Tag Archives: Ian Millar

Ian Millar Announces Retirement from International Competition

Photo by Simon Stafford for Starting Gate Communications.

Perth, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar has announced his retirement from international show jumping competition after nearly five decades at the top level.  One of the most successful show jumping riders of all time, Millar is stepping away from the international level to re-focus his efforts on coaching and developing young horses.

Born in Halifax, NS in 1947, Millar began riding at the age of 10 in Alberta and was named to his first Nations’ Cup team in 1971.  Since that time, Millar has been a stalwart on the Canadian Equestrian Team, revered for his ability to deliver under pressure in major competitions.  Millar has represented Canada in more than 200 Nations’ Cup team competitions, including appearances in 10 Olympic Games, 10 Pan American Games, and seven World Championships.  Millar’s 10 Olympic appearances is a world record for any athlete across all sports.  He won his first Olympic medal, a team silver, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has 10 Pan American Games medals, including two individual and two team gold.

“Representing Canada many times over my career has been my greatest honour,” said Millar of Perth, ON.  “Each time I wore the red team jacket was very special to me, and the fact that I was able to share this experience with so many great riders is a testament to the quality of horsemen and horsewomen here in our country.”

In addition to his efforts representing Canada internationally, Millar has won over 150 grand prix competitions over the course of his illustrious career, including winning the prestigious international grand prix three times at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB.  He is a 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion and was the first rider to win back-to-back World Cup Finals, earning the title in 1988 and 1989.  His most successful horse, Big Ben, was a household name throughout Canada in the late 1980s and 1990s and was a favourite to win everywhere he competed.

Millar built his home stable, Millar Brooke Farm, located in Perth, ON, into a powerhouse training ground for international show jumping.  In addition to his development of over 100 grand prix horses, Millar has coached a number of other top international riders including Canadian Olympic teammates Mario Deslauriers and Jill Henselwood, as well as Richard Spooner of the U.S.  He has also been instrumental in the successful careers of his son, Jonathon; daughter, Amy; and daughter-in-law, Kelly, all of whom currently represent their country in international competition.  Today, Millar operates Millar Brooke Farm alongside his children and focuses on producing top show jumping horses and riders for competition.

In recognition of his many successes, Millar has received numerous awards including being named a Member of the Order of Canada.  He has been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, and the Jump Canada Hall of Fame.

While Millar is stepping back from international competition, he plans to be busier than ever working with up-and-coming athletes and horses.

“The bond formed between horse and rider is an amazing thing to experience, but the partnership has to be built the right way, with compassion, understanding, and care,” said Millar.  “Over the past few years, I have found myself more and more drawn toward working with young horses and riders, and I am excited to expand my coaching to share my knowledge and passion with the next generation.”

At the conclusion of his international career, Millar paid tribute to those closest to him over the years.

“It has been the journey of a lifetime with so many dreams realized, so much due to the fantastic horses I was blessed to ride, to whom I am eternally grateful,” said Millar.  “I would like to personally thank my owners and sponsors for all their help and support during my show jumping career.  While there are too many to name, my partnerships with owner Ann Matthews and sponsor BMO Financial Group had especially long and sustained successes.  I would also like to thank all the members of my support team who have supported me faithfully over the years: my family, staff, veterinarians, equine therapists, chef d’equipes, and all my fellow riders.  Finally, the biggest contributor to my success was my late wife, Lynn, with whom I shared my most cherished bond.  Through our partnership, we achieved incredible success.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Olympian Ian Millar Opens Ottawa Horse Show with a Win

Ian Millar riding Ericson. Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Ottawa, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON kicked off the Ottawa National Horse Show by claiming the top two spots in the 1.35m Open Jumpers, presented by Omega Alpha, on Wednesday, July 11, at Wesley Clover Parks in the heart of Canada’s national capital.

Millar, aptly dubbed ‘Captain Canada’ by his fans, earned the win with a jump-off time of 37.88 seconds aboard Ericson, owned by Millar Brooke Farm, and he finished second riding another Millar Brooke Farm entry, Truman, with a jump-off time of 39.37 seconds.

Millar took over the rides on both Ericson and Truman for his daughter, Canadian Olympian Amy Millar, who is expecting her second child.  Ian will look to continue his success with both horses throughout the two weeks of top show jumping competition at Wesley Clover Parks, with the Ottawa National Horse Show continuing through July 15 followed by the CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show from July 18-22.

“I’ve been enjoying Ericson immensely, but he’s just on loan,” said Ian of the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Padinus x Iroko). “He’ll go back to Amy; she’s in really great shape, and we’re all very excited for her and looking forward to welcoming her new son next week. I know she can’t wait to get back to her horses, too.”

For Ian, competing and winning at Wesley Clover Parks is particularly special, as he has spent much of his career competing at the facility and has been instrumental in developing the Parks’ riding school program and on-site competitions.

“I grew up in this area,” explained Millar, 71, who is competing at the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments alongside his son, Jonathon, and daughter-in-law, Kelly Soleau-Millar. “Now here we are in Ottawa, doing this and bringing top international competition to the city. It would not happen without the Matthews family and Wesley Clover Parks, and it’s an honour to be involved in it and to be able to say to our friends and neighbours, ‘hey, this is what we do all over the world; now you can come and see it right here in Ottawa!’”

