Amy Millar and Truman have become one of the most consistent partnerships in Canadian showjumping. With podium finishes in 5* grand prix and Nations Cup competitions, the pair have been on a roll in 2022, with top finishes at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, and most recently helping earn the Canadian team a third-place finish in the CSIO5* Nations Cup in La Baule, France.

Bred in France and shown as a young horse by Maelle Martin, Truman was purchased by Eric Lamaze as a six-year-old and was initially ridden by Tiffany Foster and Yann Candele. When he was seven, Truman changed hands to current owners Patrick O’Brien, Patty Overlund and Millar Brooke Farm.

Next up on their agenda is the Nations’ Cup of Rome CSIO5* at the beautiful Villa Borghese Gardens from May 25-29, 2022. Beyond that? There’s a pretty good chance they’ll be selected to rock the maple leaf at the World Jumping Championships in Herning, Denmark, August 6-14.

We go behind the scenes with Truman courtesy of Amy and Danny Ingratta, Truman’s groom.

Amy, Truman and Danny.

Age: 13
Breeding: Selle Francais gelding (Mylord Carthagohn x Kolibri)
Breeder: Aurore Merel
Favourite treats: Bananas and carrots
Celebrity doppelganger: Eeyore (“He’s so level-headed he doesn’t get excited about much”)
Theme Song: Baby Shark
Barn Name: “His original name was Virtuose Briel and we called him Vee in the barn. We still refer to him as Vee, or as Amy’s son Alex prefers, Boy Vee. Vee is great at pony rides and enjoys giving them.” ~ Danny

How did you come to learn about Truman as a potential mount?

Amy: I was in Europe for the 2016 Olympics and the horse was at Eric’s barn. I started riding him while I was there, as I needed a new prospect. He was always very scopey and careful, but he needed to learn to carry his own balance and to improve his canter skills. I knew if we could teach him that he would be an amazing horse. Eric said he knew the horse would jump the biggest classes in the world.

Were you able to try him in person and what were your first impressions of him under saddle?

Amy: I watched many videos of him and I was also able to try him many times while I was in Europe. I loved the power in his jump; that’s why I bought him.

As you developed your partnership, did you find that your styles meshed immediately, or did you have to tweak your riding style to suit him?

Amy: Our personalities mesh; he is very calm and predictable and I am excitable so we balance each other out! I had to become a better rider and horse trainer at the beginning to teach him all his lessons. Now anyone could ride him, he’s lovely. Truman learned by doing – we did many things wrong along the way, but also won classes. Every time he made a mistake Ian and I would take the time to teach him how to do it correctly. Once he learns something, he does it all the time, so it was just a matter of teaching him all the skills necessary for the job.

Is he difficult or finicky under saddle? On the ground is he a perfect gentleman or fire-breathing monster?

Amy: He’s not difficult, just funny. He loves to go in the show ring. When we are at the show he sometimes runs towards the ingate, trying to go in the ring, it makes me laugh. I have never had a horse that does that. I think he’s a perfect gentleman, but I think Dan should answer this one!

Danny: Vee is a land shark. He very much tells you want he likes and dislikes. He really doesn’t appreciate when he gets blankets on or off. He makes very angry faces and tried to shark, but he very rarely connects. If you aren’t paying enough attention to him, he will give you a little nip to remind you that he’s there. It’s very cute. He 100 per cent knows when it’s an important class and he knows when he’s done a good job or not.

So he seems to have a sense of knowing when to perform and when it really counts?

Amy: He knows when it’s important and tries extra hard. This is something Dan, Ian and I taught him. When we first got him, he didn’t have much personality. We taught him to be proud when he does well and to try hard. He wants to be a good boy and loves to make his team proud and happy.

What are some of your proudest moments as a partnership?

Amy: Winning the Nations Cup in Spruce Meadows at the Masters; coming third in the Grand Prix in Wellington this winter, mostly because we were fast in the jump-off. And being third in the Nations Cup in La Baule, when the clear in the second round was what the team needed and I’m glad we got it done.

Danny: When he was second in 2019 in a three-star grand prix under the lights in Wellington. That’s when everything started to click.