Olympic Gold Medal Horse Hickstead Dies Suddenly

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Hickstead ridden by Eric Lamaze after winning individual gold medal at 2008 Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

VERONA, ITALY, Nov. 6–Hickstead, the 2008 Olympic gold medal stallion ridden by Eric Lamaze of Canada, died suddenly at the World Cup event at Verona on Sunday.

Hickstead, a 15-year-old KWPN stallion, and Eric, the No. 1 ranked rider in the world, had just completed their round when the horse collapsed in the arena. A veterinarian declared Hickstead dead. Cause of death was not immediately known.

The competition was stopped at the request of the riders, and Lamaze’s fellow-competitors gathered in the Verona arena to pay their respects with a minute’s silcence for one of the greatest horses of all time.

Princess Haya, the International Equestrian Federation president, said: “Hickstead really was a horse in a million and my heart goes out to Eric and everyone connected with this wonderful horse. This is a terrible loss, but Hickstead truly will never be forgotten. We were very lucky to have known him.”

Hickstead was owned by Eric’s Torrey Pines and Ashland Stables Inc.

In 2008, Hickstead and Eric won individual gold and team silver for Canada at the Beijing Olympics

After completing four clear rounds in the Final Four at the the 2010 World Equestrian Games Hickstead was named Best Horse of Jumping.

In 2011 Eric Lamaze and Hickstead won the $1 million CN International for the second time in their career at Canada’s Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament in Calgary.

Eric Lamaze on Hickstead at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com