Laureate Shelties Blog

A bit of this, a bit of that...with a lot of free spirits.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Royal

The Royal Winter Fair comes to Toronto at the beginning of November every year.  I remember when I used to ride, qualifying for "The Royal" was the goal.  You had to win your class (maybe more than once) at a local fair to qualify.  It was the most prestigious fair in Canada.
The weather was beautiful the three days I attended.  Unseasonably mild and I didn't hear anyone complaining!
The poultry exhibition was wonderful to see.  The roosters were strutting, the turkeys were making a display with their tail feathers.  Many were fine with all the people walking past, but some were a little more flighty.
Chicken being judged...easier than showing dogs.  The judge goes into the cage and pulls out the exhibit and examines it.  It doesn't take too long...
These were my favourite type of chicken.  They have a rose comb (close to their heads) and interesting colour.  It is called a Silver-laced Wyandotte.  If I were to get a chicken or three, this would be the type I'd like.
A crested goose.  These guys look like they want to bite you on the butt...they just have that look in their eye!
A Polish chicken.  While these are very ornamental, they are very skittish.
These guys have a face only a mother could love...yikes!
I went to the Super Dogs was a ton of fun.  They have a pretty good show and there were lots of laughs.  The dogs certainly have a good time.

Young handlers...might have been 4-H.
Brown Swiss.  I never realized how bony cows hips are...
Jersey calf with amazing eyes.
Cleaning them up for the show
Keeping the sheep clean after they are washed
Even their heads are covered
Having a nap
The draft horses getting washed up
And the hunter/jumpers
Wednesday night we bought tickets for the horse show.  We got a cross section of events culminating with the Grand Prix which was the highlight.
The six horse Belgian teams were impressive
The amount of work for the few minutes in the ring is incredible.  Just look at the sparkle of their tack, and the shine on their wagons...not to mention the braiding of the horses manes and washing of their coat. I can't imagine the cost of this hobby.
Dressage in the dark.  It was spectacular and when I was watching it seemed darker than this.  It was magical...
Then there was a class called "Green Meadows".  There were four carriages and it took you back to a time of lords and ladies.  All four exhibits were American, from Michigan to Florida. 
The winning exhibit was this group of Hackneys.  They were high stepping and fancy, everyone was prim and proper on the carriage with blankets on their laps.
The horn blower (he probably has another title) won a ribbon.  He tooted the horn as they went around.  Once again, so much work, time and money for this competition.
The beginning of the Grand Prix event.  The course builders tribute to the great Stallion Hickstead who passed away the following week.  They came up with the idea to wear black armbands in his honour and they also had a number for sale which quickly sold out.  Eric Lamaze, Hickstead's rider received a standing ovation when he rode in the ring on another horse.
Some of the crowd in long dresses and tuxedos.  Pete and I and many others were in jeans...there wasn't a dress code, we figure there was a gala event prior to the show.
Ian Miller and his daughter Amy walking the course prior to the Grand Prix
The first rider
Eric Lamaze on Herald.  He did a really good job, but did end up with 5 faults.
Eric Lamaze again
Ian Millar on his stallion Redefin.  He had an off night and Ian retired him half way through the course after he had knocked down 6 rails.
I loved this horse, Lansdowne ridden by Conor Swail of Ireland and they placed second I believe.
The night had some drama when Canadian Beth Underhill fell off her horse and was lying on the ground being attended by the EMT's for ten to fifteen minutes.  Her horse was loose, but was quickly caught.  There was no word on Beth's condition until the following day, when it was announced she had a concussion.
Another beautiful horse and rider; notice the Hickstead armband he is wearing. 
Hope I'm able to go to the fair again next is such fun.


lonfrichuk November 13, 2011 at 3:51 PM  

Great photo's Kim!! I love going to the Royal to not only see the horses and competition but all the other livestock. If I had a farm I want a few of the sheep with the black faces - so cute!!!

The year Rachel competed it was cold and it was a race to get Stormy bathed and dried before he got cold. All about the horse and too bad for the rider and groom!!

Kelly November 13, 2011 at 3:56 PM  

Beautiful shots -- really made me want to go at some point! Dressage in the dark looked wonderful.

Love the opening photo of the tower, too. No Edge Walk for you? ;-)

Laureate November 13, 2011 at 4:16 PM  

Laurel - Thanks. I didn't take the zoom, but we were pleased with the picture none the less. My attempts at action shots of the hunters were less than successful. :-) I notice many were wearing hip waders to bathe the horses. I can imagine it could be cold...there is a lot to wash!

Laureate November 13, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

Thanks Kelly...dressage in the dark was wonderful. I would like to have seen the dressage competition, maybe next year.

Tower walk? I don't think so! My knees buckle when I'm up in the tower where they have the clear glass and you can see below. I also creep around the wall when I walk outside. I can't imagine leaning forward attached to a rope! Yikes...

anamchara1 November 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM  

Wonderful cross section of the fair ... have marked it in my calendar for next year! You got some great shots ... love the chickies!!

Wicked November 13, 2011 at 5:23 PM  

Thanks Kim for shering those great pics. We have a very similar fair in Argentina, La Rural, where you can see all those splendid horses and other livestock. But I never ever saw something like the night dressage!! Looks really wonderful!!!

Ellen November 13, 2011 at 7:57 PM  

Loved all the photos, especially the horses. I haven't ridden in many, many years but once a lover of horses always a lover.

Linda November 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM  

Thanks, your pic's were great, I went on Friday night to the horse show and took some shots also, and mine didn't turn out half as nice as your shots did, love the chickens!!

Laureate November 14, 2011 at 8:32 AM  

Bren, I'll remind you next year!

Wicked, the night dressage was new this year...but I'm sure it will catch on. It was beautiful.

Ellen, I feel the same way. Haven't ridden in years, but loved the horses. I'm actually thinking of taking lessons this winter.

Linda, my photos of the hunters in the afternoon weren't very good. I was experimenting with the settings and still couldn't get them as crisp as I wanted. Pete comes with me Wed night and he worked his magic. :-)

Val B. November 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM  

Thank you so much for sharing the absolutely wonderful photos you took at the 2011 Royal Winter Fair. It was very inspiring to see the various events. Loved that Polish chicken; something you don't see often! The last time, I hate to admit, that I attended the Royal was in 1998, when after 50 years, a conformation dog show was once again held (the very last one). Mike MacBeth was one of the judges for the President's Choice Invitational. I entered my "Teddy", CH Kinship's Period Piece. He only got a 3rd, however, a Toronto Star reporter took some pics of me cleaning his teeth and he was featured in a Star article along with a Puli from Australia. The Royal is a great event and I did attend some of the other events. Again, thanks for sharing your pictures ... it's very much appreciated.

Evelyn November 15, 2011 at 12:35 AM  

What a nice tribute to Eric and Hickstead. Thanks for the pictures! Hoping night dressage makes it to the states.

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