Echoing similar sentiments was Lauren Hayes of Orangeville, ON who topped a 49-horse starting field to win Wednesday morning’s 1.25m Open Jumper competition aboard Faloma, an eight-year-old mare owned by Norman Amondsen. Hayes has been competing at Wesley Clover Parks “since the beginning,” and her family ran the horse show for four years prior to the Matthews family and the Wesley Clover Parks Foundation taking over the management in 2013.

“They’re doing a fabulous job,” said Hayes, 37, following her win over the track set by Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt. “The field is great; it’s always been a really nice field to jump on, and the atmosphere here is great. They incorporate the city and the spectators, and they really do a great job making it feel like a special horse show.”

As for her mount, Hayes explained, “I just got the ride on Faloma two weeks ago. She jumped great today. She was brave, and she walked right out there like she owned the place!”

Taking Wednesday’s final victory on the grass grand prix field to conclude a successful opening day of competition was Kerrigan Brown of King City, ON. She and her mount, Colibri, won the 1.30m/1.40m Junior/Amateur competition, presented by Flow Water.

“We’re very excited to be back for our fourth year of the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments, and we’re off to a great start,” said Karen Sparks, Executive Director of Wesley Clover Parks. “We’ve made some infrastructure changes that I’m really excited about, and they’re being well received. We put in a new warm-up ring and we made some tweaks to the stabling area to make it even more comfortable for the horses on site.

“We also have CIBC Wood Gundy on board as a new sponsor for our $15,000 National Grand Prix next week which is really a lovely addition and a great way to end the horse shows,” continued Sparks. “We’ve got great weather, and we couldn’t be happier to have our tournaments underway!”

Contact: Jennifer Ward
cell: (613)292-5439

Ian Millar Claims $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic in Caledon

Ian Millar riding Dixson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Caledon, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON opened the Canadian international show jumping season with a win in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware, on Sunday, May 21, during the CSI2* Caledon National in Caledon, ON.

The clear rounds just kept coming for Millar and Dixson throughout the five-day CSI2* Caledon National tournament.  Having jumped double-clear in Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome for a fifth-place finish, the pair turned up the heat in Sunday’s Jumper Classic.  With the advantage of being the final challenger in an eight-horse jump-off, Millar knew exactly what he had to do to catch the leading time of 34.82 seconds set by Ireland’s Conor Swail and Flower, a new acquisition owned in partnership with Canada’s Vanessa Mannix.  With decades of experience under his belt, Millar sliced and diced his way around the jump-off track, meeting every distance with trademark precision.  As he cleared the final obstacle and galloped through the timers, the new winning time of 34.09 seconds flashed on the scoreboard.

“Conor pushed me really hard; he was fast, but Dixson was right on his game!” said Millar, 70, of the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON.  “There was a turn to the pair of verticals where we happened to catch the correct distance and shaved the time off.  I know Dixson well, and he knows me, too.  He knows what I’m about to do it almost before I know I’m going to do it.  We’re like a married couple.”

Millar and Dixson celebrated their victory in the same arena where they had helped Canada claim the Team Gold medal two years earlier during the 2015 Pan American Games.  As the host of equestrian events, the Caledon Equestrian Park now serves as an important legacy to horse sport.

“Dixson is starting his Canadian season here at the Caledon Equestrian Park,” said Millar, who spent the winter competing at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.  “He’ll enjoy a rest next week, and then we’re off to Langley, BC, where he’s on the Nations’ Cup team for Canada.  Then it’s over the mountains to Spruce Meadows for the summer series.”

Millar had two shots at victory in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, as he also qualified Vittorio 8 for the tie-breaker by jumping clear over the first-round track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.  Millar has been riding Vittorio 8 for owner Future Adventures for the past year, and the pair was double clear in a time of 36.25 seconds to finish in fifth position.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the Spruce Meadows tour will do for him,” said Millar of the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Valentino DDH x Ramiro’s Bube).  “He has the technique, power – he’s careful, modern.  He would be a Games horse.  He’s just nine now and if he takes the next step over the next year, he is there.”

While Millar dominated Sunday’s proceedings followed closely by Swail, another Irishman settled for third.  Daniel Coyle, who is 22 years of age, guided Cita, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro) to a third place finish for owners Susan and Ariel Grange, giving the mother-and-daughter team both the win as well as a third place finish.  Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON took fourth place following a clear jump-off performance in a time of 35.24 seconds riding Carimba B, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare (Contendro I x For Pleasure) owned by her family’s Looking Back Farm.

While Swail may have settled for second in Sunday’s $50,000 Jumper Classic, it was he who stood alone in the winner’s circle following Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome.  The times were close but, in the end, Swail’s time of 39.49 seconds gave him the edge over Coyle, who had stopped the clock in 39.62 riding Cita.

