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Waylon Roberts Repeats Win at Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing
Toronto, ON, Canada
by Amber Heintzberger
Photo: Anthony Trollope/
Waylon Roberts and Sligshot
No one can contribute 19-year-old Waylon Roberts' victory in the $10,000 Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Ontario to "beginner's luck". For the second time, with the same horse, Roberts galloped away with victory, this time in the company of his teammates from this summer's Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from which they brought home a silver medal. Even better, the gold medal winning US team traveled to Toronto to face off against the Canadians, and Roberts evened the score a little with his win.

The 10-day Royal Horse Show is held as part of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, celebrating its 85th anniversary, from November 2-11 in Toronto, ON. Tuesday night marks the beginning of the international jumper classes, which historically is not a huge sell with spectators, since it is early in the week. According to Don J. Good of Good Crop Services, last year Tuesday night attendance doubled with the introduction of indoor eventing, and this year the numbers were up again from last year.

The course was designed by 2000 Olympic Champion David O'Connor of The Plains, Virginia, who is also technical advisor to Canada's event team, and built by Jay Hambly of Guelph, ON. The course was a unique mix of traditional show jumping fences interspersed with cross-country obstacles that included a double corner, a keyhole, and a bank complete with a drop. Riders thrilled the audience as in the Ricoh Coliseum as they raced over 15 obstacles in an attempt to cross the finish line in the fastest time.

The competition, held on Monday and Tuesday evenings, saw the times from both nights added together to determine the overall winner. On Monday, Roberts had emerged the winner, turning in a time of 64.15 seconds followed by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton who stopped the clock in 68.82 seconds.

On Tuesday night, over a different course, fence number 13 proved to be unlucky for Roberts. Adding a four second time penalty to his score for the knock down, Roberts posted a time of 62.67 seconds. Dutton was breathing down his neck, having jumped clear in a time of 61.69 seconds with Risk Taker, a seven-year-old dark bay thoroughbred. However, when the times were added together, Roberts was the easy winner, posting 126.82 seconds compared to Dutton's 130.51. Third place went to Michael Winter of Toronto, ON and Newnan, GA riding David O'Connor's Walk on the Moon (137.29) and fourth place went to Penny Rowland of Orangeville, ON riding Don J. Good' Roundabout (153.23).

"I am blown away that I beat Phillip Dutton!" exclaimed Roberts, who was a member of Canada's Silver Medal Pan Am Team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer. Roberts explained that he watched Dutton take the inside turns, shaving off valuable seconds, but knew that his horse could not make those turns. "I saw Phillip make those turns and it was flawless, but Slingshot is not as maneuverable so I left out strides and it paid off."

"The crew did so much work in building the course, and it was well-promoted. People who saw it last year enjoyed it so much that they bought tickets for it again this year," said Roberts, whose parents, Kelly Plitz and Ian Roberts, are both Canadian Olympians and operate Dreamcrest Farm in Port Perry, ON. "I'm pretty stoked - 1006 and 2007, it's pretty nice!"

The Royal Horse Show is home of the only indoor eventing competition in North America. The sport has become popular in Europe because it showcases eventing to a bigger audience.

"Don's idea is to promote the sport," said Phillip Dutton. "It would be great if this happened more often as a promotion - this is not going to become the future of eventing, but it's a fun way to showcase it."

$10,000 Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing Challenge

Rider Country Horse Total Time
1. Waylon Roberts Port Perry, ON Slingshot 126.82
2. Phillip Dutton United States Risk Taker 130.51
3. Michael Winter Toronto, ON Walk on the Moon 137.29
4. Penny Rowland Orangeville, ON Roundabout 153.23
5. Karen O'Connor United States Tigger Too 167.58
6. Steven Bradley United States Carrig View 168.00
7. Samantha Taylor Richmond, BC Lucinda 181.97
8. Selena O'Hanlon Elgin, ON Peanuts 188.40

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