Ian Millar

Ian Millar is an icon in international show jumping. The most decorated equestrian in Canadian history, his record-breaking career has set the bar for its numerous achievements and unparalleled longevity.

A national treasure, Ian was awarded the Order of Canada in 1986, Ontario’s Athlete of the Year in 1989, and an honorary doctorate by the University of Guelph in 2005. Together with Big Ben, he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Big Ben was only the second horse to receive the honor; the first being distinguished Canadian-bred race horse, Northern Dancer. Both have been inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame, as well—Big Ben in 2006 and Ian in 2012. In 2016, Ian added the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame to that growing list. A statue of Big Ben and Ian Millar currently sits on the outskirts of Big Ben Park in their hometown of Perth, Ontario.

What Ian is perhaps best known for, is his unprecedented Olympic record. He has competed in more Olympic Games than any athlete in history, in any sport. As of the 2012 Games in London, he set a new World Record for number of Olympic starts—10 in total—and recorded his best individual result to date, finishing ninth overall. Ian’s Olympic attendance record from 1972 to 2012 is blighted only by the 1980 Games, which Canada boycotted. That year, he rode for Canada at the Alternate Olympics in Rotterdam in which Canada won the Team Gold.

Ironically, the year that proved most devastating in his personal life was his most triumphant on the Olympic stage. Ian earned his first Olympic Medal in 2008 at age 61, setting a record for the oldest show jumper to stand on the podium at the Olympics. With only a three-member squad riding in the nail-biting final round of team competition, Ian came through with a clutch clear round forcing a jump off with the United States. Canada won the Silver medal. It was the nation’s first team show jumping medal in 40 years. Just months earlier, Ian lost his wife and business partner of 39 years, Lynn Millar, to cancer. Ian dedicated the medal to her memory, saying: “I had an angel riding with me.”

If Ian’s Olympic record is impressive for its longevity, his Pan American Games is equally so for its medal count. Ian has earned nine medals in nine Pan American Games—more than any other show jumper. He has twice been the Pan American Games Individual Gold medalist, first in 1987 with Big Ben and in 1999 with Ivar. At the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadelajhara, Mexico, Ian was on track to add to his medal count when his Olympic mount Star Power had a catastrophic stumble on course. Miraculously, the pair still produced a clean round and were in fifth position going into the final round of individual competition. Ian opted not to compete out of concern for his horse’s welfare.

A staple on the Nation’s Cup team, Ian has represented Canada in every Nations Cup event held at a show he has attended since he was first named to the team in 1971. He has donned the red coat for Canada at six World Championships, where he has been a member of three, top-five placed teams and has finished in the top 10 individually twice. Equally impressive is Ian’s national record; he is a record 12-time Canadian Champion.

Another proud moment for Ian, came in August of 2016, when he watched daughter Amy make her Olympic debut in Rio. Although not competing himself in what would’ve been his 11th Olympic appearance, Ian travelled with the team to Brazil and witnessed Canada finish in the overall fourth place position in the team event.

Following the Rio Olympic Games, the Millar’s logged yet another impressive family performance in November of 2016 where Ian won the first round of competition in the $100,000 Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Dixson on opening night of the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON. Following close behind, were the Millar children with Amy coming in second and Jonathon in third. That Saturday, Ian went on to clinch his record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Championship title.

Ian Millar continues to accrue top placings in the show ring while working alongside his son, Jonathon, daughter, Amy, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, at Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario. Together, they have been dubbed “Team Millar.”

Rider Stats

Birthdate: January, 6th, 1947

Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hometown: Perth, Ontario

View Full FEI Results at this link 

Career Highlights

  • Ian Millar has competed in more Olympic Games than any athlete in history, in any sport.
  • The 2012 Olympics in London marked his 10th Games a new World Record.
  • Ian won his first Olympic medal at age 61-Team Silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
  • Ian became the first rider in show jumping to win back-to-back World Cup Finals: 1988 in Gothenburg and 1989 in Tampa, both aboard Big Ben.
  • Ian has earned nine medals (including two individual Golds) in nine Pan American Games, more than any other show jumper in history.
  • Twelve-time Canadian National Champion.
  • Two-time winner of the $1 Million CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.

Medal Record

Olympic Games

Silver: 2008 Beijing-Team Jumping

Pan American Games

Gold: 1987 Indianapolis-Individual Jumping

Gold: 1987 Indianapolis-Team Jumping

Gold: 1999-Winnipeg-Individual Jumping

Silver: 1979 San Juan-Team Jumping

Silver: 1983 Caracas-Team Jumping

Silver: 1991 Havana-Team Jumping

Silver: 2007 Rio de Janeiro-Team Jumping

Bronze: 1979 San Juan-Individual Jumping

Bronze: 1999 Winnipeg-Team Jumping

Record In Major International Championships

Olympic Games-10 starts, 4 Top 20 individual placings, 3 Top 5 team placings

Year Horse Individual Placing Team Placing Location
2012 Star Power 9th 5th London
2008 In Style 23rd T Silver Medal Hong Kong / Beijing
2004 Promise Me 24th DNC Athens
2000 Dorincord 13th 9th Sydney
1996 Play It Again 47th 16th Atlanta
1992 Big Ben 54th 9th Barcelona
1988 Big Ben 15th 4th Seoul
1984 Big Ben 14th 4th Los Angeles
1976 Countdown DNC 5th Montreal
1972 Shoeman DNC 6th Munich

Pan American Games-9 starts, 5 Top 5 individual placings (3 medals), 6 Top 3 team placings (6 medals)

Year Horse Individual Placing Team Placing Location
2012 Star Power DNF 4th Guadalajara
2003 Promise Me 7th 6th Santo Domingo
2007 In Style 4th Silver Medal Rio de Janeiro
2003 Promise Me 7th 6th Santo Domingo
1999 Ivar Gold Medal Bronze Medal Winnipeg
1995 Mistral 26th 7th Mar del Plata
1991 Future Vision 22nd Silver Medal Havana
1987 Big Ben Gold Medal Gold Medal Indianapolis
1983 Foresight 5th Silver Medal Caracas
1979 Brother Sam Bronze Medal Silver Medal San Juan

World Championships-6 starts, 2 Top 10 individual placings, 3 Top 5 team placings

Year Horse Individual Placing Team Placing Location
2006 In Style 88th 13th Rio de Janeiro
1998 Mont Cenis 38th 10th Santo Domingo
1994 Future Vision 27th 7th Winnipeg
1986 Big Ben 10th 4th Mar del Plata
1982 Wunderbar 49th 5th Havana
1978 Brother Sam 9th 4th Indianapolis

World Cup Finals-14 starts, 5 Top 8 placings

Year Horse Placing Location
2009 In Style 14th T Las Vegas
2000 Ivar 30th T Las Vegas
1997 My Girl 28th Gothenburg
1993 Future Vison 37th Gothenburg
1992 Big Ben 40th Del Mar
1991 Czar 15th Gothenburg
1990 Czar 12th T Dortmund
1989 Big Ben 1st Tampa
1988 Big Ben 1st Gothenburg
1987 Big Ben 5th Paris
1986 Big Ben 2nd Gothenburg
1985 Big Ben 8th Berlin
1984 Wotan 18th Gothenburg
1980 Brother Sam 14th Baltimore

Amy Millar

Amy Millar was born into show jumping but it was hard work and raw talent that has propelled her to the top level of the sport.

With more than 25 grand prix career wins to date, she’s a fierce competitor, accomplished trainer, and doting mother. As the youngest child of 10-time Olympian Ian Millar and his late wife Lynn, you could say Amy has horses in her blood. Growing up, Amy learned the ins and outs of the business from the ground up and began riding before she could even walk.

“My mom, Lynn, had a strict ‘you ride, you feed’ policy,” says Amy. “She didn’t have a horse growing up, so she was always very aware of the privilege. She tried to make sure we understood that, too.”

Training alongside her famous father, Ian, and older brother, Jonathon, Amy proved early on, that talent doesn’t fall far from the tree. After a brief, and what she calls “sporadically successful,” stint in the hunter and equitation rings, she followed her father’s footsteps into the jumper divisions and found her niche.

“Amy has always been very competitive,” says Ian Millar. “Whether it was the pony hunters or the Grand Prix, she’s never aiming for less than first place.”

At 19, Amy entered the Grand Prix ranks aboard the Danish Warmblood gelding Zagal. The pair had a highly successful season capped by an Individual Silver medal at the North American Young Riders’ Championship. The impressive result earned them a spot on the 1997 Short List for the Canadian Equestrian Team and one of two Firestone Development Scholarships. Two months later, they logged their first international victory, winning the 1997 Desert Circuit Six-Bar challenge in Indio, California. Zagal made Amy a Grand Prix rider, but it was with the Oldenburg gelding Mont Cenis that she became an international success.

Taking over the ride from her father, Amy recorded a slew of top five finishes with the black gelding in 1999. She was officially named to the Nations Cup Team that fall, tapped to ride for Canada at the Washington International Horse Show. Unfortunately, a week before the event, the gelding suffered a hoof abscess. Amy competed on a borrowed mount, narrowly missing a berth on that year’s Pan American Games team.

In 2000, her star power continued to rise with the quirky gelding Manhattan. Amy won the inaugural Jaguar Triple Crown Series that summer, narrowly beating her father, Ian Millar for the coveted car. She again earned a spot on the Canadian Nations Cup team, this time riding with her father, brother, and Jill Henselwood at the prestigious Spruce Meadows Masters tournament in Calgary, Alberta. In what would become a record of firsts, the Millars made history that day as the only Canadian Nations Cup team to include three-members from the same family.

The following year, Team Millar broke new ground again as Amy, Jonathon, and Ian found themselves the only three members of a first-place tie-breaker in a $100,000 grand prix in Ocala, Florida. Jonathon won, followed by his father, then followed by Amy. Lynn Millar called it, “the most exciting moment of my career.”

Between 1997 and 2000, Amy juggled a degree in Business Administration at Ryerson University and an increasingly competitive show jumping career. Upon graduating, she moved to the United States for two years to work for Kinloch Farm and later, Sam Edelman. She was selected as a member of the inaugural Developing Riders’ Tour that competed in several Nations’ Cup events in Europe in 2001 and 2002.

In 2003, she returned to the family’s Millar Brooke Farm full time. It was then that she found the partner she is best known for today: Costa Rica Z.

Together, Amy and the charismatic grey mare collected more than 60, top 10 Grand Prix finishes, including seven victories and numerous awards and titles. They won the Kubota Cup Series Eastern Conference in 2007 and competed for Canada on several Nations Cup teams. Amy twice finished the year on top of the national Jump Canada series both in 2007 and 2008 based primarily on results she earned with Costa Rica.

Out of competition for the first half of 2010 on maternity leave, Amy gave birth to a daughter, Lily Evelyn Millar Jukosky, in May. Two months later, she returned to competition, recording the most consistent season of her career. In January 2012, she achieved a career best on the Rolex World Rankings as the fourth ranked rider in Canada.

In 2015, Amy began competing with her current equine partner, the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Heros. The pair were Canada’s top performers at the 2016 Nations Cup in Ocala, Florida as well as members of the third-place finishing BMO Nations Cup team during the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in September.

One month earlier in August, Amy followed in her father’s footsteps making her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where she and Heros were part of Canada’s fourth place finish in the team event, in a jump-off for bronze against Germany.

Today, Amy works alongside her father, brother, and sister-in-law at the family’s Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario where she trains her own mounts and coaches the many students that form Team Millar.

Rider Stats

Birthdate: February 14th, 1977

Birthplace:  Ottawa, Ontario

Hometown: Perth, Ontario

View Full FEI Results at this link. 

Career Highlights

  • Two-time Jump Canada National Series Winner
  • Jaguar Triple Crown Series Winner
  • Kubota Cup Series Eastern Conference Winner
  • Short-listed member of the Canadian Equestrian Team
  • Amy made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Jonathon Millar

Jonathon Millar has been a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team for 20 years. The firstborn child of Canada’s most decorated equestrian, Ian Millar, and his late wife Lynn, Jon grew up on the horse show circuit but he only began competing seriously himself at age 16.

Within a year, Jonathon shot to the top of the junior ranks, earning a spot in the FEI North American Junior and Young Riders (NAJYR) Finals. Aboard the Thoroughbred Simon Says, a horse he started riding just two months earlier, he helped secure the Team Gold for Canada and placed fourth in the Individual Finals, narrowly missing a podium finish. The following year in 1993, Jonathon took home the Team Silver at the NAJYR Finals with the Belgium Warmblood, Emir.

At 19, Jonathon made his Canadian Equestrian Team debut. With Emir, he was one of four horse and rider combinations to represent Canada in the Nations Cup at the Washington International in DC. (He had the dubious distinction of wrecking the team car en route to the 5:00am morning school.)

Over the next three years Jonathon and Emir went on to record a slew of top-three Grand Prix finishes. Their consistent results earned him a berth on the Canadian Developing Riders Team in 1997. Travelling to Europe with the Team, Jonathon remained abroad, taking a riding position with renowned horseman Emile Hendrix, of Stal Hendrix, in the Netherlands.

It was at Stal Hendrix that Jonathon started the Millar Brooke-bred gelding Aftershock and the Dutch Warmblood stallion Fine Line—the two horses that would thrust him into the international spotlight.

In 2000, he returned to Canada to contest the Olympic Selection Trials, this time accepting a position with US team stalwart Laura Kraut in Middleburg, Virginia. Jonathon was named second alternate to the Canadian Olympic Team. He and Fine Line moved up to first alternate prior to the Games in Sydney.

That same year, Jonathon rode for Canada on two Nations Cup teams. Together with his father Ian, sister Amy, and Canadian team veteran Jill Henselwood, he and Fine Line contested the prestigious Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary. It was the first time three members of the same family have competed on the same team. One month later, he donned the red coat for Canada again at the Washington International in DC with Aftershock.

In 2001, Jonathon recorded his first Grand Prix victory. In the final week of Florida’s HITS Ocala winter circuit, Jonathon claimed Friday’s $15,000 Grand Prix with Aftershock. Two days later, he and Fine Line won the $100,000 Grand Prix in a nail-biting, three-way jump off against his father and sister. Ian would later place second and Amy, in third. In 2007, Jonathon made sports history again when he finished second to his legendary father, by mere fractions of a second, in the Canadian Championship with the grey mare Fancy Hill. It was one of 15, top-five finishes he recorded with the lightning fast mare.

Jonathon was a winner’s circle regular with Fancy Hill, but it was the gentle giant Contino 14 that made him a Canadian team staple. The well-matched pair made Nations Cup appearances at the 2009 Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain, the 2010 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary, Alberta, and the 2011 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Canada recorded top three finishes in each.

Contino 14 and Jonathon also represented Canada at the 2010 World Show Jumping Championships. The Team’s clutch fifth-place finish was the nation’s best result in nearly 25 years and secured Canada’s berth for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. By 2011, Jonathon was the third ranked rider in Canada, eclipsing his famous father for the first time on the Short List for the national show jumping team.

Today, Jonathon continues to be a force in the Grand Prix ring with his international mount, Calvin Klein. Alongside his father, Jonathon and Calvin Klein were part of the first-place Nations Cup effort in Mexico that qualified Canada for the 2014 Furusiyya Nations CupTM Finals. As of mid-August, the pair had recorded 13 top 10 placings in 2014, including a third-place finish in the $100,000 Synoil Energy Services Cup at Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Ontario.

Over the past two years, Jonathon has continued to develop his partnership with Calvin Klein and with the 2006 KWPN gelding Bonzay, owned by Isotropic Networks Inc. Jonathon piloted Bonzay to third place in a class that quickly became a family affair, the first round of the $100,000 Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship at the Royal Horse Show. Jonathon and Bonzay finished behind his sister Amy in second, and his father Ian in first.

