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Canadian equestrian champion Ian Millar announces retirement

Ian Millar, from Perth, Ont., a Canadian Equestrian Team athlete in show jumping, speaks to reporters at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, June 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

PERTH, Ont. — Canadian equestrian Ian Millar has retired from international show jumping competition, ending an illustrious career that included multiple Pan American Games medals and an Olympic silver medal in 2008.

Millar made the announcement in a release Wednesday.

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Born in Halifax on Jan. 6, 1947, Millar joined the Canadian equestrian team in 1971.

He rose to fame in a partnership with Big Ben, as they became the first-ever horse and rider combination to win back-to-back World Cup finals in 1988 and 1989. A bronze statue of Millar riding Big Ben was erected in his hometown of Perth, Ont., in 2005.

He made his Olympic debut in Munich in 1972, and became the first athlete to compete at 10 Olympics at the 2012 London Games.

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Millar helped Canada win silver in the team event at the 2008 Beijing Games.

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Millar also captured 10 Pan American medals, including four gold. The latest was a gold medal in the team jumping event at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games at the age of 68.

“Representing Canada many times over my career has been my greatest honour,” Millar said in the release. “Each time I wore the red team jacket was very special to me, and the fact that I was able to share this experience with so many great riders is a testament to the quality of horsemen and horsewomen here in our country.”

In addition to his international career, Millar has won over 150 grand prix competitions and is a 12-time Canadian show jumping champion.

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