Equine Canada has announced Ian Millar as the recipient of one of the federation’s most prestigious annual awards for 2012; the Doctor George Jacobsen Trophy for Equestrian of the Year.
The Equestrian of the Year Award is given annually to the equestrian who has demonstrated superior sportsmanship, dedication and the pursuit of excellence in equestrian competition for the current year. Ian Millar, otherwise known as Captain Canada, made his Olympic debut in 1972 and has been named to every Canadian Olympic team since.
The 2012 London Olympic Games were a record-setting event for Millar as he became the first Olympian in history to participate in a world-record 10 Olympic Games, finishing in ninth place in the overall standings as Canada’s top showjumping rider. In 2008, Millar was also a member of Canada’s silver medal winning team.
In addition to his Olympic glory, Millar was also the first rider to win back-to-back FEI World Cup Finals with his legendary mount Big Ben. He has also won nine medals, including two individual gold medals at nine Pan American Games, he has won the Canadian showjumping Championship title 10 times, and is the two-time winner of the CN International $1 Million Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters.’
Equine Canada writes that Millar is not only one of Canada’s most accomplished equestrians, but his vision and business acumen spans the entire sport as a top trainer, elite coach, mentor, leader, role model, breeder and builder, which has resulted in his success and domination of the sport of showjumping for more than 40 years.
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to an individual(s) whose contributions to the Canadian equestrian community are considered exceptional by their peers and whose long-term service and dedication have contributed directly to the ongoing growth and development of Canadian equine sport and industry.
This year this award went to Margaret and Ron Southern of Spruce Meadows. For Margaret and Ron Southern of Calgary, AB, the dream they named Spruce Meadows all started in 1971 with the purchase of some land that was originally a feed lot. Construction of their equestrian facility started in 1973 and the first tournaments, the National and the Masters, were held in 1976.
What started as a modest idea has grown in to the most celebrated showjumping venue in the world. Spruce Meadows has won numerous awards for being the best outdoor sporting venue, voted the number one showjumping venue in the world and twice named as the best tournament in North America. For their incredible success in raising the profile of equestrian sport, the Southerns have also been inducted into both the Canada Sports Hall of Fame (2006) and Jump Canada Hall of Fame (2008).
Spruce Meadows is celebrated as offering the best of international sho jumping each year to riders, horses, fans, spectators and sponsors. The vision and dedication of Marg and Ron Southern have made them leaders and advocates of all things equine. For this commitment they are celebrated as the winners of the Equine Canada Lifetime Achievement Award.
Congratulations to Ian, Marg and Ron for these wonderful acknowledgements.