In the sport of show jumping there is one horse that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the competitors -literally. At 17.3 hands, BIG BEN is the largest successful Grand Prix horse in the World.
BIG BEN and his partner Ian Millar, would have an unprecedented career together. Ben's unique combination of size, charisma and athletic ability incited both rider and spectator. Their historic partnership began in the fall of 1983 when Ian discovered BIG BEN in the Belgian countryside just outside Brussels. BEN was already seven years old and his size and disposition seemed to have kept any interested buyers at bay. But from Ian's first ride on the 1450 pound giant, he knew he liked the way BIG BEN moved, his technique, his instinct to jump and his power. Ian purchased Ben for $45,000.
Jumping was never BIG BEN's problem. Allowing his rider to participate was. Training him was a difficult task, since Ben was not only Big, he was stubborn. He did however, have a number of natural abilities…he loved to jump. Once he learned something, as tough as that lesson may have been, he never forgot it.
After 11 distinguished seasons on the international circuit, BIG BEN retired from competition. His phenomenal career includes winning more than 40 grand prix, Anchoring 30 national cup teams and participating in 3 Olympic Games. Big Ben is the only horse to win the Du Maurier International twice, and he is one of only three horses to win back to back World cups. His total winnings exceed 1.5 million dollars, and he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. There, he joined the ranks of the legendary Northern Dancer as one of only two non-humans to be inducted as members.
At 6am Dec 11-1999 Big Ben succumbed to Colic-The Equestrian world and horse lovers worldwide mourned his passing, and BIG BEN's standing would now ascend to true Legendary status.