2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Wrap Up & Photo Gallery
By Kim MacMillan, MacMillan Photography & Media Services
Photos by Kim & Allen MacMillan, Tammy Brown and Shelley Higgins/MacMillan Photography Media Services. All photos are copyrighted. For more information or to purchase photos please contact us at email@example.com.
The 92nd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair wrapped up in Toronto last weekend with dozens of champions being named in the Royal Horse Show, as well as in the Agriculture Show. Roughly 300,000 visitors attended the Fair which ran from November 7 – November 16 at the Canadian Exhibition Place located near Lake Ontario in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
The Royal Horse Show is one of the last remaining grand, old-style horse shows packing the stands each day with fairgoers from Canada and around the world. The show offered classes for draft horse hitches, antique carriages, hunters, jumpers, dressage horses, Welsh Ponies, Standardbreds, Hackneys, Thoroughbreds and Canadian Sport Horses. The popular annual Canine/Equine Challenge class held on the final Saturday combines a jumper horse and rider pair with a canine agility competitor and handler as each runs over their own course (show jumping for the horses and agility for the dogs) with the two scores being combined to determine the winners.
The first week featured a rodeo, the always exciting indoor eventing and Shetland Pony Grand National racing complete with tiny jockeys and simulated steeplechase fences. The second week of the Royal featured Australian “Bush Poet” and horse trainer Guy McLean performing with his four home-bred, red dun Australian Stock Horses. Now based in Texas, McLean entertained the audience with his unique mix of humor while riding one horse and working the other three at liberty.
The Royal international show jumping tour continued in the second week including: the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix on November 12 (won by McLain Ward and Rothchild from the U.S.A.); the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on November 14 (won by Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo from the U.S.A.); the always entertaining $15,000 Canine,/Equine Challenge class (won by Jessica Springsteen and Zero from the U.S.A. plus their dog and handler partners) held in the afternoon on November 15, and the $75,000 Big Ben International Challenge (won by Nicola Philappaerts from Belgium and Challenge Vd Begijnakker) on November 15.
Leading Canadian Rider was Jonathon Miller, Leading International Rider was McLain Ward of the U.S.A. and the Leading Canadian Jumper Horse was Game Ready owned by Susan Grange and ridden by Ireland’s Connor Swail.
The Royal is the largest indoor combined horse show and agricultural fair in the world. The Royal Agriculture show features classes for livestock, farm crops and garden produce, as well as unique classes such as the Gay Lea Butter Sculpture Contest (see gallery of sculptures here: http://www.royalfair.org/node/229), the Most Unusually Shaped Vegetable Class, and the Ladies Lead and Wool Class where the handler and sheep are both dressed in wool (see description of this class at http://www.royalfair.org/td-ladies-lead-and-wool).
The 4-H bunny jumping competition, held in the President’s Choice Animal Theater arena for the second year in a row, was a very popular program. The competition involved each 4-H member taking their pet rabbit through a course that was a cross between a show jumping course and a dog agility course, only with heights set appropriately for rabbits. Other events featured in the President’s Choice Animal Theater were: educational clinics for dressage, eventing and show jumping (to educate the crowds about the sports competing in the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games to be held in Toronto); Goats on the Go; Super Dogs agility performances; a performance by the Medieval Times cast; The Spirit of the Horse breed demonstrations, and more.
The Royal is truly a unique competition with the top international level horse show alongside the Canadian agriculture showcase with a host of shopping, entertainment and dining options as well. Hundreds of merchants offered wares ranging from antiques and artwork to tack and riding clothes and from clothing and home improvement products options to health and beauty items and gifts. There were a number of farms offering Canadian grown meats, produce and dairy products for sampling and purchase as well. Cooking classes, riding clinics, horse breed demonstrations, wandering musicians, square dancing, children’s’ activities, Toyotas to test drive, and Super Dogs performances were among the many entertainment and educational programs offered during the Royal.
For more information and a complete list of results to go www.royalfair.org. The 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will run November 6 – 15.