Giddy Up! It’s Fall Fair Season. And what’s a fall fair without horses?
An afternoon at the 163rd Binbrook Fair started my Ontario Fall Fair Tour off last weekend – this year I’ve booked one a weekend and I’m determined to get to each bright and early to catch all the horse shows. (No horse show? Sorry it doesn’t make the list).
The Binbrook Fair outside of Hamilton, Ontario at 2600 Regional Road #56, Binbrook, Ontario is one the smaller of its kind, but charming nonetheless. Plus, horses place a huge part of the predominately midway event, especially the dramatic Heavy Horse Hitches, which make for some dramatic photos.
One Sunday afternoon is just the beginning….
Welcome to Horsetrotting’s
Southern Ontario Top Five Fall Fairs of 2017:
Ancaster 167th Fair – September 21 to 24, 2017
Held at the relatively new Ancaster Fair grounds at 630 Trinity Road, Ancaster, Ontario, this is one of my favourite and not only because it’s close to my home. Thanks to a great horse arena and barn facilities (Hamilton Police stable their mounts there), it’s got one of the best horse event line-ups of fall fairs in Ontario.
I’ll be heading to the Hunter Jumping Horse Show first thing on Sunday, September 24 at 8am and I’d recommend catching the Canadian Cowgirls western rodeo-style performance on Friday, 11:30 am and 6pm and again on Saturday at 12:30 pm and 6 pm.
Special note: watch for the Bunny Hopping event Friday, September 22 at 5:30pm. So cute and so popular at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto – where I first saw this ‘sport’ (check it out).
Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show – October 3 to 9, 2017
Ok, this one has ‘horse show’ in the title so you know horsetrotting is making a stop at 172 South Drive, Simcoe, Ontario. A week in duration, the Norfolk County Fair is also one of the longest running fall fairs in the area.
If you’ve got Wednesday morning off work, check out the Hunter Horse Show at 9:00 am or head there on Thursday for the Jumper Show same time and stay for the English Horse Demonstration at 10:45 am.
Saturday brings us the big boys: Belgian, Percheron, and Clydesdale show starting at 8 am followed by the Six Horse Hitch Competition at noon. (Learn more about horse hitching here). Sunday morning is the time for Western fans because there’s a show at 9:00 am followed by cuteness overload with a Miniature Horse Show at 9:30 am.
The 165th Rockton’s World’s Fair – October 6 to 9, 2017
If you’re calling yourself a ‘world’s fair’ you had better be big and by Southern Ontario standards, this one is. I go every year to write about the Rockton World’s Fair for both horsetrotting and dogtrotting.net. (Hey, it’s dog-friendly). This year will be no different – hopefully, I’ll find something new at 812 Old Hwy 8, Rockton, Ontario.
On Canadian Thanksgiving weekend every year, this fair’s become a tradition. I don’t want to miss the Hunter and Jumper Equestrian competition Saturday at 9:00 am or Western Horse Show and Barrel Racing Sunday at 9:00 am – followed by the Rockton Ontario Alpaca Show at 10:00 am.
Also fun is the Children under 14 Pet Show Sunday at 1:30 pm.
Markham Fair – September 28 to October 1, 2017
Visiting the Markham Fair on the weekend before Canadian Thanksgiving will be a first for me this year, but I’ve been to the facility at 10801 McCowan Road, Markham, Ontario to see the CanAM Equestrian event and it’s huge. Maybe that’s the reason this fair claims to be Canada’s largest four-day agricultural fair.
Several arenas allow horse events galore. I’m looking forward to seeing HorsePower Live, a family-run show that incorporates horse theatre, education and trick riding into a charming experience. I saw a version of the show in a narrow space at the Binbrook Fall Fair in 2016.
In addition to Heavy Horse Hitch competitions, this one has light horses such as Haflinger and Welsh Ponies. The President’s Choice SuperDogs are appearing twice daily too, and that’s worth the price of admission.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – November 3 to 12, 2017
Finally, I’m looking forward to the granddaddy of them all: The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario. Heading there with the Ride with the Wind horse barn team is a tradition every year, and so is covering it for horsetrotting – especially last year when the jumping finals surprised everyone.
At the Royal, the country comes to the city – specifically the Exhibition along Toronto’s Lakeshore Road. Food and livestock exhibits fill this huge trade show floor all day, including more equestrian tack vendors than you’ll ever seen under one roof. The evening is horse extravaganza with horse shows, and more horse shows. Rodeo is on Sunday.
Of course, I’ll be there for equestrian jumping event, but this year I vow to go back to see the world-class dressage competitions. Travel from out of town to get here if you can, it’s worth it.