The Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge will return once again to The Royal Horse Show in Toronto, and the event has named some of the riders that will compete for $20,000 in prize money on November 6 and 7.
Three members of Canada’s Pan American Games bronze medal team will compete: individual silver medalist Jessica Phoenix; Colleen Loach; and Waylon Roberts, who has won the Indoor Eventing Challenge at The Royal an amazing seven times. Fellow Canadian Karl Slezak will also compete.
Every year The Royal invites a U.S. rider to compete, and this year Buck Davidson will represent Team USA. “I try to go to as many places as I can to showcase eventing, and also to bring the sport to a different audience,” Buck said in a press release. “I’m lucky to have owners that let me do that. The Royal is another way to spread the word about eventing, and if I can play a small part, I’m happy to do it.”
Capt. Mark Phillips will once again design the course, which mixes show jumping fences with cross country obstacles inside the large stadium at Ricoh Coliseum. The competition runs over two nights, with time and jumping penalties totaled at the end of the second night to determine the winner.
“Indoor eventing always seems to look easier that it ends up riding,” Buck said. “To put cross country jumps in a ring and add the elements of closeness and fans is tricky, but very exciting to watch. From an event horse’s perspective, they have to jump and turn quickly indoors when they are used to big, long, galloping strides out on cross-country. You need a horse with the experience to deal with the space and the crowd, and to keep their focus on their job.”
A big crowd always shows up to The Royal to watch the indoor eventing — and screams and cheers for every rider at every jump on course. Jessica said she is looking forward to the challenge and riding in front of the crowd.
“What’s most unique about indoor eventing is that it is really a different sport altogether,” Jessica said. “Our horses are brave enough to do cross country, but to do it in a completely new atmosphere is another test altogether. It’s educational for the riders to put our horses in a new setting and see how they react.”
Interestingly, Jessica’s husband, Joel, will also be competing at The Royal, though not in the indoor eventing. “I show horses, and my husband shows dairy cattle,” Jessica said. “We rarely get to do both and be together at the same event.”
Last year’s Indoor Eventing Challenge had its fair share of thrills and spills. Selena O’Hanlon fell from A First Romance and broke her collarbone on the first night, later undergoing surgery. Colleen Loach and Ian Roberts both had hard falls on the second night. We’re hoping for a safe competition with no injuries this year.
Click here to watch videos from last year’s Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge, which Tik Maynard won with Dutch Times. Stay tuned as we wait for the entire entry list to be unveiled. Click here for more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. You can purchase tickets on Ticketmaster at this link.