Captain Canada wins big at 2015 Caledon National CSI2*
Release by Caledon Equestrian Park
May 25, 2015 Palgrave, ON ~ Ian Millar won his first Grand Prix of the 2015 Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park season and Ireland’s Conor Swail added to his impressive start with another win last week at the 2015 Caledon National CSI2*.
After finishing second to Swail in the Grand Prix a week earlier during the first phase of the Classic at Palgrave CSI2*, Captain Canada bested the field on Saturday to take home the $75,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix CSI2* riding Susan & Ariel Grange’s 11-year-old Belgian-bred Warmblood gelding, Dixson.
“Dixson is an extremely fast horse and I knew exactly what I had to do. I was last to go and we got he job done. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the horse jumped,” said Millar.
“He (Dixson) will be my Pan American Games horse and for him to be very comfortable in the environment and footing and all the circumstances involved bodes very well for the Pan Am Games,” added Millar.
In an interesting twist of fate, Dixson is related to Canadian equine legend Big Ben, with whom Millar competed successfully for many years and won Team and Individual Gold medals at the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis.
Big Ben was Dixson’s uncle on his mother’s side and Millar says he sees similarities between the two horses.
“(The similarities) are mainly related to character, heart and mind and an independent nature. Big Ben was an extremely independent animal, as is Dixson – not easily won over or led,” said Millar. “You have to convince them to buy into the whole thing; you sure don’t just order them. They’ll tell you no if you don’t ask them right and it’s not easy to turn a no into a yes.”
Millar also finished third in the class riding Baranus, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by the Baranus Group, with Caledon’s own Erynn Ballard taking home second place on Angelstone Partners’ 10-Year-old Chestnut gelding Appy Cara.
“Erynn (Ballard) was first to go in the jump off and she set an extremely fast pace, which I tried to beat on my first ride with Baranus but didn’t get her. I left the jumps up, it was a clean round, but she made it tough,” said Millar.
After claiming top prize in both the RAM Equestrian Grand Prix and Alberta Premium Open Welcome in week one, Swail kept things rolling last week with another big win on Thursday in the $35,000 Caledon National Open Welcome CSI2* riding Viva Colombia, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Ilan Ferder.
Susan Grange’s Caledon-based Lothlorien Farm continued its impressive start to the 2015 schedule after Grange-owned horses swept the field last week in all three big-money classes to start the season.
In addition to Millar and Dixson’s Grand Prix win on Saturday, Darrin Dlin and Carlotta Singular won their second big class in as many weeks, taking home the $15,000 Omega Alpha Modified Grand Prix on Sunday.