Burnished Branch Comely Comrades Dutchmans Breeches Golden Reflections Magnolias Sir Wilfrid Laurier Climbing Roses Slippers of the Bruce Sunny Sill Touch-me-nots Woodland Wildflowers Triptych Yellow Lady's Slipper
Beside the Still Waters Come With Me Glade Creek Grist Mill - Winter Glade Creek Grist Mill - Autumn Meadowside Mirror Moon Gate Morning Moment No Room October Old Sheave Tower Oxford's Welcome Rambling River Song Sheep on the Hillside Springtime on the Sogne Fjord The Old Sentinel Waiting - Milk Can Woodside - Mackenzie King
Gros Morne Indian Harbour Island Solitude Magnets of Newfoundland Port Sydney Point Spirit Island Splashing Thru The Crags Ten Little Puffins Testimony
Oil painting of one of Canada's famous
Born on April 10th 1976 in Belgium, liver chestnut in colour with a white blaze on forehead and white hind socks, he was named Winston. His father, Etretat, was a tall, three-quarter thoroughbred race horse. His mother, Oekie, Belgian warmblood, was known as the “charming lady of the farm,” always agreeable to ride, and gentle.
Jumping came naturally to the towering gelding of 17.3 hands. At 2-1/2 years, he was observed leaping of his own accord over a 1.3 metre jump. With no previous training and no one else around, he cleared the rails three successive times, foreshadowing his upcoming stardom among show jumping horses.
Purchased in 1983 for $2000 by a Dutch trainer, he was then renamed Big Ben. Six weeks later, Ian Millar looked him over, liked his loose and easy trot, athletic build, and noted his sensitivity. Ian purchased the arrogant-looking horse for $45,000, and brought him to the rolling hills of Millar Brooke in Perth, Ontario.
The oil painting cannot reveal the ballet in motion that Ian and Ben provided for audiences the world over. Appearing almost as a single unit, they cleared jump after jump magnificently!
Big Ben preferred the company of children to adults, LOVED bran muffins, chose green apples over red, and when running hard, made a loud noise in his throat.
He maintained the undivided affection of his tiny groom, Sandi Patterson, who called him Bennie. Together the two looked like Mutt and Jeff. Much of Big Ben’s health and stamina was credited to Sandi’s self-sacrificing care. However, within one 10-month period in 1991 at age 15, he underwent two bouts of surgery for the most dreaded of all ailment for show jumping horses...colic. Shortly after in 1992, the mighty Ben bounced back from yet another harrowing experience, a highway accident.
Those who have watched Big Ben jump with effortless grace, remember the horse who……
I, too, will never forget the thrill of watching Big Ben and Ian Millar winning for Canada at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto!
May this oil painting bring Big Ben into your home...as folks around the globe knew him...in his glory days!
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Copyright © 2007 Eleanor Joy McDonald