Riders Announced for 2019 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge at The Royal + Other Highlights

Lauren Kieffer and Glendening Avis, winner of the 2018 iteration of the event. Photo by Ben Radvanyi.

Now in its 12th year, the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge is the marquee evening event for the opening weekend of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF) in Toronto, Ontario. As in previous years, the Indoor Eventing Challenge will take place on the first two nights of the fair, with a preliminary competition on Friday night November 1st, followed by the finals on Saturday November 2nd.

Previously, the invitation only event has been capped at 10 riders, but 11 will compete for a piece of the prize money this year. Competitors include the entire Canadian 2019 Pan American Games team, a member of the World Equestrian Games silver medal-winning Irish team, and a host of other top Canadian event riders. This year’s participating riders are:

  • Lindsay Beer
  • Diana Burnett
  • Dana Cooke
  • Selena O’Hanlon
  • Holly Jacks-Smither
  • Kendal Lehari
  • Colleen Loach
  • Brandon McMechan
  • Jessica Phoenix
  • Karl Slezak
  • Sam Watson

In addition to the Indoor Eventing Challenge, there is plenty of additional excitement for equine enthusiasts over the course of the The Royal, which runs through November 10th.

For anyone attending The Royal from out of country in particular, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride is a can’t-miss performance as the group only makes a select number of appearances outside of Canada throughout the year. The RCMP Musical Ride is one of the most impressive drill teams you’ll see, featuring 32 riders and their horses performing traditional cavalry exercises set to music. All of the riders are active duty police officers and have at least two years experience doing active police work before volunteering for duty with the Musical Ride. And what’s even more impressing — most participants have no previous equine experience prior to joining the Musical Ride.

Back for a second year — but this time with a twist — is the Royal Dressage Derby, which will take place on Tuesday, November 5th. The Derby will see four riders go head to head riding borrowed horses in a ‘knock-out’ format. This year, Team Canada event riders will be pitted against Team Canada dressage riders.

In round one Lindsay Kellock and Naima Moreira Laliberte, members of the 2019 gold medal-winning Pan American Games dressage team, will face off against one another and each ride a Grand Prix test on the same horse. In round two, Jessica Phoenix and Dana Cooke will compete against each other riding a Third Level on another horse. The winning dressage rider and winning event rider for each preliminary round will compete against each other in the final round on new, borrowed horses and, similar to IHSA-style, they will only have minutes to get to know their mounts before performing their final tests.

Tickets are still available for both nights of the Indoor Eventing competition as well as all other days of the Royal Horse Show and can be purchased at this link. More information about The Royal is available on the show’s website. All horse show tickets include general admission to the The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.