It's been a tragic weekend for Canadian Showjumping. We lost a champion yesterday in Verona Italy where the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup was taking place. I still feel like I'm in a dream and I'll wake up eventually to hear that Hickstead, the 16h, 15 year old Dutch Warmblood stallion ridden by Eric Lamaze has won yet another prize and not that he collapsed after finishing the 13th fence and died.
I had been dealing with a neck pain all weekend long, so bad I couldn't move hardly without cringing in pain and was seriously considering going to the Hospital, and really with the wait times you basically only want to go there if your dying. I woke up on Sunday happy that there was no neck pain but then checked Facebook as I normally do and saw messages that were just unbelievable.
I never got to see the little horse (ok not really a little horse at all) that everyone passed up but Eric, who saw something in his eyes and in the way he tried so hard. Born in 1996 in the Netherlands, he'd been looked at by many riders and all of them passed him over. Torrey Pines Stables and Ashland Stables took ownership of him and Eric was in the saddle training him and riding him to all his victories. The highlight of which was a team silver and individual gold at the 2008 Bejing Olympics amongst other's.
He gave his heart in everything he did and quickly became the number one horse in the world of Show Jumping and Canada's hero horse. He reminds me of another horse Canada lost in 1999, and that would be Big Ben ridden by Captain Canada himself Ian Millar.
I'm sitting here, even after seeing the tragic video-which I really shouldn't have watched- still in shock and disbelief that he's actually gone. It's just such a hard thing to really believe that he was just in Calgary at Spruce Meadows winning yet another CN International, and now he's never going to compete again. Eric talked about whether he would ride him again in 2012 in the London Olympics and all signs pointed to yes and now, we won't have our number one rider or horse there.
RIP Hickstead. You were one in a million and there will never be another like you. You were a Hero to all who knew and loved you. You will be forever missed.
I'm posting the video of it happening in another post, I can't watch it again, I'm ready to cry again at the though. Warning it does contain the death of an animal. It was shown live on tv from Verona Italy.