TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Twenty-four of the best show jumpers in the world, along with their equine partners, are set to begin a week of top show jumping when the international division officially opens tomorrow at the prestigious CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, Toronto.
Between now and Saturday, November 15th, these select riders will have the opportunity to compete in ten matinee and evening competitions including the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World CupTM Grand Prix presented by Hudson's Bay (Wednesday, November 12th), the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open (Friday, November 14th) and Saturday evening's sold-out $75,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge.
Last year's Leading Canadian Rider and current Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar of Perth, ON, who just claimed the latter title for an incredible eleventh time, will lead the squad representing Canada. He will be joined by his son, Jonathon Millar (Perth, ON); Olympic teammate Jill Henselwood (Oxford Mills, ON); Jordan MacPherson (Toronto, ON); Chris Sorensen (Caledon, ON); Erynn Ballard (Tottenham, ON); and two newcomers to the international division Elissa Reisman (Guelph, ON) and Jaclyn Duff (Edmonton, AB) who earned their positions based on their performance in opening weekend's Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships.
The American and foreign riders always provide fierce competition and this year they have sent an exciting mix of seasoned veterans and exciting 'next generation' superstars who are making their mark in the show jumping world.
Visiting riders from south of the border include 2013 World Champion Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY), fresh from her bronze medal finish at this summer's World Equestrian Games; two-time US Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY; Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut (Wellington, FL); Todd Minikus (Loxahatchee, FL) and Olympic gold and silver medalist Leslie Howard (Newtown, CT). Exciting young talent includes Quentin Judge (Ridgefield, CT), New York, NY's Katie Dinan and Jessica Springsteen (Colts Neck, NJ).
Ireland's Conor Swail will be looking to defend his 2013 Leading International Rider title; while teammate Darragh Kenny (Ireland), Daniel Bluman (Colombia, Roberto Teran (Colombia), twin brothers Olivier and Nicola Phillipaerts (Belgium), Francois Mathy (Belgium and Beat Mandli (Belgium) will be looking to take his place.
In order to do that, they will have to prove their worth over courses designed by the just-named course designer for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil - Brazil's own Guilherme Jorge. If opening weekend's Greenhawk Canadian Championship courses were any indication, they best bring their A-Game to The Royal this week.
The evening performance on Thursday, November 13th offers an exciting double-bill of international show jumping with the $32,000 MNP International Top Score and the $20,000 Royal Dressage Invitational Freestyle to Music presented by Butternut Ridge.
The Royal Horse Show is not limited to competition however, with family-friendly features including the return of Australian "horseman, entertainer and bush poet", Guy McLean, back to illustrate his incredible and inspiring bond with his horses. McLean will appear in paid horse show performances between November 11-16.
The show continues through Sunday, November 16th, with closing day's competition free with general admission to the Royal.
About the Royal Horse Show and 92nd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair ~ The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, The 92nd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 7-16, 2014 in the Direct Energy Centre and Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. The Royal Horse Show CSI4*-W is just one of a handful of 'four-star' competitions in North America and was voted the top indoor horse show in North America by the North American Riders Group. To purchase tickets, request media accreditation, view competition schedules, LIVE webcasting, and for complete results please visit www.royalfair.org.
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ALL MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: Due to the sold-out status of the horse show Saturday, November 15, please be advised your media pass alone will NOT gain you access to the Ricoh Coliseum. Contact Michelle for consideration if you will be covering the horse show Saturday the 15th. A seat ticket (journalists) or separate wristband (photographers) will be required for Coliseum access. Thank you.
Image with caption: "Current Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion, Ian Millar (Perth, Ontario) will be leading the Canadian contingent in the prestigious international division beginning tomorrow at the Royal Horse Show. The Royal welcomes the best in the world for show jumping beginning tomorrow, November 11, running through Saturday, November 15. Photo credit: BenRadvanyi.com (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141110_C4371_PHOTO_EN_7797.jpg
SOURCE: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair