Jonathon Millar has been a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team for 20 years. The firstborn child of Canada’s most decorated equestrian, Ian Millar, and his late wife Lynn, Jon grew up on the horse show circuit but he only began competing seriously himself at age 16.
Within a year, Jonathon shot to the top of the junior ranks, earning a spot in the FEI North American Junior and Young Riders (NAJYR) Finals. Aboard the Thoroughbred Simon Says, a horse he started riding just two months earlier, he helped secure the Team Gold for Canada and placed fourth in the Individual Finals, narrowly missing a podium finish. The following year in 1993, Jonathon took home the Team Silver at the NAJYR Finals with the Belgium Warmblood, … Emir.
At 19, Jonathon made his Canadian Equestrian Team debut. With Emir, he was one of four horse and rider combinations to represent Canada in the Nations Cup at the Washington International in DC. (He had the dubious distinction of wrecking the team car en route to the 5:00am morning school.)
Over the next three years Jonathon and Emir went on to record a slew of top-three Grand Prix finishes. Their consistent results earned him a berth on the Canadian Developing Riders Team in 1997. Travelling to Europe with the Team, Jonathon remained abroad, taking a riding position with renowned horseman Emile Hendrix, of Stal Hendrix, in the Netherlands.
It was at Stal Hendrix that Jonathon started the Millar Brooke-bred gelding Aftershock and the Dutch Warmblood stallion Fine Line—the two horses that would thrust him into the international spotlight.
In 2000, he returned to Canada to contest the Olympic Selection Trials, this time accepting a position with US team stalwart Laura Kraut in Middleburg, Virginia. Jonathon was named second alternate to the Canadian Olympic Team. He and Fine Line moved up to first alternate prior to the Games in Sydney.
That same year, Jonathon rode for Canada on two Nations Cup teams. Together with his father Ian, sister Amy, and Canadian team veteran Jill Henselwood, he and Fine Line contested the prestigious Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary. It was the first time three members of the same family have competed on the same team. One month later, he donned the red coat for Canada again at the Washington International in DC with Aftershock.
In 2001, Jonathon recorded his first Grand Prix victory. In the final week of Florida’s HITS Ocala winter circuit, Jonathon claimed Friday’s $15,000 Grand Prix with Aftershock. Two days later, he and Fine Line won the $100,000 Grand Prix in a nail-biting, three-way jump off against his father and sister. Ian would later place second and Amy, in third. In 2007, Jonathon made sports history again when he finished second to his legendary father, by mere fractions of a second, in the Canadian Championship with the grey mare Fancy Hill. It was one of 15, top-five finishes he recorded with the lightning fast mare.
Jonathon was a winner’s circle regular with Fancy Hill, but it was the gentle giant Contino 14 that made him a Canadian team staple. The well-matched pair made Nations Cup appearances at the 2009 Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain, the 2010 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary, Alberta, and the 2011 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Canada recorded top three finishes in each.
Contino 14 and Jonathon also represented Canada at the 2010 World Show Jumping Championships. The Team’s clutch fifth-place finish was the nation’s best result in nearly 25 years and secured Canada’s berth for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. By 2011, Jonathon was the third ranked rider in Canada, eclipsing his famous father for the first time on the Short List for the national show jumping team.
Today, Jonathon continues to be a force in the Grand Prix ring with his international mount, Calvin Klein. Alongside his father, Jonathon and Calvin Klein were part of the first-place Nations Cup effort in Mexico that qualified Canada for the 2014 Furusiyya Nations CupTM Finals. As of mid-August, the pair had recorded 13 top 10 placings in 2014, including a third-place finish in the $100,000 Synoil Energy Services Cup at Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Ontario.
Over the past two years, Jonathon has continued to develop his partnership with Calvin Klein and with the 2006 KWPN gelding Bonzay, owned by Isotropic Networks Inc. Jonathon piloted Bonzay to third place in a class that quickly became a family affair, the first round of the $100,000 Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship at the Royal Horse Show. Jonathon and Bonzay finished behind his sister Amy in second, and his father Ian in first.
Jonathon Millar lives with his wife, Kelly Soleau-Millar, and their three dogs on Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, where he works alongside with father and sister.