The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair 2017 has wrapped up for another year – but not before I got to experience the most edge-of-your-seat horse jumping competition that (almost) beat Indoor Eventing for white knuckle tension.
On November 9, 2017, McLain Ward of the US won the International Accumulator Show Jumping Challenge at The Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario.
Ward has won over 1.5 million dollars in show jumping money during his riding career and is currently ranked second in the world behind follow American Kent Farrington.
Farrington riding Voyeur, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood, won the $150,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping at the Royal on November 8, 2017. Ward won that event in 2016, which is a qualifying event for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals, this year in Paris, France in April.
But Thursday night was McLain’s night. Riding HH Callas around a harrowingly tight course with a concentration of high single jumps in the centre of the course (two requiring almost 180-degree turns) McLain set the bar early in the competition. He rode first in a list of riders that included Canadians Amy Millar, who won the Royal Canadian Show Jumping Competition on Saturday, and Francois Lamontagne.
No other competitors managed to surpass Ward’s time or score after his first rider run.
During this unique jumping event, competitors accumulated points each time they cleared jumps and had to option to select the last jump: a very tall fence for 10 points or a taller ‘joker themed’ fence for 20. McLain opted for the joker.
Times determined the winner in the case of tied scores.
Save the date: The 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and Horse Show runs again November 2 to 11, 2018.