He has triumphed at two of the most prestigious and difficult eventing competitions in the world this year; but can Oliver Townend do the same in an indoor venue against the backdrop of a pulsing rock beat?
The dashing eventing superstar from Great Britain, winner of both the 2009 Badminton and Burghley CCI**** competitions, will pit his skills against some of Canada’s top eventers at the Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing Championships at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair November 9 and 10.
Over the thrilling two-night competition, the 26-year-old Townend’s challengers will include Waylon Roberts, the 20-year-old Port Perry rider and 2007 Pan Am silver team medalist who has won the past three indoor Royal championships. Ironically, Roberts now works for Townend in England. They’ll be vying with Waylon’s father, 2004 Olympian Ian Roberts, as well as top Canadian riders Jessica Phoenix, Karl Slezak and Diana Burnett.
Indoor eventing at the Royal includes a modified course of portable cross country obstacles, including a bank, brush and “keyhole” jumps mixed with stadium jumps of poles and planks, which will fall with the slightest touch. Over the two nights, the fastest rider with the fewest overall penalty points will be declared champion.
Last spring, Townend won Badminton CCI**** with his mount, Flint Curtis, then in September, claimed top spot at the Burghley CCI**** with his other top grey horse, Carousel Quest. In 2007 and 2009, Townend has been part of the gold-medal winning British team at the European Championships.
Townend’s appearance at the Royal is sponsored by ProChaps (prochaps.com), a Canadian company that produces revolutionary, state-of-the-art riding chaps and has recently expanded into the European market, including the United Kingdom.
For information on the Royal Horse Show, visit www.royalfair.org.