bisschop in partnership with Ben Beevers.

“I think the Royal is fantastic!” said Nicola Philippaerts. “There is so much culture and history at this show. It’s always nice to come here. The crowd not only cheers for the Canadians, but for anyone who rides well.”

Saturday’s Royal Horse Show® features the crowd-friendly $15,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, as the matinee performance. The sold-out $75,000 Big Ben Challenge, presented by Hudson’s Bay Company, will close out the international show jumping division on Saturday night.

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

To purchase Royal Horse Show tickets, please visit Ticketmaster at http://www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131553/986584.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Belinda Trussell Tops $20,000 Invitational Dressage Cup at 2015 Royal Horse Show

Belinda Trussell and Anton. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON won the $20,000 Royal Invitational Dressage Cup, presented by Butternut Ridge, on Thursday night, November 12, at the Royal Horse Show®, held as part of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

Hot off a team silver medal appearance at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games in July, Trussell and Anton returned to the competition arena to win in front of a home crowd. With a technical program highlighted by a difficult one-handed piaffe-pirouette, the pair earned the top score of 77% from a panel of international judges to earn the title.

“Anton was great!” said Trussell of the 15-year-old German-bred gelding owned by her mother, Robyn Eames, and her husband, Mark Trussell. “He was very electric, but he was with me. It was so much fun!”

Having competed in front of a hometown crowd at the Pan American Games, Trussell was thrilled to once again perform in Toronto. It also marked her second appearance at the Royal Horse Show®, having last competed in 2003 with Royan.

“I always want to win, and I really wanted to support the sport of dressage at The Royal,” said Trussell, 44. “Being a medalist and being in front of a home crowd was important to me, and it felt really great!”

Trussell was especially thrilled to be riding Anton, as the horse has returned to the sport following a two and a half year break due to a bone lesion. She explained, “My veterinarian, Dr. Usha Knabe, brought him back for me. He is better than ever! At 15, he is reaching his prime.”

As the winner, Trussell was presented with the Butternut Ridge Trophy, generously sponsored by Deborah Kinzinger Miculinic.

“To have Deb Kinzinger and Butternut Ridge supporting our sport is huge,” said Trussell, who is now aiming for a berth at the 2016 Rio Olympics with Anton. “They are making it exciting for us to come and compete.”

Leah Wilkins, 28, of Amaranth, ON impressed in her Royal Invitational Cup debut, and used powerful and dramatic music to highlight her Freestyle performance. Riding Fabian J.S., a 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Maria Simpson, Wilkins earned a score of 73.375% to finish as the runner-up. Canadian Olympian and 2013 Royal Invitational Cup competitor David Marcus flew in from Wellington, FL to coach Wilkins at the Royal Horse Show®.

Crowd favourite Jacqueline Brooks of Mount Albert, ON thrilled the audience with a moving freestyle performance aboard her 2012 Olympic Games partner, D Niro. Owned by Mary Brooks and Brookhaven Dressage Inc., D Niro is a 16-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding. Brooks, who has been competing at the Royal Horse Show® since dressage was first introduced, finished third on this occasion with a final score of 73.208%.

Rounding out the top four was yet another Canadian Olympian, Evi Strasser of St. Adele, QC. With a freestyle test highlighted by floating, expressive trot work, Strasser earned a final score of 70.667% riding Renaissance Tyme. The 12-year-old grey Oldenburg gelding recently made headlines when reigning Olympic and World Champion Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain rode him during a dressage demonstration at the Central Park Horse Show in September.

Equitation was also on the agenda at the Royal Horse Show® as the CET Medal Final, presented by Running Fox, took center stage on Thursday afternoon. Having claimed the Jump Canada Medal Final on Tuesday, November 10, Kassidy Keith of Duncan, BC returned to the Ricoh Coliseum to dominate the 2015 CET Medal Final. Keith was sitting second following the opening flat and gymnastic phase held Wednesday before topping the final jumping phase on Thursday afternoon. She piloted Wallabee, owned by Jolene Benham, to the top jumping phase score of 89 awarded by judges William Ellis of Ocala, FL and Mike Rosser of Southern Pines, NC. The top four riders were then called back for additional testing where Keith impressed yet again to claim the national title. Arora Peters of Aldergrove, BC finished as the runner-up, Briana Ballard of St. Lazare, QC took third, and Megan Champoux of Aldergrove, BC rounded out the top four.

The $35,000 Brickenden Trophy International Jumper class was also held on Thursday and saw Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts riding H&M Legend of Love take the win for owners Gerald Nothurft and Ludo Philippaerts. The pair topped a starting field of 20 entries as the fastest double clear following a five-horse jump-off.

