Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remembering Hickstead (1996 - 2011)

Eric Lamaze & Hickstead. Photo courtesy of EQUESTRIO Magazine.

It was truly sad to learn that "Hickstead", the top show jumper, passed away on 6 November 2011 while competing at the World Cup qualifier in Verona, Italy. The 15-year old stallion died after finished the jumping round with Eric Lamaze, the Canadian rider. The death was caused by a rupture of the main artery supplying his heart. 

(Eric Lamaze's Statement via Lulu Kyriacou Media and Photography)
Eric Lamaze and his team concluded in their press conference in Totonto on 9 November Hickstead had died from a ruptured aorta. In a voice shaking with emotion and often clearly close to tears Eric also said, " There have been a lot of great horses but I think all riders now will conceed Hickstead was the best. When he went down,he made sure I was clear before he went right over, and he did that for me. As for the last round, the last jump was normal, in fact great, he had a fault in the combination but he always takes one or two shows to get used to being indoors again and this was his first one this season, so I had no reason to suspect. I will ride at the Royal because it is the best way to remember Hickstead. I was honoured by my reception at the show last night. 

I hope that other riders get to experience what I experienced riding such a horse. All my friends in Europe they gave me such support, especially in Verona at the time, and I have had emails and messages from all over the world. As for my best memory, there were moments when he was unbeatable, i knew he would win like Calgary and Aachen this year and the Olympics. He made my career. It will take a year or two to rebuild but I will do that, I am not ready to go yet. Its a big set back but you only have two choices, give up or carry on. Its not how many wins but the manner of them and what they meant, no Canadian has won Grand Prix in La Baule or Rome or Aachen for example."

It also transpired that there are about 100 Hickstead foals but no frozen semen, he was not the easiest to take semen from and was going to concentrate on breeding after he was eventually retired. Hickstead was cremated as his body could not be transported back to Canada under current regulations.

(Photo Credit: Lulu Kyriacou)

Hickstead and his partner Eric Lamaze won the individual gold and team silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.  In 2010, Hickstead was named Best Horse after jumping 4 clear rounds at the show jumping finals with Eric Lamaze (Canada), Philippe Le Jeune (Belgium), Rodrigo Pessoa (Brazil) and Abdullah Al Sharbatly (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in the 2010 World Equestrian Games. 

Hickstead, you are a great horse and you will be be missed. 

Rest in peace.


Watch Hickstead's Tribute at the Royal Winter Fair

The Past Successes


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