Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, riding Dixson, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, topped an eight-horse jump-off to win the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware, on Sunday, May 21, at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Caledon, ON. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
Ian Millar, pictured on Vittorio 8, is presented as the winner of the $50,000 CSI2* Jumping Classic by Kelley Nicholls of Horseware and his daughter, Jillian, on Sunday, May 21, during the CSI2* Caledon Open tournament in Caledon, ON. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
Irelandâ€™s Conor Swail guided Flower to victory for new owner Vanessa Mannix in the $35,000 Open Welcome held Friday, May 19, during the CSI2* Caledon National tournament in Caledon, ON. The pair also finished second in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
Caledon, Ontario â€“ Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, opened the Canadian international show jumping season with a win in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware, on Sunday, May 21, during the CSI2* Caledon National in Caledon, ON.
The clear rounds just kept coming for Millar and Dixson throughout the five-day CSI2* Caledon National tournament. Having jumped double-clear in Fridayâ€™s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome for a fifth-place finish, the pair turned up the heat in Sundayâ€™s Jumper Classic. With the advantage of being the final challenger in an eight-horse jump-off, Millar knew exactly what he had to do to catch the leading time of 34.82 seconds set by Irelandâ€™s Conor Swail and Flower, a new acquisition owned in partnership with Canadaâ€™s Vanessa Mannix. With decades of experience under his belt, Millar sliced and diced his way around the jump-off track, meeting every distance with trademark precision. As he cleared the final obstacle and galloped through the timers, the new winning time of 34.09 seconds flashed on the scoreboard.
â€œConor pushed me really hard, he was fast, but Dixson was right on his game!â€ said Millar, 70, of the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo dâ€™Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON. â€œThere was a turn to the pair of verticals where we happened to catch the correct distance and shaved the time off. I know Dixson well, and he knows me, too. He knows what Iâ€™m about to do it almost before I know Iâ€™m going to do it. Weâ€™re like a married couple.â€
Millar and Dixson celebrated their victory in the same arena where they had helped Canada claim the Team Gold medal two years earlier during the 2015 Pan American Games. As the host of equestrian events, the Caledon Equestrian Park now serves as an important legacy to horse sport.
â€œDixson is starting his Canadian season here at the Caledon Equestrian Park,â€ said Millar, who spent the winter competing at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. â€œHeâ€™ll enjoy a rest next week, and then weâ€™re off to Langley, BC, where heâ€™s on the Nationsâ€™ Cup team for Canada. Then itâ€™s over the mountains to Spruce Meadows for the summer series.â€
Millar had two shots at victory in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, as he also qualified Vittorio 8 for the tie-breaker by jumping clear over the first-round track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. Millar has been riding Vittorio 8 for owner Future Adventures for the past year, and the pair was double clear in a time of 36.25 seconds to finish in fifth position.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to seeing what the Spruce Meadows tour will do for him,â€ said Millar of the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Valentino DDH x Ramiroâ€™s Bube). â€œHe has the technique, power, heâ€™s careful, modern. He would be a Games horse. Heâ€™s just nine now and if he takes the next step over the next year, he is there.â€
While Millar dominated Sundayâ€™s proceedings followed closely by Swail, another Irishman settled for third. Daniel Coyle, who is 22 of age, guided Cita, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro) to a third place finish for owners Susan and Ariel Grange, giving the mother-and-daughter team both the win as well as a third place finish. Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, took fourth place following a clear jump-off performance in a time of 35.24 seconds riding Carimba B, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare (Contendro I x For Pleasure) owned by her familyâ€™s Looking Back Farm.
While Swail may have settled for second in Sundayâ€™s $50,000 Jumper Classic, it was he who stood alone in the winnerâ€™s circle following Fridayâ€™s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome. The times were close but, in the end, Swailâ€™s time of 39.49 seconds gave him the edge over Coyle, who had stopped the clock in 39.62 riding Cita.
Canadians filled the next three spots in the placings with Keean White of Rockwood, ON, turning in a time of 41.10 to take third with Carrera v/h Westleven Z, Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON, placing fourth with a time of 41.47 riding Count Me In, and Millar and Dixson rounding out the top five with a time of 42.30 seconds.
FEI-sanctioned show jumping competition continues with the CSI2* Classic at Palgrave Phase II from May 23 to 28 at the Caledon Equestrian Park. The tournament marks the second of five weeks of FEI competition offered at the Caledon Equestrian Park this year by competition organizer Equestrian Management Group.
For more information on the CSI2* Caledon National, including full results, as well as a full competition schedule, please visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.
$35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome â€“ Friday, May 19
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Conor Swail Ireland Flower 0:0 39.49
2. Daniel Coyle Ireland Cita 0:0 39.62
3. Keean White Rockwood, ON Carrera v/h Westleven Z 0:0 41.10
4. Beth Underhill Schomberg, ON Count Me In 0:0 41.47
5. Ian Millar Perth, ON Dixson 0:0 42.30
6. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Bonzay 0:0 43.12
7. Kelley Robinson Russell, ON Blueâ€™s Yer Daddy 0:0 45.18
8. Susan Horn Bolton, ON Balintore 0:0 46.24
9. Ian Millar Perth, ON Vittorio 8 0:0 46.95
10. Vanessa Mannix Calgary, AB Catinka 25 0:4 43.65
11. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Aanwinst 0:4 44.42
12. Veronica Bot Burlington, ON Cool Down 3 0:4 44.44
$50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware â€“ Sunday, May 21
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Ian Millar Perth, ON Dixson 0:0 34.09
2. Conor Swail Ireland Flower 0:0 34.82
3. Daniel Coyle Ireland Cita 0:0 35.05
4. Erynn Ballard Tottenham, ON Carimba B 0:0 35.24
5. Ian Millar Perth, ON Vittorio 8 0:0 36.25
6. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Aldine 0:0 38.50
7. Vanessa Mannix Calgary, AB Catinka 25 0:0 40.37
8. Keean White Rockwood, ON Z Diamanty 0:4 39.89
9. Keean White Rockwood, ON Carrera v/h Westleven Z 1
10. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Aanwinst 4
11. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Calvin Klein 4
12. Elissa Reisman Toronto, ON Citizenguard Cadjanine Z 4