It was a day I’m sure many an equestrian will remember, the day the little stallion that had captured Canadian hearts (not unlike Big Ben did many years before) passed away. Hickstead, the horse who had carried Eric Lamaze to great heights and great victories suffered a fatal aortic rupture while on course at the FEI Rolex World Cup in Verona, Italy.
The equestrian nation, the world over, mourned his tragic loss.
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of his death, and the second annual running of the Hickstead FEI world cup held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
While we here at The Eloquent Equine are not able to attend tonight’s events at the Royal, we thought we’d honour Hickstead in our own way by sharing some of his history and legacy.
Hickstead was a Dutch Warmblood stallion, born in Belgium in 1996, who won over $4 million (CAD) during his competition years. He was known for his especially fiery disposition and short stature for a show jumper, he stood only 16 hands high. Though his size never stopped him, he was a big horse in a little body, and everybody knew it.
He was a horse with presence.
Hickstead carried Lamaze to victory multiple times in 2007 when he won not only the much coveted $1 million CN International at
the Spruce Meadows Masters, but also one individual bronze and team silver at the Pan Am games in Rio de Janeiro. In Beijing the following year (2008) Hickstead carried Lamaze back in to the medals with an individual gold and team silver at the summer Olympics.
In 2011 the pair won the coveted CN International for a second time, and that same year placed second in Germany at the FEI World Cup Jumping Finals.
These are but a few of the multiple victories Hickstead and Lamaze achieved during their years in the competition ring. Hickstead and Lamaze set the bar high for their competitors, placing in the top in pretty much every competition they competed in, no matter where they were.
Hickstead carried his rider to the top of the sport, performing to his fullest capacity every time he entered the competition ring, even up to the moment of his death.
Like the champion horses that came before him, Hickstead will enter the annals of history as the little horse that carried a Canadian rider, and the nation itself, to numerous victories nationally and internationally.
He was, and still is, a testament to the power of the partnership that forms between horse and rider. These are the horses that are with us through the highs and lows, and carry us to the greatest pillars of our hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
He will be sorely missed, but surely never forgotten.
We salute that little horse and all he accomplished, as well as all the other horses (famous or not) who carried their riders to victory and inspired equestrians to never give up and never give in.
Here’s to Hickstead.