Brazil wins gold and Canada silver at Pan American Games showjumping

Brazil wins gold and Canada silver at Pan American Games showjumping

Although they stood first following yesterday's opening round of competition, Canada's Pan American show jumping team has reason to celebrate after settling for the silver medal overnight. That is especially true for Ian Millar, of Perth, Ontario.

“We did what we came here to do,” he said. “It's always nice to win, but our mission here was to qualify for next year's Olympics.” They did so easily, with room to spare.

The team final consisted of two rounds, in which Brazil made a predictable advance to earn the gold medal. Canada's Jill Henselwood, of Oxford Mills, Ontario, on Special Ed; Millar on In Style; Eric Lamaze, of Schomberg, Ontario, on Hickstead; and Mac Cone, of King City, Ontario, riding Melinda, had sporadic knockdowns throughout the day. But Millar, Henselwood and Lamaze each jumped one clean round and one with one knockdown. Even a second clean round from last-to-ride Millar could not have pushed them ahead of the Brazilians.

Among the strongest show jumping nations in the world, the US struggled, but made an impressive recovery. They lost one rider to a fall at the water jump and, despite contesting the second round with only three riders, they claimed the bronze. They still lagged more than three knockdowns behind Canada. Mexico** dropped to fourth, but also qualified a team for the Olympics.

For Ian Millar, this team silver medal marks his ninth Pan American Games medal and his fourth team silver. Going into Sunday's individual final, he stands third, close behind Henselwood in second. International newcomer Pedro Veniss, of Brazil, leads.

Millar and his team-mates have accomplished their mission in Rio de Janeiro, which was of particular importance to Millar. At 60, Millar is now on a mission to earn a berth on the team Canada will send to the 2008 Olympics. Should he do so, he will equal Austrian yachtsman Herbert Raudaschl's world record of 9 Olympic starts.

Millar currently has two potential Olympic mounts for next year. His Pan American mount, the 12-year-old Dutch-bred gelding, In Style, is his most experienced. However, the 9-year-old, elegant grey gelding Redefin is a rising star. Both are owned by former rider and avid sport horse breeder Sue Grange, of Cheltenham, Ontario.

Categories: News, Show Jumping