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The Big Ben Project : For the Love of a Horse

Perth Ontario Canada, where Ian Millar makes his home, is making an effort to honour one of Canada’s most successful pairs in sport and arguably, the greatest team in Equestrian history.

Millar and his late mount Big Ben, the 17.3 hh Belgium Warmblood who died in December 1999 at the age of 23, won the hearts of fans the world over and made their mark in the Equestrian world. They appeared in the Olympics together three times and won two gold medals at the Pan Am Games The pair had 5 consecutive top eight world cup finishes, including back to back titles in 1988 and 1989, and they took home more than 40 Grand Prix victories. Millar and Ben won the Derby at Spruce meadows six times in eight years; they represented Canada in more than 30 Nations Cups and they won the world’s richest Grand Prix twice, the Du Maurier International. It is believed Big Ben was the first North American show jumper to win more than $1.5 million in prize money.

Perth’s Chamber of Commerce has launched a project to erect an arresting bronze statue of Millar and Big Ben in a picturesque park setting along the banks of the Tay River in beautiful downtown Perth. The life-size statue will depict Ian and Ben in full flight over a 5-and-a-half foot jump - a lasting tribute to the pair and the sport, not far from Millar’s home and Ben’s final resting place.

Perth is hoping horse enthusiasts across the country and around the world will support this effort to immortalize the team. There are three ways to contribute to the project, which will cost close to $200,000. The first is through a straight donation to the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce. Tax receipts will be provided for donations of $10 or more, and any contribution of $300 or more will be recognized by name, close to the statue.

Secondly, there are 500 stunning full-colour portraits of Big Ben, photographed by well known photographer Larry Ostrom. Ostrom headed the Art Gallery of Ontario’s photography department for 10 years, has dozens of gallery and corporate clients, taught at the university and college levels, and has been featured in numerous collections and publications. The Big Ben portraits are available for $500 each.

Finally, 10 breathtaking bronze castings, working models of the final masterpiece, are being created. The models measure 31 inches long and 28 inches high including the base. Sculptor John Matthews will keep one, leaving nine for sale at $30,000 each. Matthews studied at the Banff School of Art, Doon’s School of Arts in Ontario and Mount Allison University, getting his start in sculpture in New York. For 8 years he served as the assistant of renowned artist Henry Moore in England.

Big Ben Park memorabilia; Saddlepads, T-shirts, Ball caps, Big Ben books, and video’s (A Glance at Greatness) are all available through the web site at — Click on Big Ben.

For more information or to support the project, contact:
The Perth and District Chamber of Commerce by telephone at (613) 267-3200;
or by e-mail at
Att: Tony Hendriks, Big Ben Park Committee


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