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A Royal End to the Canadian Show Season

by Genevieve Kendell

Judges:    Jeff McClean, James Nichols
Ringmaster:    W.L. Thomas, Jim MacKay
Announcer:    Peter Doubleday
Photographers:    Genevieve Kendall, Lynn Cassels-Caldwell
Chairman:    Kim Philip
Manager:    Peter Doubleday
Coordinator:    Janice Blakeny

TORONTO, Ontario -- Once a year, Country comes to the City. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, held early November in Toronto, Ontario is one of the largest and most prestigious indoor exhibitions in the world. Not just a horse show, North America's best agriculture is on display as well as fantastic shopping, dining, and have we mentioned shopping? Not just for the equine crowd, exclusive tailors mix with fine equine jewelers, custom saddles, talented artists, the list goes on forever. It's the perfect place to get your Christmas shopping done between horse show sessions and it is all in Canadian dollars!

Oh yes, the horse show! International Jumpers and World Cup Dressage alternate with Six Horse Hitches, World Champion Hackneys, and thrilling road horses. The “Royal” hosts the Canadian Championships for many breeds and divisions including, Shetland ponies, Hackney/Harness ponies and Hackney and road horses. It also has the honor of hosting the world championships for Hackney Horses. Jeff McClean of Simpsonville, Ky., was the judge for all Hackney and Shetland divisions with James Nichols marking the cards for the road horses.

The pleasure pony division is always high in numbers and quality, this year was no exception. Sizzlin' Hot put in a brilliant but mannerly performance to win the junior exhibitor class with Devon Morrow driving for Dan Trudeau. Second place was awarded to Super Spy, owned and shown by Amanda Ella.      

Janet Crawford Hicks and Miss Excellence were a picture perfect pair to win the Amateur Pleasure Driving just ahead of Karen Waldron and Spirit of Success. Ladies ruled again in the Canadian Championship with Miss Excellence and Janet Crawford Hicks taking home the silver plate, followed by Spirit of Success with Karen Waldron for Bent Tree Farms.

Jeff McLean certainly had his work cut out for him in the road pony division. The Junior Road Pony class was large in numbers and deep in quality. In the end, Maureen Lydon prevailed with Cirque du Soleil. His name is French for “Circus Of The Sun” and he certainly shone that day for proud owner Paul Richardson.

Beaming Adam Bovaird and his Fame And Fortune were the winners of the Amateur Road Pony qualifier, just in front of Dash and Georgia Blevins of Blevins Farm. Adam Bovaird smiled wide when Fame And Fortune was called as the Canadian Amateur Road Pony Champion. Larry Ella met them for the winner's presentation. Dash and Georgia Blevins were awarded the honors of Reserve Canadian Champion for Blevins Farm.

Free Willy made his Canadian debut in style with two winning performances in the open road pony division. Georgia Blevins piloted Willy with ease for the Blevins Farm all the way to being crowned Canadian Road Pony Champion. Reserve Canadian Champion was Late Nite's Basic Impact and Roger Lucas for Edith Heath. That pair also picked up second in the qualifier followed by Mystic Presence and Laurie Palmer.

Mr. Hawkeye made his first trip to Toronto worthwhile with two wonderful performances in the Amateur and Ladies Hackney Pony classes. Sharon Lewis was at the lines of “her boy” for both classes and never stopped smiling. Second place in the ladies went to the ABC Farms’ entry Spats & Hats. Totally Excellent took home the second ribbon in the Amateur Hackney Pony followed by DG's Maggie May shown by Gail Smith for David & Gail Smith.

The Junior Hackney Pony winner was Mark In Time shown by Lee Hudson for Bent Tree Farm followed by Diamonds Are Forever and Jane Alderman Graham for Art Alderman. Bold & Fancy shown by Ken Alderman for the ABC Farms, Heartland Splish Splash with Art Alderman and Walnut Meadows Sailor with Roger Lucas for Mr. & Mrs. Earl Horton rounded out the top five.

World champion On The Mark and Karen Waldron showed what they are made of with two wonderful performances on the way to becoming Canadian Champions. Second place in the Open Hackney Pony was awarded to Heartland Ooh La La and Lee Hudson for Bent Tree Farm.

Harness Ponies have traditionally been a strong division at the Royal and this year was no exception. Bent Tree Farm's Sweetheart of Success was just that as she took home the red ribbon in the Ladies’ Harness Pony class. Sally Schumacher showed her own Namesake's Secret to second place in the ladies class.

