Equestrian Canada has announced that Ian Miller will be taking over as technical advisor for Canada’s national show jumping team. He replaces Eric Lamaze, who held the role last.
Millar of Perth, Ontario, is the 12-time Canadian national champion, won two World Cup Finals with the venerable Big Ben, and has competed in 10 Olympic Games, more than any athlete in history.
“Everyone at EC and the Canadian team are feeling proud that Ian has chosen to share his knowledge, passion and experience in a mentorship and development role that will support the team now and into the future,” said EC’s CEO Meg Krueger. “I think not only the athletes but everyone will benefit from his guidance and infinite interest in making the sport better. And we know he likes to win, too!”
“It has been my great honor to ride for Canada for the better part of 50 years,” Millar said. “This is my opportunity to give back, and it is with further honor that I do so.”
A self-professed lifelong learner, he shared how the role is both a culmination of what he brings and the groundwork that has been laid before him.
“In my time representing Canada, I have known and learned from over a dozen chefs d’equipe,” he said. “Each of them have been great leaders in their own right, and I will take that team spirit with me as I embark on this new role.”
“Over his career, Ian has developed a program that consistently produces top results in major competitions using proven principles,” said James Hood, EC’s director of high performance. “We are grateful to have him guiding our team to be the best they can be. And we are looking forward to having him bring his leadership skills to the TA position.”
“I am very excited for the challenge,” Millar said. “I know we have some great riders and some great horses, and I am very optimistic that we are going to build a top team for [the 2023 Pan American Games (Chile)]. These games are going to be challenging, but they are our big chance to qualify for the [2024 Olympic Games (France)]. This is a must-do and a can-do thing. Then we’ll build a team for Paris.”
Millar has plenty of Pan American Games experience to share. He has represented Canada at 10 of the continental sporting events spanning five decades, where he has won 10 medals, including four gold, four silver and two bronze. In his last appearance as a rider at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, he took home team gold alongside teammates Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster and Eric Lamaze.
“I’ve won a lot of grands prix and individual titles, but nothing is better than winning a Nations Cup alongside three other Canadians,” he said. “I’ve never had any prouder moments than anchoring a Canadian team. Representing our country, that has motivated me from the beginning.”
Beyond the work of building national teams to send to international competitions, EC has additional aspirations for Millar in the role of TA.
“Ian has a long-standing interest in NextGen athlete development and is central to several programs already,” said Hood. “With him in this role, we will be able to work on plans for up-and-coming riders and capitalize on Ian’s holistic view of the equestrian sport system to grow it overall. That’s important to the future of our sport.”
“The role of chef is not just the top tier, it also involves younger riders,” agreed Millar. “I plan to be involved in the sport and work with Dayton Gorsline, the Jumping Youth Development Program Advisor, and with young riders. I want to know where the riders of tomorrow are and want to watch them develop, and if I can assist in anyway, I am available.”
With the Pan American Games only eight months away, Millar will be getting to work with the team immediately. Team Canada is happy to have the captain on board and ready to work alongside him.