Canadians filled the next three spots in the placings with Keean White of Rockwood, ON turning in a time of 41.10 to take third with Carrera v/h Westleven Z, Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON placing fourth with a time of 41.47 riding Count Me In, and Millar and Dixson rounding out the top five with a time of 42.30 seconds.

FEI-sanctioned show jumping competition continues with the CSI2* Classic at Palgrave Phase II from May 23 to 28 at the Caledon Equestrian Park.  The tournament marks the second of five weeks of FEI competition offered at the Caledon Equestrian Park this year by competition organizer Equestrian Management Group.

For more information on the CSI2* Caledon National, including full results, as well as a full competition schedule, please visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.

Media Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

Ian Millar Wins Record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Championship Title

Ian Millar riding Dixson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON landed his record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, November 5, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Millar returned last in the second and final round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, having posted the fastest clear in Friday night’s opening speed round riding Dixson.  Millar and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON repeated their flawless performance in Saturday’s two-round final over tracks set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal.

“It’s a lot of stress, that final round!” said Millar, 69, who has now claimed the national title a total of 12 times in his illustrious career.  “There’s no room for error, and that’s what jumping it is all about.  There was no option but to do what Dixson did.”

Saturday night’s victory marked an impressive comeback for Dixson after two sinus surgeries sidelined him earlier in the year and ultimately kept Millar from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“In the years that I’ve been riding him, I’ve never jumped him indoors, but it was not an issue for him,” said Millar, who last won the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion in 2014 riding his London Olympic mount, Star Power.  “It’s great to have this quality of horse here at The Royal because we’ve got some serious competition coming at us next week in the international division.”

Having returned to competition in August, Dixson was back at the top of his game, holding off Mac Cone, 64, of King City, ON.  For the second year in a row, Cone earned the Reserve Championship title riding Gasper van den Doorn for owner Chadburn Holdings, Inc.  The pair finished on a combined total of 1.73 penalties carried forward from Friday night’s speed phase, and joined Millar as the only other horse-rider combination to leave all the rails in place over three rounds of competition.

Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON posted two clear rounds in Saturday night’s final to finish third with a total of 4.45 penalties riding Granturo, owned by Western Sales & Development.

Having finished second and third behind their father on Friday night, Jonathon and Amy Millar, both of Perth, ON, remained in the top five following the final phase of competition.  Jonathon Millar and Bonzay, owned by Isotropic investments, finished on 4.46 penalties for fourth while Amy Millar incurred 8.42 penalties to place fifth riding Heros, owned by AMMO Investments.

Based on their performances in the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Cone and Moffatt move forward to the international division, beginning Tuesday, November 8.  They join fellow Canadians Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB, Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, who were all pre-qualified based on their world ranking.

The $130,500 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 9, highlights international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show, and is a qualifying event for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska, next spring.  Rio Olympic champions Nick Skelton and Big Star of Great Britain headline the list of international entries, which also includes Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, who were both members of the U.S. Olympic silver medal team in Rio.

Tickets for the Royal Horse Show can still be purchased by visiting royalfair.org or ticketmaster.ca.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

About The Royal

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.  This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.  For competition schedules, live webcasting, results, and to purchase tickets, visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439

Ian Millar Captures $50,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix at Ottawa National Horse Show

Ian Millar and Teddy du Bosquetiau. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Ottawa, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, known as ‘Captain Canada’ to his fans, added another win to his extensive resume by taking victory in the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix, on Saturday, July 16, at the Ottawa National Horse Show at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.

The large crowd at Wesley Clover Parks witnessed great sport as nine of the 33 contenders jumped clear to advance to the jump-off.  Millar of Perth, ON was the seventh rider to return for the tie-breaking jump-off aboard Teddy du Bosquetiau, a 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding owned by Emily and Fiona Kinch.  The pair made easy work of the jump-off track, leaving all the rails in place and coming home in a time of 42.43 seconds.

“This was definitely the fastest I’ve ever ridden Teddy,” said Millar.  “He’s really, really fast, but what happens to him sometimes is that his feet get going faster than his brain.  Then rails can come down because of that.  So as you’re riding him, you try to keep the two in sync.  It’s about knowing your horse, and I was quite thrilled with him today because this was a fast jump-off.  I knew my time would be hard to beat.”

Melissandre Lincourt of Montreal, QC immediately followed Millar and gave him a run for his money over the course designed by 1976 Olympic individual silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt.  She came close, stopping the clock in 43.79 seconds to finish second riding Just Stella L, a ten-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Gabrielle Pelchat.

Millar’s son, Jonathon Millar, also of Perth, ON, jumped clear in the jump-off with a time of 43.87 seconds to place third with Daveau, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by his family’s Millar Brooke Farm.

Melissandre Lincourt and Just Stella L
Melissandre Lincourt and Just Stella L

For Ian, competing at Wesley Clover Parks is incredibly meaningful, as he has spent a lifetime riding at the facility and has been instrumental in developing the riding school program and competitions on-site throughout the years.  He has been an advisor to the Wesley Clover Parks organizing committee, headed by Karen Sparks, since it took over management of the facility in 2013 and reintroduced world-class show jumping to the nation’s capital in 2015.

