U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle will headline the new Royal Dressage Derby on Tuesday evening, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 2-11 at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.
Prior to the Dressage Derby, Canadian Dressage Team veteran, Jacqueline Brooks, will retire her long-time partner, D Niro, in a fitting celebration at the Royal Horse Show.
Brooks and the 19-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding affectionately known as ‘Goose’ have represented Canada in international competition around the globe, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Doubling down on Derby fun, the evening’s Royal Horse Show performance opens with the impressive Knightwood Hunter Derby followed by the Royal Dressage Derby, a new concept that will see four riders go head-to-head riding borrowed horses in a ‘knock-out’ format. Riders will have only minutes to get to know their mounts before entering the Coca-Cola Coliseum to perform their test. The winner of each ‘knock-out round’ will move forward to a second round in the hopes of being crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion.
Lyle, a member of the U.S. silver medal team at the recent FEI World Equestrian Games, will be making her first trip to Toronto in addition to her Royal Horse Show debut.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Royal and I thought it was a fun chance to get to compete there,” said Lyle, who is based in Wellington, FL. “I have competed in some derbies in Florida before and I think they are really fun. The crowd loves them and they are a great test of rider skill.”
Joining Lyle in the Dressage Derby are Canadians Tom Dvorak and Jaimey Irwin along with Esther Mortimer of Guatemala.
“It’s the ultimate test of rider skill to have to ride a horse you don’t know and have never had a chance to watch or ride before,” said Lyle, who is looking forward to the challenge of riding an unfamiliar mount. “It’s an easy format for the crowd to understand because it makes sense and it is usually obvious which rider gets along best with their horse. Sometimes there’s also a lot of comedy involved! I grew up in pony club riding many different horses and I really enjoy the challenge of getting on and sorting it out in a few minutes. A lot of it is being able to read the horse and come up with a strategy.”
Following the Dressage Derby, Brittany Fraser will perform a musical freestyle riding All In to close out the evening. The highest-placed member of Canada’s dressage team at the recent 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in September, Fraser will demonstrate both the artistry and difficulty in choreographing required movements to the music of her choice.
Opening Tuesday evening’s Royal Horse Show performance, the elegance of high performance hunters will be on display in the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby. Competitors from across the country have been earning points all year in the hopes of vying for the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy, presented to the overall Canadian Hunter Derby Series Champion.
From the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Friday and Saturday evenings, November 2 and 3, through to the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto, presented by GroupBy, on Saturday night, November 10, the Royal Horse Show offers something each day for all fans of horse sport.
In featured entertainment, Australia’s Guy McLean will demonstrate his unique form of natural horsemanship throughout the ten-day Royal Horse Show while Pogo Puissance by Xpogo will take jumping to new heights as young athletes attempt to set records by jumping obstacles on pogo sticks.
More than 1,000 horses from around the globe will compete for $980,000 in prize money during the 10-day CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show. VIP Platinum and Gold seating, as well as group and individual tickets, are on sale now and moving quickly. All Royal Horse Show tickets include general admission to the Fair.