Tag Archives: The Rider



Thanks to Barry Finn, publisher of THE RIDER newspaper (www.therider.com), I made a flying visit to this year’s ROYAL WINTER FAIR in Toronto armed with my cellphone camera and a media pass!

Just arriving was a lovely surprise…look how pretty the boulevard in front of the Enercare Centre looks (below)20171107_101441I met up with Barry at the media office then headed straight for the Ontario Equestrian booth to drop of copies of the current issue of The Rider.  Here’s Barry delivering newspapers to Saskia Samaroo, the organization’s administrative coordinator who laughed at me when I asked her to “strike a pose”!20171107_113909And then Barry corralled Saskia & Brandon Hall, OE’s marketing & communications coordinator, to show off their new logo.  www.ontarioequestrian.ca20171107_114105(0)Below – Barry met up with horsewoman and tack shop owner, Laurence Authier, of Laurastackroom.com  who will soon be moving to Ontario (from Quebec) to train for eventing competitions. Good luck, Laura!20171107_121700Over the years, I’ve attended many Royal Winter Fairs, sometimes working in the Australian Shop booth to help promote my home country and sell Aussie clothing and accessories to the horse and cattle folks. Owner John Keating always reminds me of “Mantracker”…what do you think?20171107_123056In the Spirit of the Horse exhibit, I found these kids enjoying a ride on mechanical horses – personally, I would prefer a real pony ride but at least these beasties don’t get tired or upset with screaming, kicking kiddies…LOL!

And check out this friendly horsey who was right into the patting and cuddles. The kids adored him!

Me? Well, I just love my chooks!  That’s what Aussies call chickens and these little red hens were so cute to watch. I felt kinda bad for them, not being able to run around and peck at worms and bugs, but it seems they were pretty contented hens…

And speaking of contented critters, check out these lovely heifers….20171107_124209 20171107_124216This year, there were a number of fine artists in the Heritage Court and I ran into one of my faves, Kari Serrao, surrounded by her fabulous (and very elegant) beasties.20171107_12003520171107_120049And don’t you just love the little piggy top right corner? Such an adorable wee face…  Kari does pet portraits, too, so check out her site: www.kariserrao.com

Across from Kari I found this comfy cozy display…hello, Santa – I want one of these cushions please.20171107_120831 20171107_120836Do you remember seeing the news about “goat yoga”? The lovely folks from Haute Goat brought in the Dwarf Nigerian goats for the yoga session last week. Here’s their booth inside featuring all their goat-milk products. You can also stay at their farm B&B outside of Port Hope, just 50 minutes east of Toronto  www.hautegoat.com  Below, co-owner Shain was busy today selling products and sharing the Haute Goat story with visitors.20171107_122239 20171107_122337 20171107_122313OMG…what the heck are these? Giant pumpkins…wow!20171107_124536And here’s the butter carving display (below) – it used to be a major event at the show in previous years, with massive carvings being displayed in giant “storefront” type windows around the equestrian ring. Now, just a few smaller carvings in a refrigerated trailer. How sad.  They also used to crown the annual Butter Queen but I think she, too, has gone the way of the dodo. 20171107_124433As I left The Royal, the cityscape looked beautiful but oh my, how all those new condos and office towers have dwarfed the once-proud CN Tower now. 20171107_130739 20171107_130925Thanks again to Barry for his media pass, and to all the folks I met today. Hurry on down to the fair to check out all the animals (I didn’t go into the barns as I forgot to take my allergy pills) but there are horses, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, bunnies and even a llama or two – the show closes on Nov. 12th. Details & directions: www.royalfair.org




A beautiful, sunny Good Friday dawned early as I headed up to the Markham Fairgrounds north of Toronto to hang with all the horsies, courtesy of publisher Barry Finn (pictured below) of The Rider newspaper and Barnmice.com. The annual Can-Am Equine Expo features stars from the horse world such as horse-whisperer Guy McLean (my Aussie mate) and his four-legged friends, Amber Marshall, star of Canada’s most successful teen/young adult TV series Heartland  and the Encore Trick Riders along with leading clinicians and champion equestrians.

20150403_112349 20150403_111611 20150403_111036Needless to say, one has to start the day off with a fully tummy so I grabbed a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from the friendly folks in the show cafe (below).

20150403_100158I started off walking thru the various vendor barns and met up with old friends from The Edge (below) http://theedgeup.ca/index.html a super blue-green algae supplement that promotes wellness & nutrition.

20150403_102359 20150403_102407Also ran into Sarah Bohan from KOOL Designs who makes fashionable & functional totes, purses, wallets (pictured below) from recycled animal feed bags. http://on.fb.me/1FrKTDD

20150403_103739 20150403_103806 20150403_103812I hit the Dirt Road Denim store pretty darn quick for western fashions and bling…boy those cowgirls know their sparklies!  http://www.dirtroaddenim.com/

20150403_100236 20150403_100659I was suddenly blinded by the Bling It Girls booth (below) with lots of shiny conchos, earrings, belts & buckles. Annie Oakley would be proud! http://blingitgirls.com/

20150403_101626 20150403_101639 20150403_101643Wanna get your boots buffed? Best place is the Leather Better crew who did such a great job, I was tempted to ship them ALL my boots and shoes.