“This is where I really learned about show jumping when I was 15 years of age,” said Ian of the facility now known as Wesley Clover Parks.  “This is where I really started with two-day eventing, three-day eventing, and the jumpers.  The big shows were in Montreal and Toronto; we were sort of the bush league back then.  So when the opportunity came along years ago to get this place going and get a show here, I was so excited to do it.  To be able to bring show jumping to this area was very important to me, and to all of the people on the committee.

“As time went on, the horse shows sort of got into a little difficulty and faded out,” continued Ian.  “Then, because of the Matthews family and its Wesley Clover Foundation, the park has been put back together and on the map.  The riding school and the show operation are doing fantastic, and these horse shows are back in Ottawa and better than ever.  Within the horse show community, we’re getting rave reviews about the show this year, as we did last year.  I would say the future is very bright for Wesley Clover Parks.”

Ian’s own future is also looking bright.  The Canadian Show Jumping Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was announced during the Ottawa National Horse Show, and Ian’s daughter, Amy, was named to the four-rider squad.  While the elder Millar will not be riding in Rio, he debuted a new horse, the eight-year-old Hanoverian stallion Vittorio 8, at the Ottawa National Horse Show.

Where did Ian go to find a new grand prix partner?

“Munich, which was actually the site of my first Olympics,” said Millar, 69, smiling broadly.  “It’s funny, going back to Munich, the site of my first Olympics, to find my next Olympic horse.”

To find out more about the Ottawa National and CSI2* Ottawa International Horse Shows, visit www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com. For complete results from the Ottawa National Horse Show, visit ottawa.showmanagementsystem.com.

Jennifer Ward
cell: 613-292-5439

Ian Millar Claims Second Consecutive Caledon Cup

Ian Millar and Teddy du Bosquetiau. Photos by Ben Radvanyi.

Caledon, Ontario – For the second year in a row, Ian Millar of Perth, ON rode away with the Caledon Cup at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament held September 23 to 27 at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Caledon, ON.

Following three intense phases of show jumping, all held in different formats, Millar decisively won the 2015 Caledon Cup, presented by RAM Equestrian, after claiming victory in the third and final phase, the $75,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Three, presented by Edge Mutual Insurance and Aviva Insurance. Coupled with his second-place finish in Friday night’s $35,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Two, Millar was awarded the Caledon Cup for the second year in a row. Millar also won the coveted Caledon Cup in 2011 riding Star Power.

Millar’s win in the $75,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Three did not come easy, however. Course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal set a technical track, and his tight time allowed prevented three riders from moving forward to the jump-off. Friday night’s Phase Two winners, Amy Millar and Heros, jumped clear but failed to make it home in 76 seconds, a fate that also befell Calgary’s Vanessa Mannix riding Grand Cru vd Vijk Eiken and Jonathon Millar aboard his father’s 2012 London Olympic mount, Star Power.

Six riders did find the key to a clear round, however, and advanced to the jump-off. Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON set the pace with a clear round in 45.31 seconds riding Egor for owner Martha Younger. Olympic medalist Leslie Howard of the United States riding Utah and Ireland’s Conor Swail riding Grafton for owner Susan and Ariel Grange both took a shot and came home well under Moffatt’s time, but at the expense of a fallen rail.

Next into the ring, Millar executed a clear round in a time of 44.49 seconds to move into the lead. Mac Cone gave it his best shot with Gasper van den Doorn for owner Chadburn Holdings, but crossed the timers in 45.31 seconds to tie with Moffatt. As the final challenger, Isabelle Lapierre of Levis, QC laid it all on the line riding Cescha M, but a rail at the penultimate fence would leave the pair in sixth place.

Millar praised Cabral’s course for producing an exciting class, saying, “The course designer was building to a mixed group. You had young horses, you had riders who are just gaining experience, and you had some sophisticated riders. He got the right results beautifully. He leaned more on the technical side, and it was tricky to get it done. His time allowed was right on the money. As soon as you have to do something faster, you run the risk of making a mistake.”

With a record ten Olympic appearances, Millar’s is a familiar name among show jumping fans. His mount, however, is a relative newcomer to the international scene. Teddy du Bosquetiau was purchased this spring in Belgium for Emily Kinch of Barbados, who trains with the Millar family. Kinch, 22, met her goal of competing at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, and has now handed the reins over to Millar to campaign.

“Emily had the tremendous accomplishment of riding that horse at the Pan American Games and now that she is returning to Barbados, the family has offered me the ride,” explained Millar of the new addition to his competition string. “I only started riding the horse last week, and this was our first show together.”

Teddy du Bosquetiau is a 12-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Ogano Sitte x Albion du Chene Brule) owned by Emily Kinch, Allan Kinch and Fiona Kinch.

“He has a lot of thoroughbred in him and I grew up on thoroughbreds, so I am comfortable with his blood,” said Millar, 68, who was a member of Canada’s gold medal team at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. “With the warmbloods you see in our sport today, many riders would not be comfortable with as much blood as this horse has. You think forward, and he’s gone! But if you’re comfortable, you think fast and he goes. You don’t have to manufacture or create it.