Vindicator strutted his way to the red ribbon in the Amateur Harness Pony class with Karen Waldron for Bent Tree Farm. Namesake's Secret and Sally Schumacher were awarded second place by judge McClean.

The Junior Harness Pony class was won by the feminine Sweetheart of Success with Karen Waldron on the lines. Impress Me Too took home second place with Dan Trudeau driving.

The open harness ponies got right down to work. Par Excellence was a beautiful picture as Larry Ella presented him to the win for the Bent Tree Farm. They were the winners of the open qualifier followed by Night Editor, shown by Lee Hudson, also for the Bent Tree Farm.

Par Excellence was also the deserving winner of the Canadian Harness Pony Championship and completed Bent Tree Farm's sweep of the entire harness pony division. Vindicator was his usual lofty self on the way to the Reserve Canadian Championship title. Karen Waldron was driving for her Bent Tree Farm.

Hackney horses came from all over Canada and the United States to compete for a World, Canadian and Royal title. Maple Hill's Impeccable matures with every show and he was the deserving winner of the junior class. Second place was awarded to EQL Trademark shown by Ed Murray for John and Morgan Beilfus.

First Impression is a high-going gelding trimmed in white and he made two sharp performances with Jane Alderman Graham driving to win both the amateur qualifier and the Amateur Hackney Horse World Championship title. Jane Alderman's dad Art trains this pair. Canada's Pride turned it on a little more to move up one position to take the Reserve World Amateur Championship. Heartland Blizzard took second in the amateur qualifier with Karen Waldron driving for Bent Tree Farm.

Last year's World's Champion Hackney Horse Hope Valley was back with a new trainer but the same determination to win.  Larry Ella showed him to first place for Misdee Wrigley in the Open Hackney Horse class. Chambord D Artognon took second with Geoff Dixon for Larry Sluiter/Chambord Hackneys.

The finale to the Hackney division was the Hackney Horse World Championship. Hope Valley would not let 2004's World Title go easily and he trotted higher and higher and the crowd cheered louder and louder. Pushing him all the way was the elegant Chambord D Artognon and Geoff Dixon. In the end, Hope Valley was the World Champion Hackney Horse shown by Larry Ella for Misdee Wrigley and Hillcroft Farm. Larry Sluiter is understandably proud of his Reserve World Champion Chambord D Artognon with Geoff Dixon.

Sweetheart of Success made another performance in the Junior Exhibitor Hackney/Harness Pony class. Karen Waldron graciously lent Sweetheart to Amanda Ella who piloted her to first place in this large class. Devon Morrow drove his Country Road's Phantom to second place.

The future of Road Horses is bright. Every class was bursting with quality animals, lots of speed and beauty. One of the highlights of the show was the Ontario Harness Horse Association $15,000 Green Horse Classic. Nineteen horses showed two heats. Road Rage came out on top in this grueling class shown by Wayne Scharf for Wayne and Shirley Scharf. Autumn Winner was almost the winner with his good second in this class with owner/driver Sebastion Hebert.

The wagon division featured three class. The under 15.2 class was won by The Two Of Spades, shown by Penny McKee for the McKee/Lavigne Partnership. Reily took second for Moree Thomas. The 15.2 and over class was won by The Messenger, owned by Kerri Brown and shown by Wayne Scharf. Spirituality picked up second with Lloyd Nugent.

The Messenger is quite a powerhouse and he took the Canadian Championship home for owner Kerri Brown. Kickalittle earned the reserve championship with owner/driver Derek Salisbury.

The Messenger was busy dominating the wagon division but he still made time to make one appearance as a Ladies Road Horse to Bike, which he won handily. The Two Of Spades also made an appearance in the Ladies Class to take second place with Penny McKee.

The Road Horse To Bike Under 15.2 class was won by a previous Green Horse Classic Champion. Monarch is owned and shown by Cory Greer. General Halgau was awarded second place for owner/driver Daniel Doucet. The 15.2 and over class was won by Road Rage shown by Wayne Scharf. Second place went to Autumn Winner and Sebastion Hebert.

The Road Horse To Bike Canadian Championship was full of high quality horses. Virtually every entry would have made a fine winner but there can only be one and he was Road Rage! This huge horse got down to business and did not let up until the job was finished. Wayne and Shirley Scharf of ShirWay Stables were very proud of their great string of horses and this was another great moment at a memorable Royal for them. The very beautiful Autumn Winner was a deserving Canadian and Royal Reserve Champion Road Horse To Bike for owner Sebastion Hebert.

The above highlights the Royal Winter Fair. Complete results may be viewed, searched and printed at Show Results.

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