oronto, Ontario – Ten-time Olympian Ian Millar and 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Champion horse Hickstead were inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame. Presented by BMO Financial Group, the seventh annual Induction Ceremony and Gala was held this weekend in Toronto, ON.
More than 300 members of the show jumping community filled the Liberty Grand to full capacity to celebrate the inductions of Millar, who set a world record with 10 Olympic appearances in London, and Hickstead, the horse who captured a nation’s heart with his winning style.
Millar, 65, was inducted in the Individual Builder category. Fondly known as ‘Captain Canada’ to his legions of fans, Millar made his Olympic debut in 1972 and has been named to every Canadian Olympic Team since. Tom Gayford, teammate and chef d’equipe for many of Millar’s Canadian Show Jumping Team appearances, presented Millar with his Jump Canada Hall of Fame trophy.
After joking that he would retire after the Olympic Games come to his hometown of Perth, ON, Millar turned serious and said, “I love riding, I love the people in riding, but most of all, I love the horses. As some wise person once said, if you are lucky enough to find something that you love to do, you will never work a day in your life.”
Hickstead (1996 – 2011) was inducted in the Show Jumping Horse category. Partnered with Eric Lamaze, Hickstead emerged as one of the greatest show jumping horses of all time, winning Team Silver and Individual Bronze medals at the 2007 Pan American Games, historic Individual Gold and Team Silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and Individual Bronze and the title of ‘Best Horse’ at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
At the time of his death on November 6, 2011, Hickstead had earned over $3.7 million in prize money, and had claimed several major grand prix titles including Calgary (2007 and 2011), Geneva (2008), Aachen (2010), La Baule (2011), and Rome (2011). Hickstead’s last major victory came on September 11, 2011, in front of 89,632 show jumping fans when he won the $1 million CN International at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB, for the second time in his career.
Terrance Millar, chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team throughout Hickstead’s career, presented the Hall of Fame trophy to Lamaze, accepting on behalf of Hickstead’s owner, John Fleischhacker.
“I would be lying if I said it gets easier,” said an emotional Lamaze, one year after Hickstead’s death. “I am thankful to have had the honour of riding Hickstead; everything I ever asked him to do, he tried his best to answer. It got to a point where I knew he wouldn’t make a mistake; it was up to me to get it right. This induction is a wonderful recognition of his life and accomplishments. I thank Hickstead’s owners, the Fleischhacker family, who had complete faith and gave me their full support, as well as anyone who ever had anything to do with Hickstead’s career. We all share in this honour.”