“It is always an honour to win the Caledon Cup, and especially to win it with a new horse like that,” continued Millar. “Emily was here, and she was so excited. She loves this horse, and she’s so pleased that I am going to ride it.”

The new match proved to be a winning one. In addition to winning the overall Caledon Cup, presented by RAM Equestrian, Millar was awarded a $1,000 bonus from Henry Equestrian Plan (HEP) as the highest-placed rider using the HEP-signature saddle pad presented to all entries at the FEI horse inspection.

“The footing was superb, the course designing was great, and we enjoyed a fantastic week of weather,” said Millar. “EMG ran a great Canadian Show Jumping Tournament. This is an event I look forward to each year.”

Millar has yet another reason to look forward to coming to the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament: the addition of a new indoor arena, installed as part of a major renovation at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in preparation for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. After Thursday’s $10,000 Caledon Cup – Phase One was held outdoors in a speed format, horses and riders headed indoors for the first time for the $35,000 Caledon Cup – Phase Two.

“I’ve said it to everyone who will listen to me: we are going to have so much fun in that arena!” raved Millar about the new indoor arena, which measures an impressive 117m x 275m. “Some arenas you are in, the atmosphere is just all right, and some are like being in a dungeon. The atmosphere in this arena was excellent. It was an entertaining competition, and the benefit of this arena to the sport is going to be tremendous. I kept saying that the Games were important, and the legacy was equally important, if not more so. Having an indoor venue like this is critical.”

Darcy Hayes and Say When
Darcy Hayes and Say When

On Saturday, the $5,000 Canadian Hunter Derby was held indoors with Darcy Hayes taking the win riding Say When for owner Danielle Baran. Kristjan Good was the runner-up riding Bally Sea for Stephanie Mackie, while Muffie Guthrie of Guelph, ON placed third with Lucky 2 Knight and fourth with Damiro Van Ter Notelaere, both owned by Knightwood Stables. Hayes, who is based out of Sorensen Stables, rounded out the top five riding Berlena for owner Christine Carlsen.

Pan Am Challenge classes for junior and amateur show jumping athletes rounded out the competition at the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament. Maddy Watzeck of Oakville, ON topped a 30-horse starting field riding Utopia Belles to win the $10,000 Low Pan Am Challenge. Riders qualified for the Low Pan Am Challenge based on points earned throughout the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park show season in the .9m, 1m and 1.10m divisions.

Meanwhile, riders qualified for the $20,000 High Pan Am Challenge, presented by MVS Solutions, based on money won in the 1.20m, 1.30m and 1.40m divisions. Miranda Travers-Cavill of Claremont, ON emerged victorious riding Verdi Birdy for owner Glenn Young, taking the win over Chantal Masselin of Creemore, ON and her own Tout Court Z.

For more information on the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, including full results, please visit www.equiman.com.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

Aaron Vale, McLain Ward and Ian Millar Top $50,000 Equine Couture/TuffRider Grand Prix

Aaron Vale and Quidam’s Good Luck. Photo by ESI Photography.

Ocala, FL – January 28, 2015 – Capturing the win in Sunday’s $50,000 Equine Couture/TuffRider Grand Prix at HITS Ocala meant besting an impressive lineup of riders the likes of McLain Ward, Margie Engle, Charlie Jayne, Candice King and Ian Millar. After a quick, double clear effort, Aaron Vale did just that aboard Quidam’s Good Luck, taking home the lion’s share of the prize money sponsored by Equine Couture and TuffRider.

“I know if we leave the jumps up, he’s got a good chance,” Vale said of the 9-year-old bay gelding owned by Troy Glaus. Vale said the horse has a jumping style that’s “fairly extravagant – the way he kicks his hind end up and flicks his tail at the same time.”

Vale, of Williston, Florida, is a HITS Ocala regular, racking up numerous grand prix victories there, but this year the show circuit is attracting a lot more than just the regulars. Both the second and third place finishers, McLain Ward and Ian Millar, made the trip from Wellington, Florida to Ocala to ride in the $50,000 Equine Couture/TuffRider Grand Prix before returning back to the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Ward clinched the second place spot aboard Double H Farm’s HH Ashley, while Millar earned the third place honor riding The Baranus Group’s Baranus.

Equine Couture and TuffRider provide top-of-the-line apparel, footwear and products, and the brands are proud to support top-of-the-line riders. “It’s exciting to be a part of the sport at its highest level,” Equine Couture and TuffRider President Timmy Sharma said. “We look forward to continuing to provide both innovative products and apparel and support for some of the world’s best riders.”

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
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Ian Millar and Dixson Win $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*

Ian Millar and Dixson. Photos © Sportfot.

Eugenio Garza and Bariano Top $10,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Welcome; Becky Gochman and Fredrick Finish WEF 2 as FarmVet Amateur Owner 3’3″ 36 and Over Champions

Wellington, FL – January 17, 2015 – Canada’s Ian Millar was the proud winner of Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Dixson during week two of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). In a five-horse jump-off, Millar and Dixson topped the class by two one-hundredths of a second over Brianne Goutal (USA) and Remarkable Farms LP’s Zernike K.

