Ian Millar, Show Jumper Who Competed for Canada in 10 Oympics–Most of Any Athlete in Any Sport–Retires from International Competition
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May 1, 2019
Ian Millar, the Canadian show jumper whose 10 Olympics are more than any other athlete in any sport, has announced his retirement from international competition at the age of 72.
Ian, whose first Olympics was at Munich in 1972 and the last in London in 2012 (Canada joined most Western nations in boycotting the 1980 Games), will focus on coaching and developing young horses.
Throughout his career, he competed at 10 Pan American Games, seven world championships and more than 200 Nations Cups as well as 10 Olympics.
“Representing Canada many times over my career has been my greatest honor,” said Ian, popularly nicknamed ‘Cap’n Canada’. “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 Olympics and championships, Ian won more than 150 grand prix, was Canadian Show Jumping Champion 12 times, and the first rider to win back-to-back World Cup Finals, earning the title in 1988 and 1989, a feat he achieved on his most successful horse, Big Ben.
His home stable is Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario where he developed more than 100 grand prix horses and coached numerous top international riders including Canadian team mates Mario Deslauriers and Jill Henselwood, as well as Richard Spooner of the U.S. He has also been instrumental in the careers of his son, Jonathon; daughter, Amy, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, all of whom currently represent Canada in international competition.
“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,” he said. “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.”