First named "Winston", Big Ben was born at the van Hooydonk Farm in Kalmthout, northern Belgium. Although his dam was only 15 hh, Big Ben grew to be a very large gelding of 17.3 hands high. Big Ben was purchased for the Canadian equestrian Ian Millar for $45,000 and relocated to the Millar Brooke Farm in Perth.
Several sizable offers were made to acquire Big Ben throughout his career, but all offers were refused out of the "love for a horse".
Perth, Ontario, where Ian Millar calls home, is proud to honour one of Canada's most successful horse-rider partnerships in Canadian sports history, the greatest equestrian team of Ian Millar & Big Ben. Big Ben, who won the hearts of a nation and made his mark in the equestrian world, died in December 1999 at age 23.
As a tribute to Ian Millar, a statue of BIG BEN with Ian a top has been erected in Stewart Park. It is a bronze statue of Millar and Big Ben along the banks of the Tay River in beautiful downtown Perth (not far from Millar's home and Ben's final resting place). The statue depicts Ian and Ben in full flight over a 5 1/2 foot jump.
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