Course designer Luc Musette (BEL) set a challenging track for the 45 starters in Saturday night’s class under the lights of the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Only five entries were able to advance to the jump-off, but all went on to clear the short course. The top four were separated by just fractions of a second.

Watch Ian Millar and Dixson in their winning round!

Paige Johnson (USA) and Salamander Farm’s Dakota set the pace in the jump-off at 40.99 seconds to finish fourth. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Adena Spring’s Quidam’s Cherie upped the time in 40.27 seconds to place third. Millar and Dixson followed with the winning round in 40.10 seconds. Ljubov Kochetova (RUS) and Veyron jumped into fifth place in 42.40 seconds, and Goutal wrapped up the night with a time of 40.12 seconds aboard Zernike K.

A ten-time Olympic veteran for Canada and one of the sport’s most illustrious stars, Ian Millar had a fantastic 2014 season with Dixson, including a big win in the $1.5 Million CP International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows and a trip to France for the Canadian show jumping team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Millar explained that the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco) never missed a beat coming back into competition after a short rest at the end of the season.

“He had been off since the third week of September, and I didn’t start him until December again because he lives with Mrs. Grange,” Millar noted. “He had a nice break and when I got going with him, his conditioning came right back because they use a treadmill with him. Even though he’s let down, his fitness is taken care of.”

“It is so interesting with these horses how they remember; they don’t forget a thing,” Millar stated. “A good, trained horse really holds it. You get on and it was like I had ridden him the day before, so you pick up where you left off and you go again. That is quite exciting.”

Dixson is related to Millar’s great mount Big Ben and has always been special to the rider for that reason alone, but has proven his own talent in recent years.

“The greatest horse I ever had was Big Ben, and this horse is related to Big Ben on the mother line,” Millar detailed. “I felt very strongly about him when I saw him. I could see the weaknesses, but I was absolutely drawn to him.”

Following the class, Millar spoke about the course, stating, “Luc is one of my favorites because he is so subtle. He takes course design to an art form. That first course was extremely interesting. A course designer like that will find weaknesses in a horse and rider. There’s no way around it – a rider’s flaws are going to come out and a horse’s flaws are going to come out.”

“The jump-off could have had a little more imagination in it for my liking,” Millar admitted. “It was just one track as fast as you could go. There weren’t really any options. You could take a stride out to the liverpool, but it was pretty much a straight run and gun. It’s good that it turned out that it was only five of us. It gets too crazy at that point. You would rather slow it down and get more of a jumping contest.”

Although the time to catch was very fast, Brianne Goutal was just off the winning mark for her second place finish with Zernike K and was very happy with her mount’s performance.

“He’s amazing,” she smiled. “He is just a really classical little guy with great style. He tries really hard. He has been a little up and down. He was a little bit inconsistent last year, but all summer long and fall up until now, he has been very consistent. He is wonderful, and he really gives it his best shot each time. I felt he was super smooth tonight. He did everything I was asking, going and coming back really nicely, which is what I was having trouble with before. I am thrilled with how he went.”

Cian O’Connor also had a great night with his mount, Quidam’s Cherie, and was happy take home the third place prize.

“She is a nice mare. She placed third in the grand prix of Nations Cup week last year. She jumped really well. I only gave her one 1.40m class the first week and she jumped the WEF (Challenge Cup) well this week and went double clear tonight, so I was very pleased with her,” O’Connor stated. “It wasn’t even one fifth of a second between the top three. It was a very competitive class.”

The top riders all thanked sponsors Wellington Equestrian Realty for their support of the week’s competition. Wellington Equestrian Realty representatives Craig Martin and Matt Varney both spoke to the fantastic competition of the night and their continued support.

“It was truly an honor to watch Ian go,” Martin stated. “I have grown up watching him. He is a complete technician when it comes to this sport. I thought Brianne was nearly going to catch him at the end there, but it was a great class.”

“We have been involved in some exciting grand prixs since we have been in town, which has been five years now,” Varney added. “For a legend like Ian to win our grand prix is an honor, and we really do mean that. It is so much fun to have three riders like this at the top of their game early in the season and good luck to them in the weeks to come.”

Millar and Goutal each spoke to the great turnout for this year’s competition and the wonderful crowd that was at PBIEC to cheer them on Saturday night.

“I think traditionally the busiest time for the facility is somewhere in the middle weeks, and it is up over last year,” Millar stated. “Whether that is a reflection of the economy, or our sport is getting more popular, or this particular venue is drawing more and more I don’t know. It is probably a combination of all of them because this venue is unrecognizable compared to what it was a decade ago.”

Goutal agreed, adding, “It is amazing the crowd that is drawn here. It makes a big difference for us. It keeps the atmosphere up and the energy high. Three years ago, forget five years ago, we didn’t have anybody in the stands and now it is packed full on Saturday nights. It is amazing. Everything is a steady growth of only good things, I feel.”

For her consistent performances this week, Paige Johnson (USA) was presented with the Leading Lady Rider award from Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.

