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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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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