Jonathon Millar lives with his wife, Kelly Soleau-Millar, and their three dogs on Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, where he works alongside with father and sister.

Rider Stats

Birthdate: September 25th, 1974

Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario

Hometown: Perth, Ontario

View Full FEI Results at this link. 

Career Highlights

  • Short-listed member of the Canadian Equestrian Team since 1994.
  • First alternate for the Olympic Show Jumping Team since 2000.
  • Eight Nations Cup appearances.
  • Member of the 5th place team at the 2010 World Championships.

Record in Major International Championships

Olympic Games

Year Horse Individual Placing Team Placing Location
2000 Fine Line 1st Alternate 1st Alternate Sydney

 World Championships

Year Horse Individual Placing Team Placing Location
2010 Contino 14 50th 5th Lexington

 World Cup Finals

Year Horse Placing Location
1997 Emir Göteborg

Kelly Soleau-Millar

Kelly Soleau Millar has over 30 years of experience in the saddle. An insatiable passion for horses at the early age of two years old, led her mother on a search for a barn offering lessons. For 12 years, Seven J’s Farm in Glastonbury Ct became the beloved farm that helped Kelly lay her foundations in the saddle.

Starting in lead line, then on to Short Stirrup, equitation, pony hunters, children’s hunters, Junior Hunters, the big Equitation, Children’s Jumpers, junior jumpers, Amateur Owner jumpers, Grand Prix’s and World Cup Qualifiers, Kelly progressed through the different levels of the sport riding as a junior and then an amateur rider until 2015 when she made the step to become a professional.

However, it was in August of 2014 that Kelly recorded her first grand prix win, capturing the Grand Prix in Caledon Ontario at the Caledon Equestrian Park aboard Centre Ice. Only two horses qualified for the jump off that day, Kelly, and Jonathon on Ian’s Olympic Mount Star Power who he had recently taken over the ride on.

“I don’t even think you could script something like that,” Kelly said. “I actually thought for a second that maybe we should just tie and call it a day but that seemed to easy and would’ve been no fun, plus, I had never won a Grand Prix before and what was there to lose!  We had a great day, and it meant so much to me.”

Along with securing a career highlight, Kelly’s grand prix win at the Caledon Equestrian Park held special significance for another reason.

“It had been a very long hard summer for me as I had unexpectedly lost my father only a few months before. I knew my Dad was with me that day,” shared Kelly. “The other special part about Centre Ice is that a few months before my Dad died he purchased Centre Ice for me.  We had owned half of him for many years and it came time that the other owners wanted to sell him, my Dad stepped up and bought the other half for me so I could keep him. I will never forget that day.”

Kelly considers bringing along her horse Itty Bitty as another notable career moment. Having previously ridden Itty Bitty’s father Mr. ITT when she first came to Millar Brooke, Kelly became excited about the prospect of a Mr. ITT foal.

“I had never been around breeding horses and foals before and I was so interested and excited.  Lynn Millar, Jonathon’s mother really got me into it.  From the day Itty was born I would go visit her in the field.  I was in love with her.  By the time, she was two I could walk out to the field and whistle and she would leave the pack of 6 other foals come running to the gate to see me. Finally, one year when we had gotten home from FL, Ian said to me that he was tired of hearing me talk about Itty and would I just got get her out of the field and start doing something with her.  I’ve never looked back since.  Everyone thought she was too small and perhaps not good enough and maybe would be a hunter. But this little mare has a heart of gold!  I started her that day and brought her all the way up to jumping CSI2* Grand Prix’s all over Canada and the US.”

Itty and Kelly’s partnership has resulted in numerous wins and top placings in FEI classes, with Itty continuing to amaze today.