Eugenio Garza and Bariano Top $10,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Welcome

The 2015 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series kicked off with its first of seven events for the circuit with the $10,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Welcome on Saturday afternoon. With record entries, this year’s series will award $170,000 in prize money. The series gives young riders a valuable stepping-stone from the junior and amateur ranks to the grand prix level.

Eugenio Garza and Bariano
Eugenio Garza and Bariano

Saturday’s one round opening speed competition saw 59 entries with ten clear rounds and a win for 18-year-old Eugenio Garza of Mexico. Coached by Irish show jumper, Darragh Kenny, Garza galloped to victory in the winning time of 65.63 seconds aboard El Milagro’s Bariano. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Zero finished second in 67.22 seconds.

Garza has owned Bariano, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Jetset-D x Skippy), for three years. Among the pair’s top performances, Bariano helped Garza earn the individual junior show jumping gold medal at the 2013 FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships in Kentucky.

“He is a super horse,” Garza praised after his win. “He has given a lot to me, and I am very grateful to him. He was a super competitive junior horse. He basically took me from the medium juniors all the way up to the 1.50m. He is like my teacher. He is one horse that I really understand, and he is a horse that I can show a lot. He is very brave and very fast. He is a very winning horse.”

Garza explained that he was aiming Bariano at last summer’s Central American Games trials, but the horse had to take some unscheduled time off due to an injury.

“This is his first big show coming back, so I am very happy that he is back with us and he is a great addition to my string of horses,” the rider stated.

Commenting on his winning round, Garza detailed, “My trainer, Darragh, really wanted me to go for it. I think I made up time on all the strides, especially on the turn where I did seven strides to the double, I don’t think anyone else did that. It was pretty long, even for me. I think it was just that he is a very quick horse. He turns very fast, and he doesn’t lose a lot of time in the air. I think that is where I caught Jessie. I saw Jessie go and she was very fast, so I knew that I had to go fast, but I just didn’t know how much. We decided to just go for it and it paid off.”

Garza plans to compete in all of the Under 25 classes throughout the circuit and thanked the sponsors for supporting and continuing the series.

“This is the second season I am going to do it,” he noted. “It is a very nice series, and I cannot thank the Ziegler Family and all of the sponsors enough for putting this together. It is a great class for us young riders that are trying to move up. It is a nice in-between class between the pros and the juniors.”

The second class of the series, the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix presented by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, will be featured on Sunday morning.

Also showing in the International Arena on Saturday, Emanuel Andrade took a one-two finish in the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic aboard Sothis D Ouilly and Natif des Roches. Victoria Colvin and Karen Long Dwight’s Don Juan won the $10,000 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Classic.

Becky Gochman and Fredrick Finish WEF 2 as FarmVet Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 36 and Over Champion

On the second day of competition in the FarmVet Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 36 and Over, Fredrick, owned by David Gochman and shown by Becky Gochman, claimed both over fences victories. Paired with a second in the handy round and first in the under saddle, Gochman and Fredrick ended up as champions of the FarmVet Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 36 and over.

Elizabeth Faraci rode her own horse Adore to reserve champion honors. Adore earned a first, second and third over fences as well as a second place finish in the under saddle.

Gochman has had Fredrick less than a year and has focused on getting to know him over the past several months. Not wanting to rush Fredrick, trainer Scott Stewart and Gochman took the fall season off, waiting to return to the show ring this winter. “He [Fredrick] is a bigger horse than I’m used to, but slowly we are adapting to each other and he is becoming a fast favorite,” Gochman explained.

Going forward Gochman looks forward to being able to get to know Fredrick better in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ division. “He [Fredrick] is very intelligent and very sweet,” Gochman smiled. “It’s been fun to learn about his personality. He makes me smile, and he is always looking for his treat.”

Having a successful week, Gochman is looking forward to the upcoming weeks of competition. “Everything has been on our side, the weather has been great and the courses have been superb,” Gochman commented.

Although Gochman is busy competing herself, she also has two daughters, Sophie and Mimi, competing at WEF. Based out of New York City, the family travels back and forth on weekends. Gochman explained, “It’s a lot of moving parts, but we feel that it’s worth it and we are lucky to be able to come down to sunny Florida to escape the cold!”

When together at WEF, Gochman balances focusing on her own classes as well as supporting her daughters in the pony ring. “It keeps us on our toes. I go and support them [Sophie and Mimi] whenever I can and they come and support me whenever they can,” Gochman said. “I really appreciate seeing their smiling faces at my ring!”

While Gochman and her daughters enjoy watching each other, they are also able to learn from each other. Now that Sophie and Mimi are older they have started to give their mom some pointers. “They really know what to look for now,” Gochman remarked.

Week two concludes on Sunday with the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, and the $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. Hunter coverage concludes in the Rost Arena with the Echo Junior Hunters 3’3″. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Ian Millar and Star Power Top $25,000 ESP Holiday II Grand Prix

Ian Millar and Star Power. Mancini Photos.

Wellington, FL – December 19, 2014 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) hosted its Holiday Festival II this week on December 16-18, 2014, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The week featured the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake on Tuesday with a win for Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane, and the $25,000 Holiday II Grand Prix on Thursday with a win for Ian Millar (CAN) and Star Power.

