by Grania Willis
The fourth leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 series at Verona, Italy was stopped today following the sudden death of the stallion Hickstead, ridden by reigning Olympic champion and world number one Eric Lamaze (CAN).
Drawn 22nd of the 39 on the startlist, the Canadian partnership had just completed Rolf Ludi’s 13-fence track with a single rail down in the middle of the combination when Hickstead collapsed and died.
The competition was stopped at the request of the riders, and Lamaze’s fellow-competitors gathered in the Verona arena to pay their respects to one of the greatest horses of all time, and to support their colleague in his moment of loss with a minute’s silence.
HRH Princess Haya, FEI President added her condolences to those that have poured in since news of the horse’s death. “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.”
FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said “shortly after finishing his round of jumping Hickstead collapsed in the arena and died. As yet the cause of death is unknown, but our deepest sympathies go out to the owners, to Eric and to all the connections of one of the greatest Jumping horses of all time. Hickstead’s presence on the circuit will be very sadly missed”.