Being associated with one Canadian Olympian is a desirable feature in a horse.
Amy Millar’s Truman is tied to five.
Originally owned by Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN), Millar discovered the horse through their Rio Games teammate, Tiffany Foster (CAN).
“It’s a pretty great story about this horse,” said the 2017 Canadian National Champion. “I bought him from Eric Lamaze, and Tiffany [Foster] helped me find the horse when we were all in Europe getting ready for the Rio Olympics.”
At the time, Truman campaigned briefly under Yann Candele, the fourth member of Canada’s show jumping team in Rio.
Millar bought the Selle Francais gelding as a seven-year-old. They made appearances in three international events together before she was sidelined by a pregnancy in 2017 and handed the reins to her father, 10-time Olympian Ian Millar.
“Last year I had a baby, so my dad, Ian Millar, trained the horse for me all last year, got him going around these 1.50m grand prix. I came back this season and have capitalized on everything that everyone has done to help me with the horse,” she smiled.
On Saturday night, the Canadian combo produced Truman’s best finish to date.
Millar and the now 10-year bay gelding posted a double clear to finish second in the $134,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Week 10 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida.
Of the 45 entries to contest the track set by Michel Vaillancourt (yet another Canadian Olympian), four produced a faultless first round to advance to the jump off.
Millar and Truman were first to return for the short course, setting the time to beat at 45.65 seconds with an efficient clear.
“Everyone in the jump-off had the ability to go quickly,” she continued. “I essentially had to go as fast as I felt comfortable and leave the jumps up. I must say, I did think I was going to do one less stride in both of those lines when I made my plan. Then it just wasn’t working out that way. I just rode the plan and left the jumps up.”
Their time held until the end.
Last to go, Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Roulette BH left strides out with a speedy round to cross the timers in 44.12 seconds and come away with the victory.
“I did actually plan nine [strides from jumps] two to three in the jump-off and ended up doing eight,” said Derbyshire. “Then I just kept going. I was really lucky in the double at the end; I didn’t have much control by then. Luck was on my side. I had the advantage of watching all three go.”
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“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “To win anything at WEF under the lights with so many people and such a big crowd is always so special. I’ve been in America nine years, and I spent the first seven years watching all of these night classes, so to be able to jump them and be able to win is a dream come true.”
Laura Chapot rounded out the top three with a four fault performance in 43.07 seconds.