In addition to her integral role assisting in the riding, training, showing, and management of operations for Millar Brooke Farm South, Kelly’s interests also include interior and barn design and real estate with regards to house renovations and flipping homes. Kelly’s sights are set on one day representing the United States in competition as well as pursuing her passion for both interior and barn design, and starting a family with husband, Jonathon Millar. Kelly and Jonathon have been together for 14 years, finally tying the knot in December of 2015.

Together, Kelly and Jonathon work alongside Ian, Amy, and the rest of the dedicated Millar Brooke Farm staff, aiding in the management and training of students, sales, and operations of Team Millar. In addition to managing her own business and horses, Kelly also manages the day-to-day operations of Millar Brooke Farm South in Wellington, Fl.

Rider Stats

Birthdate: March 4th, 1984

Birthplace: Glastonbury, Connecticut

Hometown: Perth, Ontario

View Full FEI Results at this link.

Career Highlights

1st, High Amateur Owner Classic, “I love NY horseshow,” Centre Ice in 2012

1st, Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Ocala Pre-Circuit, Itty Bitty in 2012

3rd, $25,000 Grand Prix of Ocala Pre Circuit, Centre Ice in 2012

1st, Broccoli Hill Hunter Derby, Vianco v/d Ramparrden 2011

2nd, Performance Sport Horses Hunter Derby, Vianco v/d Rampaadern in 2011

2nd, 1.30m Final Four, Spruce Meadows Skyliner Tournament, Centre Ice in 2010; Centre Ice was named Champion Horse

Ninth place finish at the 2009 World Cup event in Blainville, QC, Canada

The Farm Story

It started with a rundown property on the outskirts of a small town. Millar Brooke Farm was founded in 1972 on a small budget, big dreams, and boundless determination.

Newlyweds, Ian and Lynn Millar purchased the 500-acre parcel of land in the picturesque town of Perth, Ontario, located just 45 minutes outside Ottawa. Banked by a marsh, the Tay River, and a neighbouring cow farm, the modest property held a crumbling, 125-year-old brick house and a large rundown barn. The house had a leaky roof and no indoor plumbing; the barn housed cattle.

“There was a large tree in the field next to the house. A friend of ours attached a large light to it and Lynn would teach lessons in the snow underneath that light, every weeknight from four ‘til nine,” recalls Ian Millar. “It wasn’t unusual to find the neighbour’s cows in the yard either. They had a bull that would breakthrough the fence on a regular basis and there’d be cows everywhere.”

Within months of taking ownership, Ian and Lynn sold some 200 acres of untenable marshland to the local Conservation Authority. The savvy move ensured no development would threaten to encroach on the farm in the future and effectively paid off the initial mortgage.

Together, over 40-odd years, they transformed the rustic, rural property into a world-class training facility, adding riding rings, stables and fences. The Millars eventually purchased the surrounding properties, including the cow farm, to build an exceptionally private, self-sustaining 600-acre farm.

Today, Millar Brooke Farm boasts three barns, each fitted with individual wash and grooming stalls, separate feed and tackrooms, and oversized stalls. The property is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, including a covered six-horse walker and treadmill, as well as an outdoor sand track, dozens of large grass and sand paddocks, and several kilometres of manicured trails.

“From day one, Lynn and I were always making improvements to the farm, sometimes I just didn’t know about them in advance. I’d go away to a show and come back a few weeks later to find various parts of the property dug up,” recalls Ian. “One year, we came home to find she’d ordered five kilometres of decorative fencing and 1500 trees!”

The crown jewel of the property is undoubtedly the stunning six-acre Grand Prix field. Complete with open water, devil’s dyke, tabletop and bank, the ring is outfitted by an extensive jump collection that includes replicas of the most challenging obstacles found in international competition. These include the famed Bicycle jump and the CN Planks, commonly featured in the $1M CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. The farm also lays claim to a newly refinished 300’ x 110’ outdoor sand ring and a massive 260’ x 60’ heated indoor arena with private viewing gallery.

Today, the entire Millar clan calls Millar Brooke Farm home—Ian, Jonathon, and Amy all have houses on the extensive property. The flagship farm of their international training program, it remains, as always, an ever evolving work-in-progress.

Photography by ©Meghan Basco