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The ladies “manning” the booth at Equine Guelph (www.EquineGuelph.ca) were happy to pose for a few snaps, especially as they have a new horse health tracker App to promote to all horse owners. And if you see a horse in distress or being abused, they encourage you to call the OSPCA hotline: 310-SPCA or report online at www.ontariospca.ca

20150403_100759 20150403_100902The Ontario Equine Federation (below) was well represented, too, and they gave away copies of their wonderful magazine, Whoa!  https://horse.on.ca/

20150403_101316 20150403_101322We all love farmers, right? Without them, we wouldn’t eat and neither would our wee beastie companions. Check out the Ontario Federation of Agriculture website and support Ontario farm families.  http://ofa.on.ca/

20150403_101433Speaking of good works, the ladies from the Cdn Breast Cancer Foundation handed out Easter treats to the crowds coming thru the entrance, along with information.

20150403_101832 20150403_101843Did you know Cavalia is bringing back its stunning Odysseo show to Toronto? I’ll be covering media day events next Tuesday so you can read more on my blog next week. http://www.cavalia.net/en/odysseo

20150403_102016I met the lovely lady from the Horse Country Campground, a 5,000 acre wilderness property in the Ottawa Valley that offers riding vacations, camping and trail rides. She told me all about the tons of choices and great family-friendly prices so check their website for all the horsey things you and your family can enjoy there. www.horsecountrycampground.com

20150403_102612I then met my new BFFs, Deb and Danielle (below) from Pony Express Girls, Canada’s only equine-themed subscription service that delivers a box of hand picked premium products for you & your pony every month. You can spoil your horse with items from the best grooming products to gourmet treats plus goodies for humans, too!  http://www.ponyexpressgirls.ca/

20150403_102901 20150403_102908 20150403_103453The PEGs were kind enough to give me one of their sample boxes which included a great grooming brush, a pair of horsey socks (cashmere ones, too!), a big pack of apple treats that I passed on to a young friend who had just acquired a new pony (and she squealed with delight saying her new stable mate just loves apples), also there was a pretty silver purse charm, a fabulous avocado-based hand lotion “for barn hands” (it worked immediately on my dry winter elbows) plus a stunning, silky dark blue scarf decorated with cute red foxes. Thank you, D&D.

20150403_102441 20150403_102454The Country Girl Canada booth was hosted by the cutest young ladies (below) who were so enthusiastic about their fashions and accessories.  http://on.fb.me/1GT3n1C  Don’t ya just love ’em?

20150403_104032 20150403_104048As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of local artists but this one really amazed me – horse painters. Yes, actual horses painting on board and canvas. Wow!

20150403_104505 20150403_104617_001 20150403_104515Winsong Farm hosted a whole herd of painters and I found one horse, Kai, in the barn hard at work painting another masterpiece (below)  www.winsongfarm.com

20150403_110755 20150403_110841 20150403_110808RODEO! Yeehaaa….I love rodeo and I used to do promotions with the Ontario Rodeo Assoc. back in the 90’s. Great to reconnect and say howdy. www.ORArodeo.com

20150403_104957 20150403_105011The talented sculptor, Ann Clifford, displayed many of her beautifully cast “trophy” pieces and well as showcasing illustrations of her large format corporate and commissioned pieces (below)  www.acliffordsculpture.com

20150403_105818If you enjoy the sport of kings, here’s Racing Under Saddle Ontario – below. Check the website for races near you  www.rusontario.com

20150403_105924 20150403_105931Now into the barns and main show ring to watch Guy McLean, horse whisperer extraordinaire! probably the most popular special guest at the show; as I walked around the ring, I heard all sorts of ooo’s, aaah’s and complimentary comments from the audience. Nice to know my Aussie mate’s horsemanship is so well received and appreciated. He’s a great ambassador for horses and DownUnder  http://www.guymcleanusatour.com/

20150403_111249 20150403_111611 20150403_120211 20150403_120301Check out some of the breeds showcased today…gorgeous horses…I so want one but I doubt I could pee-pad train a Clydesdale for my downtown apartment, eh? LOL. First, here’s a miniature horse going thru his paces, and a Clydesdale called Spencer who was so gentle and sweet.

20150403_112745 20150403_113251 20150403_113320Then the Icelandic horses…wish I had their hair! www.onicehorsefarm.ca

20150403_113359Then the Kiger mustang (below)  www.clearviewkigers.com

20150403_113640And a horse who possesses the best blonde mane in the barn, the Rocky Mountain Gaited Horse  http://www.bonnieviewfarms.ca/

20150403_113944 20150403_115556 20150403_115540So it was time to make my way back into the vendor barns to hang out with The Rider and promote the subscription show special ($25/yr) – anyone signing up during Can-Am is entered into a draw for 2 Gold tickets to Odysseo valued at $250 (wow!) or a bucket o’ books valued at around $150. If you go to the show, you MUST visit The Rider booth (#222) and subscribe – you could win! Here’s Barry with Kelley (top pic) and with realtor Michael Webb, who specializes in prestige rural property sales (www.michaelstuartwebb.com) – he had a special promo insert in this double issue of the newspaper. Then I snapped John (bottom photo) chatting to our friendly neighbour.

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20150403_102504What a fun and exhausting day, hangin’ with the horsey set. Thanks to John for being my taxi this morning, and to Barry for making sure I was safely deposited at the subway for my return trip back to the big city. And thanks to all the horses for welcoming me with whinnnies, neighs and snorts.


The family-friendly show runs throughout the Easter weekend http://canamequine.com/