Captain Canada, Ian Millar of Perth, ON, is no stranger to pressure, having been crowned the Canadian Champion now for the eleventh time, and having competed at a record ten Olympic games over the span of his career.
Millar managed to maintain his top place finish through three rounds of jumping between last evening and tonight, accumulating just one time fault in the process. Unlike Maynard, Millar entered the Championship as the odds-on favourite, the clear one-to-beat in the field of 23.
"It's NEVER easy to do." Stated Millar emphatically at the conclusion of the evening. "I've been second a bunch of times too. But when you're EXPECTED to win - it puts the pressure on. It's easier to be coming from behind when nobody has expectations."
Having competed so extensively and so successfully for so long, Millar has a unique perspective and 'long vision' for the class and for The Royal, as it relates to the development of future Canadian Team riders.
"The Greenhawk Canadian Championships are a great opportunity to showcase our national riders and give them a chance to get in the "big part" of our sport. It was a full house here tonight, with good sponsors and serious prize money. The format of the competition with the last ten coming back - there's definitely pressure there and everybody feels it. And that's how you learn to ride on a Nations Cup team." Millar explained.
When asked about his history at the Royal specifically, Millar drew closer and softened his voice, just a little.
"I've been competing at the Royal since at least the late sixties... It never gets old. It really is one of the best indoor competitions in the world. It has it's own character with such a strong agricultural underpinning - and it's such a family event. I love to see these little kids who come running up who want a picture with me. They're eight, 10, 12. It's pretty neat that they would be interested in me. They could focus on any of the younger riders. But that's the thing about our sport. The horse is the common denominator. For all levels of society, all levels of wealth, all ages, all genders. It's one melting pot and everybody has that same love and interest in the horse. I believe the horse brings out the best in people."
$100,000 Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Final Score
1. Ian Millar / Perth, ON / Star Power / 1
2. Jaclyn Duff / Edmonton, AB / PaterNoster / 3.84
3. Elissa Reisman / Guelph, ON / Venadium R / 4.06
4. Jordan MacPherson / Toronto, ON / Aanwinst / 6.89
5. Christian Sorensen / Caledon, ON / Recadis B / 8.64
Source: Press release from The Royal Horse Show
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