Show Jumping

Ian Millar Wins His 12th National Title and the Internet

©Ben Radvanyi
©Ben Radvanyi

Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar landed a record-setting 12th Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, ON. But it’s his colorful way with words that’s the real winner of the night. 

Millar returned last in the second and final round, having posted the fastest clear in Friday night’s opening speed round aboard Dixson. He and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding repeated their flawless performance in Saturday’s two-round final, then capped the night with the most descriptive press conference in recent memory.

This is Ian Millar… 

On pressure

“I always say [a class] like that is like building a house cards. If you have all day to do it and you’re just fooling around, it’s easy enough to get those last two cards up there. But when someone says you only have a few seconds and we’re going to give you a good pay check and big honor if you do it, all of a sudden it becomes so much more difficult. That is what jumping that second round is all about.”

On stiff competition

“It’s great to have this quality of horse [like Dixson] here at the Royal, because we’ve got some serious headaches coming at us in the International Division. Not to mention a certain British individual on a bay stallion with a gold medal banging around his neck. He will definitely be no walk in the park.”

On maintaining a top show jumper

“It’s like taking an hour glass and turning it upside down. The grains of sand fall. That’s the same with these jumpers. You get them so they really know their game, they really know the sport, then you’re just counting down the jumps. The better you take care of them, the sounder they are, they more efficient athlete they become, the better you manage them, the longer they last.”

On treating Dixson’s melanomas

“He had them the last couple of years but we managed them in a different way, we injected them with formaldehyde through a scope and that was just killing the part that you saw. It wasn’t getting the root, which is down in the sinus. The hope is that they’ll eventually give up. But the darn things were like a dandelion, they just kept going. The only thing to do was to get in there surgically and get the root.”

On the ups and downs of sport

“Amy, my heart sure goes out to her. She had to qualify for the international division and she missed it by one. One rail down tonight and that put her out. And she really, really wanted to do it and deserved to do it. Here’s our Olympic rider. But that’s sport. Sport is sport! And that’s why it grasps our imagination. Because the good, the bad, the ugly, anything can happen. It’s worse than the US election.”

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