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Horse Shows and Competitions

An Illustrated Look at A Royal Affair

Photo by Shelley Paulson

A visit to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto should be on every equestrian’s bucket list. The event, which runs for two weeks every November, offers the ultimate in fair favorites with culinary delights, farm animals, shopping, and agricultural demonstrations, but at an indoor venue with equestrian competitions that attract some of the world’s top names.

The Green Meadows Coaching competition will bring you back to a time when coaches were a common mode of transportation. The Old Times coach is one of the best known in history. Originally built in 1886, the coach was restored by Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Waller of Stockbridge, Mass., in 2001. Photo by Shelley Paulson

“The Royal,” as it’s often called, was started in 1922 as a place to showcase the best in Canadian agriculture. Its name is the result of petitioning and receiving approval from King George V to add “Royal” to the fair’s name.

The Royal Horse Show is a cornerstone of the event with equestrian competitions for driving, draft horse hitches, saddle seat riding, indoor eventing, hunter derbies, and show jumping, including an FEI World Cup competition with a prize for the winner of $210,000.

Exhibition Place, Toronto
Visit for tickets and info



Artist Jessica Potenza. Photo by Shelley Paulson
Bring some spending money when you visit: The Royal brings together some of the best of the world’s equestrian brands and talented artisans all in one place for a world-class shopping experience. Photo by Shelley Paulson
The Royal is a family-focused event, full of fun opportunities for kids to learn about agriculture and interact with animals. Photo by Shelley Paulson
Roadsters, harness ponies and Hackney classes all add high-stepping pizzaz to the classes offered at The Royal. Photo by Shelley Paulson
The Royal also offers cooking classes taught by celebrity chefs and celebrities, like Amber Marshall of the “Heartland” TV series. Photo by Shelley Paulson
The sound of jingling harnesses and a collection of powerful hooves thundering into the arena make the six-horse hitch classes a crowd favorite. Photo by Shelley Paulson
A line-up of various hitches in the six-horse hitch class at the Canadian Royal. Photo by Shelley Paulson
The Royal Horse Show always features top equestrian entertainment. Last year, Australian Guy McLean lit up the crowds with his incredible horsemanship and sharp wit. Equestrian performer Sylvia Zerbini is coming to The Royal in 2019. Photo by Shelley Paulson
American show jumper McLain Ward won the FEI World Cup at The Royal in 2018. Photo by Shelley Paulson

This article about the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair appeared in the November 2019 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Shelley Paulson

Shelley Paulson is an equestrian photographer and filmmaker based in Minnesota. She shares an inspiring look at some of her favorite images and the stories behind them in her new book, Horses, Portraits & Stories, available on Amazon.

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