Hickstead: Canada’s Hero

Hickstead:  Canada’s Hero

I haven’t been able to write about it.  I was so lost without him, with knowing that he’d departed this world.  You’ve all probably heard that Hickstead, the horse that brought Gold to Canada in the last Olympics, two days ago, at the age of nearly sixteen, dropped dead after a flawless jumping event in Verona, Italy, a major competition.  If you haven’t heard of Hickstead, whose prime rider was Eric Lamaze, I don’t know where to begin…both in how to describe the intelligence and heart of this horse and in how to describe the intrinsic–let me say that again–the intrinsic value of this glorious creature.  There is a post somewhere on my blog about an interview with Hickstead’s owner who said:  “he was a stumblebum at first…and then, he seemed to get it.  He really got it…so I said to Eric, ‘don’t do anything.  He knows what to do.  Leave it to Hicks, sit back and just enjoy the ride.'”  And truly, after watching many shows in which Hicks excelled, I must say that that is exactly how it looked to me:  Hickstead seemed to analyse each jump, and decide how he was going to take it…and he did…he just did.  Every single time.  In an interview after his death, someone commented:  “Hickstead was not only the top event horse of Canada…he was considered the top event horse ever in history…ever.”  Bless you beautiful boy, we love you and wish you godspeed to the heavens…where you belong.  You made the world a better place and the world is a better place because of you.  Go to:  A Big Ask Answered  on my blog or google Hickstead.  Enlarge your appreciation and love of our horses by learning about Hickstead, “Canada’s Hero”.  Oh, Eric, I do feel for your loss.  Please share it with all of us who were amazed and breathless at the magnificence of a horse whose qualities transcended your riding skills and our expectations.  Rest well, Hicks.

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Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”.  I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet.  When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public.  Now don’t get me wrong:  I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far.  But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me).  (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.)   So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol.  I am most beholden to you.’  And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition.  Now, I ask you:  does lightning strike twice?  

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Easy-peasey Way to Reach Your MP

As an adjunct to the CHDC petition in support of Bill C-322, I’ve had bilingual postcards printed up which constituents can send to their respective MP’s to let them know that support for this Bill is out there.  Download the two sides of this postcard and send a postcard to your own MP (federal); then make more to give to your friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and family.  MP’s pay attention to their own constituents in their own ridings, so the more of these postcards that are sent, the more our MP’s in all ridings across Canada will understand how much support for Bill C-322 (which opposes horse slaughter) is out there.

I can also send you ready-made postcards (between 10 and 25 for now).  Just send me your postal address.  There’s no charge (I’ll pay shipping too if you live in Canada).  If I see that demand is more than expected, I’ll have more printed.  Americans and international horse advocates are also invited to send these postcards.  We need all the help we can get in getting Bill C-322 passed…and if that fails, ANY bill opposing horse slaughter, the import of horses for slaughter and the exportation of (tainted) horsemeat to foreign countries.  Selling tainted meat to foreign countries is not part of Canada’s, nor Quebec’s, culture.  Now…let’s get on with it and save our horses.  If you have a problem accessing or downloading these images, email me at cynthia@cynthiaderrico.com .

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Olivia D’Errico Accepts Trophy for Team Canada Juniors at Bromont

Olivia D’Errico Accepts Trophy for Team Canada Juniors at Bromont

I arrived almost too late to see them…Olivia and her nine-year-old mare, She’s the One.  The CEC final was scheduled for 2pm, so Dave and I took our time driving to Bromont and stopped for brunch, although we were careful to avoid the Champlain Bridge; we took the Mercier and Hwy 138 instead.  Good thing…because not 40 minutes after we’d arrived and my cousin, Rico, found us, his lithe, lovely, determined daughter Olivia was up next.  I don’t think it was quite 1pm yet.  Whew!  They did a beautiful job; clearly, She’s the One, a Dutch Warmblood, understands her job:  she gives nice air-time and brings all four hooves under just as she should, nicely symmetrical.  

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Hickstead and Lamaze: A Big “Ask” Answered

Hickstead and Lamaze:  A Big “Ask” Answered

Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta, hosts two of the most renowned, challenging equestrian events in the world.  Yesterday, I watched the BMO Financial Nation’s Cup (France won though Canada was a close second), and today, I watched the CN International Cup.  Sixteen-year-old Hickstead, called the Wonder Horse, and rider, Eric Lamaze, who brought gold home to Canada from the Olympics (up to then, I’d thought the highest medal was bronze; that’s what Canada usually wins) and is the Number One rider in the world…let me say that again…in the world, won the CN with nary a thought.  As I watched Hickstead in the BMO and again today in the first round, I thought:  “this horse knows exactly what he’s there to do, knows exactly what each jump requires…and then just does it.”  I was gratified to hear Hickstead’s owner say in an interview, “…he was a stumblebum in the early years…and now, it’s like he says to Eric, ‘just sit there and be a good boy, and I’ll take care of it.'”  Then, when Eric accepted the trophy (and the cheque) for the CN today, he too stated:  “Hickstead is an amazing horse…basically, I just let him go…he knew exactly what he was doing…and I didn’t even feel that he’d lost a shoe towards the end of the second round…he didn’t falter.”  You’ve gotta imagine Hickstead’s thoughts evolving in the nine years Lamaze has been his rider.  At first, he must have thought:  “…um, okay, so you want me to jump these funny-looking fence things.  I can do that…but geez, they’re high.”  And then, after the umpteenth competition: “…oh, I get it.  I can’t let my feet touch the rails cuz if they touch the rails and the rails come down, we lose…right?  Okay, now I really get it.”  

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The Toronto Star features Horse Slaughter on Front Page

The Toronto Star features Horse Slaughter on Front Page

I was alerted to this information on the Cdn Horse Defence Coalition blog. A heartfelt thank-you to the two reporters, Robert Cribb and David Graham, who researched this article and to The Toronto Star for making it their front-page feature! I was particularly grateful to learn from the video that the reporters actually followed a horse transport to see whether the horses had been fed or watered at any point. (We know they aren’t, but having it published by the mainstream media has an impact.) I read some of the comments from Star readers and it fascinates me that the ratio of pro-slaughter to anti-slaughter is almost two-to-three. Since some of them claimed to be horse-owners, you’d think that the article would compel them to do their own research, but then again, the level of ignorance about nature in general was appalling, eg. “oh yeah…it’s less cruel than to let them be eaten in the wild by bears and wolves.” Huh? Then there was the horse-owner who never gives bute to his five horses…well, not never…well, only three of five…or two of four…or, not in the past four years anyway…or…I got dizzy with the changing stats. Then there were Americans who slammed Canada (“we don’t do it in our country”)…um, no, you send them to us so we can do it for you (shame on us!). Some Americans rightly pointed out that their ban on slaughter didn’t help since so many horses are now left to die, abandoned by a roadside. Overbreeding, anyone? Unable or unwilling to euthanize, anyone? Those with a good appetite revelled in their regular diet of horsemeat: bute a l’orange, anyone?  Here are the links:

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1032379–shooting-horses-canada-s-slaughter-industry-under-fire?bn=1

for the YouTube video:

http://www.thestar.com/videozone/1032378–shooting-horses

and for an exceptional study of, and keen statistical analysis of horse slaughter in the States, go to:

http://www.horsefund.org/horse-racing-through-the-slaughter-pipeline-part1.php by Jane Allin

I’ll blog more on the above shortly.  In the meantime, I’ll keep hoping that The Montreal Gazette will feature something similar; after all, the Massueville Abattoir owned by Viandes Richelieu Meats is one of the worst offenders in terms of the manner in which they slaughter horses.

 

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