Team Millar Firmly Takes the Lead in the Battle of the “Royal Families”

“Captain Canada” Ian Millar opens the International week with a win this afternoon and Pablo Barrios speeds to victory this evening leaving Millar to settle for second.

Toronto, Ontario – The 88th year of International show jumping at the Royal Horse Show began this afternoon – and “Team Millar”, arguably Canada’s ‘first family’ of show jumping – put their mark on it firmly.

Patriarch of the Millar family, nine-time Olympian Ian, won the $20,000 International Power and Speed competition this afternoon with Brookstreet Stables’ owned Victoria, while daughter Amy finished in third with Irish Oaks & Millar’s Piccobello du Val de Geer. Former World Champion Dermott Lennon of Ireland slotted between them in second. Ian Millar then went on to finish second to Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios in this evening’s $31,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome.

The OTHER ‘first family’ of The Royal this year, Great Britain’s John, Robert and Michael Whitaker; got off to a rather disappointing start, finishing 11th, 19th and last respectively this afternoon. Things improved slightly for them in this evening’s Jolera International Welcome, however, with top-ten finishes for both John and his son Robert.

“I’ve had a very pleasant day, thank you very much!” laughed Millar at the conclusion of the evening’s competition. “But I have the highest regard for the Whitaker family – John and I have always been great friends and I am a great admirer of their horsemanship. It’s just fantastic to have the two families here competing together this week.”  

Competing for the first time at The Royal Horse Show, Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios had a little luck on his side this evening, which helped keep the jumps up, to win the Jolera International Welcome with G & C Sinatra, owned by the G & C Farm of Wellington, Florida. Sinatra hit the back rail of the 1.7 metre-wide obstacle hard enough to bounce the rail out of the cups supporting it, but as easily as it popped up, it popped back down.

“I was a little lucky that’s for sure,” attested Barrios. “The plan was to get close to such a wide jump, in order to make a nice sharp turn following it. But apparently he didn’t ‘read’ the jump as well, or perhaps I got a little closer than I thought.” he said modestly. The pair finished the course in a speedy time of 66.92 seconds.

Tonight’s horse show also featured the first instalment of the $15,000 Dressage Quadrille competition, where four teams of four horse and riders performed intricate and dramatic themed routines to music. The second round of the Quadrilles will take place tomorrow evening, immediately prior to the $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix for International jumpers.

The International riders will compete seven times between Wednesday afternoon and Saturday evening, November 13th, in matinee and evening competitions including the $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open, the $15,000 Canine-Equine Challenge and the sold-out $75,000 Ricoh Big Ben Challenge. Many of the matinee performances are free with general admission to the Fair. Thursday’s evening performance offers an exciting double-bill featuring International show jumping as well as the $20,000 CDI 3*** FEI Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle to Music competition, where Ashley Holzer will appear to defend her 2009 title. Holzer returns to The Royal following an eighth-place finish at the recent World Dressage Championships. The complete timetable is available at

About the Royal Horse Show and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair ~ A tradition since 1922, the Royal Horse Show brings top horses and riders from Canada the U.S. and abroad, including Olympic and World champions, to Toronto each November to compete for more than $750,000 in prize money and Championships. Over 1,000 horses of all shapes and sizes participate in show jumping, dressage, indoor eventing, driving, coaching and so much more, over the ten-days of hotly contested competition. Special features such as the Spirit of the Horse Ring, EquiMania!, the Farmer’s Market, Trade-Fair Shopping, educational and agricultural events & competition round out this family tradition. Since its debut, the Royal has been a highlight of the Toronto fall social calendar, visited by Royalty, politicians, farmers and horse-enthusiasts for generations. For more information, The Royal Online’s live webcasting, complete schedule, results and to purchase tickets, please visit

$31,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Score
Pablo Barrios / Venezuela / G & C Sinatra / 0.00:66.92
Ian Millar / Perth, Ontario / Star Power / 0.00:68.01
Harrie Smolders / NED / Regina Z / 0.00:69.69
Margie Engle / West Palm Beach, FL / Hidden Creek’s Campella / 0.00:70.28
Brianne Goutal / New York, NY / Ballade Van Het Indihoff / 0.00:74.62

Photo: Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios won tonight’s $31,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome with G & C Farm’s G & C Sinatra. Photo © Michelle C. Dunn