Conor Swail and Ariana
Conor Swail and Ariana

To cap off the evening, Ireland’s Conor Swail executed the best course to take the win in the $35,000 International Jumper Top Score Challenge. Riders formulated their own plan, earning points for each obstacle successfully cleared before deciding whether to jump the joker fence for an additional 200 points. Riding Ariana, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Susan Grange of Cheltenham, ON, Swail successfully cleared the joker to earn a total of 1230 points and take his second victory of the week in the international division.

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

To purchase Royal Horse Show tickets, please visit Ticketmaster at http://www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131553/986584.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

McLain Ward Captures $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Toronto at Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – McLain Ward of the United States scored his third consecutive victory in the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday, November 11, at the Royal Horse Show®, held as part of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

Ward of Brewster, NY topped a two-horse jump-off to claim victory in the Royal Horse Show’s World Cup qualifier for a record seventh time. After winning at The Royal in 2013 and 2014, Ward made it three in a row, taking the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto in front of a packed house in the Ricoh Coliseum.

“My father competed at The Royal for a number of years and now; for my daughter to come here and be a part of this, it’s very special,” said Ward, 40, whose nine-month-old daughter Lilly was in the audience. “I love it here.”

A starting field of 22 entries attempted the tough track set by British course designer Richard Jeffery. More than half-way through the order, back-to-back clear rounds were delivered by Ireland’s Dermott Lennon aboard Loughview Lou Lou for owner Judith Sossick immediately followed by Ward riding HH Azur for Double H Farm.

Lennon and Loughview Lou Lou returned first over the shorten jump-off course, but clipped two rails for eight faults in a time of 42.04 seconds. With the door left wide open, Ward opted for a conservative clear, picking up one time fault in the process to finish in 47.58 seconds.

Despite setting a tough track that he described as “big” with no verticals set lower than 1.60m, course designer Jeffery was pleased with the outcome.

“Every fence came down at least once and I was happy with the result,” he said. “I wanted it to be a real World Cup class, and I built for that. McLain showed us tonight with that horse what a future the sport has.”

Dermott Lennon and Loughview Lou Lou
Dermott Lennon and Loughview Lou Lou

Lennon, 46, settled for second with Loughview Lou Lou, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare.

“The horse traveled well and jumped well tonight, so I am happy,” said the 2002 World Champion about the mare that shipped from Europe to Toronto to compete at the Royal Horse Show. “It was a difficult course for her and she gave a lot in the first round. She’s not the easiest ride, but she’s very competitive and always wants to try.”

Three mares dominated the top spots with Roberto Teran of Colombia posting the fastest four-fault effort in the first round riding Woklahoma to finish third for owners ARK Partners, LLC.

“Toronto is like my second hometown,” said Teran, 38, who is based in Burlington, ON during the summer season. “I always want to come here because I think it is super special. Today was a little unlucky, but I am happy with the result. Looking back, I would have pulled a little harder for that vertical and been in the jump-off!”

Nicola Philippaerts of Belgium rode H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden to fourth place for owners Frans Lens and proud father Ludo Philippaerts while Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS rounded out the top five for the United States.

Ward also won the $15,000 McKee International Jumper Challenge earlier on Wednesday riding Carneyhaugh Manx, but the horse on his mind at the end of the day was HH Azur, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui).

“It’s a bit of a dream,” said Ward, who won back-to-back Olympic team gold medals in 2004 and 2008. “I would say she’s the horse of a lifetime if I hadn’t had Sapphire. To get a second one like this is pretty incredible, and I hope I do her justice and manage her well. Every time the horse goes in the ring she’s better, higher, faster. The only time she has a fence down is if I have a terrible error.”

Ward explained that when he began riding HH Azur this winter, he quickly realized that she could be his mount for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“We knew after Florida that she was everything we thought she was, and she’s only gotten better this summer,” he said. “Everything she does now will be working backwards from Rio.”

Wednesday evening’s event marked the inclusion of the Royal Horse Show as one of only four Canadian events to be selected for the newly-formed Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. The class offered valuable points towards qualifying for the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final to be held from March 23 to 28 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Charlie Johnstone, CEO of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, acknowledged what a privilege it is for the Royal Horse Show to be part of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League noting, “To host the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto added to our credibility and stature in the industry. The World Cup is such an iconic event.

“We are honoured to have these riders put on such a great show for us here tonight,” he continued. “What has surprised me the most is the emotional connection that people have with The Royal. The commitment to continue that really is something special.”

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

To purchase Royal Horse Show tickets, please visit Ticketmaster at http://www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131553/986584.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com