Few sports get my heart pounding faster than Indoor Eventing – Not sure if I love it or have issues with it, but I certainly respect it. Indoor Eventing is like equestrian jumping on steroids: it’s faster, intense and the audience is encouraged to cheer – to a fault, in my opinion. But more about that in a moment.
Unfortunately, I’m not getting the International Jumping Finals tonight (November 9, 2019) at the Royal Horse Show at the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
But I can reminisce about being there last week: thanks to my obsession with Canadian equestrian show jumping (see more from Ottawa here), I commit to seeing the Canadian Equestrian Championships November 2, 2019 and doing so, got a 25th row ticket to watching the 2019 Horsewear Indoor Eventing Final.
And it was awesome – for one reason in particular:
During one of the last rounds, with seconds separating riders, winner Karl Slezak with Fernhill Wishes deked right instead of arching left toward jump #14 shorting the distance (and time) to jump 15, clearing it at a 45-degree approach barely lining him up for the final fence – which he also cleared. Those seconds saved secured him the $6000 first place prize.
Gutsy move that didn’t go unnoticed by the finally vocal crowd.
That said, encouraging the crowd to ‘make some noise’ over the loud speaker seemed to twice throw Siobhian O’Connor on Summer Solstice, the only rider making the trip overseas from Ireland. Each time the announcer tried to rile the Canadian crowd used to respecting the focus of riders, O’Connor caught the rail. Others flew through the course at heart-stopping speed.
The Royal Horseshow 2019 Horsewear Indoor Eventing Challenge Finals as follows:
- Karl Slezak with Fernhill Wishes ($6000)
- Kendal Lehari with Totally Frank ($4000)
- Brandon McMechan with Oscar’s Wild ($3000)
- Dana Cooke with Luksor ($2000)
- Diana Burnett with Manny ($1600)
- Selena O’Hanlon with Eddy’s Martini ($1400)
- Holly Jacks Smither with Dynamo ($1000)
- Jessica Phoenix with Dr. Sheldon Cooper ($1000)
Fortunately, there were no near casualties over my least favourite jump: the platform, which seemed have safer course placement than previous years (see here). Regional favourite Jessica Phoenix riding Dr. Sheldon Cooper placed eight out of ten riders taking home $1000.