Sunday, November 05, 2017

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2017

Horses and heifers were the main draw to the world's largest indoor agricultural and equestrian show in Toronto's Exhibition Place, but there was so much more to see at the fair. Taking place November 3-12 in the Enercare Centre, the Horse Palace and Ricoh Coliseum for the 95th time since the Royal began in 1922. General admission tickets are $27.50 and you could upgrade your ticket to see the Royal Horse Show for additional costs depending on the date and time.
"The Royal Horse Shows hosts more than 1,000 competitors and offers $1 million in prize money over the course of its ten-day run. International show jumping athletes make their way to Toronto from all corners of the world to compete in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 8th. This year top ranked international competitors will include Olympians, Kent Farrington, and McLain Ward, ranked #1 and #3 in the world respectively. In addition to international competition, the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship returns in 2017. Top-ranked Canadian riders, including 12-time winner and defending champion Ian Millar of Perth, ON, will go head-to-head over two days on November 3rd and 4th, with the winner being crowned the Canadian Show Jumping Champion."
Ian in the practice ring on Saturday
Ian Millar in competition on Friday night. Photo from the Royal Winter Fair

Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario won the initial phase of the Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Friday with the help of his horse named Dixson. His time of 61.75 seconds was the fastest time without knocking down any jumps, on the course which was designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil who designed the 2016 Rio Olympic course. Fellow Canadian Ali Ramsay riding Hermelien VD Hooghoeve finished in second place. Competitors carry over their scores into Saturday's final phase which was won by Amy Miller and her mount, Heros.

"The Canadian Championship is a really big deal for us; it's what this weekend is all about," said Millar, 70, who is the defending champion with Dixson, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo D'arsouilles x Olisco). "The timing is wonderful because it's year-end, so it culminates like a true championship. Sport has to have a script to it with a start, an end, and drama. This gives you a script with the championship at the end of the season, and The Royal does a very, very good job of it. It is very prestigious to win."

Saturday, November 4 had Heifer, Hereford and Dairy Goat competitions while over the course of the Royal several different animals such as sheep, lamb, fancy birds and rabbits will be featured. You can also see butter sculpting, the K9 Equine Relay featuring the President's Choice SuperDogs, the Craft Beer and Cider Awards and emerging artists Boots and Hearts. Amber Marshall, star of the CBC series Heartland, will return to the Royal as the guest MC for the matinee Rodeo on November 12.
In the Burnbrae Farms Food and Lifestyle Stage we got a chance to see the International Invitational Chef Challenge hosted by Ted Reader.

There is plenty of paid parking in Exhibition Place although some parking spots were given over to an outdoor cow holding area. Across Lake Shore the parking for Ontario Place was full of hundreds of livestock trailers, so many that I don't think there are many horses left on the farms.

See more of the Royal after the jump.

Saddles and harnesses were some of the many items being sold at the show

Some giant pumpkins were on display

Wool competition
Lots of ribbons are given during the competitions

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