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Jump Canada (which I think is a funny name--even Evel Knievel couldn't do that) has named the five members of Canada's Olympic showjumping team. One of them is Jill Henselwood. Jill and I rode together at Silver Spring Farm several lifetimes ago when we were both in high school (she was Jill McAngus then). She started much younger and had far more talent than I did. She always had her sights set on international competition, and she's made a successful career out of it.

Jill's first pony was a cute little chestnut named Lozein. They did very well on the hunter circuit in the Ottawa area. When she got too old for pony classes, she bought her first thoroughbred, Beleek, a liver chestnut with a very short stride. She spent ages trying to get Beleek to lengthen her stride, but I don't know if she ever succeeded. Eventually, she moved on to a more prestigious stable (Silver Spring was kind of bottom of the heap, prestige-wise, so she had nowhere to go but up), married a Name in the riding community, and worked her way up.

Also on the team is Ian Miller, a long-time fixture in showjumping competition. Ian has represented Canada internationally more times than any other athlete in any sport. This trip to the Olympics will tie the record for highest number of Games attended by an athlete. Ian's best known mount was Big Ben, a giraffe of a horse (Ian is 6'2"--he needs big horses) who won many titles and had a Canada Post stamp issued in his honour. He was nominated to carry the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies, but that honour went to kayaker Adam van Koeverden.

Go Ian and Jill!

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February 2013

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