Hector Loyola of Wellington, FL set the courses in the International Arena for the Holiday II competition. In Thursday’s $25,000 Holiday II Grand Prix, Loyola saw 29 entries with six clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Three entries jumped double clear over the short course, where Canada’s ten-time Olympic veteran, Ian Millar, completed the fastest time of 49.84 seconds aboard Team Works’ Star Power to earn top honors for the second week in a row. Millar also won the $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix with Baranus last Sunday.

Christine McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Win for Life finished second in 52.52 seconds, and Wilhelm Genn and Eduardo Leon’s Bugatti stopped the clock in 53.42 seconds to place third.

Earlier in the week, the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake was held on Tuesday with a win for Ronan McGuigan and his own Capall Zidane. Eighteen entries showed in the class with five in the jump-off and four double clear rounds. McGuigan and Capall Zidane won in a time of 40.25 seconds. Wilton Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Paloubet finished second in 41.40 seconds, and Gemma Paternoster and her own and Julia Harrison Lee’s Osiris placed third in 42.31 seconds. Ian Millar and Star Power geared up for their win later in the week with a fourth place finish in 44.31 seconds.

The 2014 ESP Holiday Series continues immediately into the Holiday Festival III on December 19-21, 2014. Friday, December 19, will feature the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake and Sunday, December 21, will highlight the $25,000 Holiday III Grand Prix. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Ian Millar and Baranus Win $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix

Ian Millar and Baranus. Mancini Photos.

Wellington, FL – December 15, 2014 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) hosted its Holiday Festival I this week on December 12-14, 2014, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The week featured the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake on Friday with a win for Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Goldbreaker and the $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix on Sunday with a win for Ian Millar (CAN) and Baranus.

Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY set the courses in the International Arena for the Holiday I competition. In Sunday’s $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix, D’Ambrosio saw 40 competitors over his first round track with ten clear to advance to the jump-off where six went double clear. Ian Millar and the Baranus were the winners by a margin of over four seconds with their time of 37.90 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Testify finished second in 41.92 seconds, and Margie Engle and Eckham van het Steentje were third in 41.95 seconds. Alexander Zetterman and Zidane jumped into fourth place in 42.12 seconds.

Millar, a ten-time Olympian for Canada, is no stranger to the winner’s circle, but he was particularly thrilled to be there this weekend with Baranus, a horse that he has been working with for two years.

“It has been a lot of development like anything else,” Millar said of the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Balou du Rouet x Centauer Z). “It takes a long time to develop these horses and hopefully this is going to be his year where everything pays off and it starts to turn into results in the competition ring.”

“When I got him he looked like a fantastic prospect at that stage, and then it is all about the development,” Millar continued. “He has been consistent in his results. He has been learning his lessons. There is quite a list of lessons that they have to learn to be able to do this kind of thing. In the beginning he had his reservations about liverpools and water. That can take a long time to get a horse over that, and it did take a while, but that seems to be behind us now.”

Commenting on his extremely fast jump-off round, Millar laughed, “I didn’t mean to be four seconds faster. That suggests that there is that much more risk and you only want to take enough risk to win, but I must say that I was concerned about the last one coming at me. Alexander Zetterman is a very, very fast rider, so I thought I better make it plenty difficult for him, which was the plan. I carried a lot of pace to jump one and with that much pace the inside turn was that much more challenging. If you went a little slower to number one the inside turn, although tight, was very manageable, but to do it at the speed I did was quite a trick. That was probably worth at least a second if not more. Then over the number ten jump I turned very quickly and came right back on the combination. That might have been worth another second, and then I never squared up to the second to last jump. I just came right through the corner and caught it and then finished up in the leave out, so that would have been another second.”

The time that Millar has taken to bring Baranus along properly definitely paid off in the turns and the speed in that course, as the rider detailed, “He is beautiful to ride. It has taken awhile to get it, but he is such a cat that you can do anything you want with him. In that particular jump-off, there were a couple of areas that if you could keep coming through the tight turn it would save you some time. So many horses just don’t have the ability to come through at that speed, but he’s a cat.”

As the winter season approaches, Millar hopes to keep seeing improvement in Baranus and see how he does in the top classes.

“It is a long tour here, but we will see how far we can go because he absolutely is ready,” Millar stated. “There is nothing there to protect. His knowledge is there, his ability, his soundness, his fitness, it is all there. So I will go as far as I can go with him.”

Earlier in the week, the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake was held on Friday with a win for Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and her own Goldbreaker. Thirty-four entries showed with 14-horse jump-off and eight double clear rounds. Derbyshire and Goldbreaker completed the fastest double clear in 42.74 seconds ahead of Tom Foley (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Beluga in 43.060 seconds. Alexander Zetterman (SWE) and Zidane finished third, just fractions off Foley’s time in 43.067 seconds.

The 2014 ESP Holiday Series continues with its Holiday Festival II on December 16-18 featuring the $10,000 Open Stake class on Tuesday, December 16, and the $25,000 Holiday II Grand Prix on Thursday, December 18. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.