Lex hit her head, more on that later, so Rachel is taking over the blog today to tell you about her experience at the Royal last year. Rachel is a competitive rider in New Brunswick with the NPBHA. So when the opportunity arose for her to visit Alexa (her aunt) in Toronto for the Royal there was no question, she was coming!
During her stay, Rachel wanted to have a hands-on experience at the Royal, and luckily we were able to make it happen. Rachel got the rare opportunity to get an insider view of the Royal by volunteering as an intern with the team that runs the fair and the next day shadowing the head groom at Forest Hill who was at the horse show competing.
Here are Rachel’s 7 favourite things about going to the Royal:
The horses are a big part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and, being a horse lover, the horses were my favourite thing about The Royal. My absolute favourite thing was watching them compete. The horses were so elegant and graceful as they moved around the arena. They soared over the jumps as if they were nothing.
The Royal Horse Show includes a lot of events. My favourite was the dressage. The way horse and rider danced together was breathtaking.
The Other Animals
The Royal isn’t just about the horses, there were many other animals such as cows, sheep, goats, pigs and many more. My favourite ones were the sheep with blankets on that made them look like knights.
I hardly ever enjoy shopping unless it’s for my horse. Then I could shop all day. At the Royal, it is definitely possible to shop for your horse all day long. But like I said before, the Royal isn’t just about the horses, and there are many other venues to shop for clothes, cook-wear and even a place where you can buy homemade candy and other sweets.
My favourite part of shopping was looking at all the expensive bridles and saddles that I was scared to touch.
Hanging out with Forest Hill
I had the wonderful opportunity to get a feel of the behind the scenes by working with Forest Hill and getting a horse ready for The Royal Horse Show. I helped groom the horses for the show, clean tack and feed them. And expensive horses actually do feel different than less expensive horses.
The VIP lounge
I also had the opportunity to hang out in the VIP lounge at the Royal Terrace. I had to wear a dress (ew) but it was totally worth every moment. I had a perfect view of the show ring where I watched the FEI riders and horses compete in a show jumping event and other competitions.
Meeting Ian Millar’s horse Baranus
I actually meet Ian Millar’s horse Baranus before I meet Ian Millar himself. It’s quite a long story of how it happened. But long-story-short: I went into the FEI-only area after-hours and got to look at all the really expensive horses. I noticed Ian Millar’s farm name on his tack box, met his groom and got to take pictures. I also learned an inside joke about his horse’s name.
Meeting Ian Millar
It’s Ian Millar!!!
I was introduced to Ian Millar! Which was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. It was so awesome!! I still can’t believe, to this day, that I meet Ian Millar.
Rachel is Alexa’s niece and god-brat. She is a serious country horse-girl and a competitive rider who lives on a farm in New Brunswick where the only things walking distance are the Saint John River and the horse barn. She has just started the veterinary assistant program at Eastern College in Fredericton. This was Rachel’s first trip to Toronto, first time at the Royal and there were many other firsts. Ask her sometime about taking the TTC.