An examination has determined that a heart failure - an acute aortic rupture - caused Hickstead’s tragic death in Verona on Sunday. This became clear at a press conference today in Toronto. Lamaze said that medical examinations leading up to the show in Verona showed that Hickstead was in good health. Neither were there any signs during the event that indicated that anything was wrong with the 15 year old Hamlet-stallion.
An emotional Lamaze opened by saying; "A horse like Hickstead for sure changed my career, the history is there to prove it and for me it meant everything. I’m not here [in Toronto] to compete this week, I’m here for the Canadian public and to honor Hickstead,” said a chocked-up Lamaze.
"It's hard for me to remember second by second what happened, but he collapsed and I was far away from him. He made sure he didn't injure me in the process," Lamaze said. The Canadian rider added that "everybody in charge was very quick to respond and make sure he was attended to." Lamaze also pointed out that; “There was nothing unusual about the round. The warm-up was normal, and he jumped really well."
“The loss is very large. Based on that it was a horse that you would have loved to have retired, giving him the retirement ceremony he deserved.”
On the response of the crowds in Toronto Eric said; “He was a very, very special horse that I think was very exciting to watch. He did everything for the people that were watching him, he enjoyed a loud crowd so I think it was very well suited the way people reacted last night... Like I said, I’m just here to remember Hickstead."
On Hickstead’s early days Eric said; “He was a very difficult horse. Many times I gave up, and thought that it was never going to work (...) When he turned nine we realized the talent that he had – well when we bought him we realized the talent that he had, but we thought his character was going to stop him from being a great horse (…) But he had a taste of victory and he really loved it. It made him better every single time.”
Lamaze confirmed that Hickstead was cremated after the necropsy was completed.
At the end of the press conference a touched Eric said: “I would like to say one more thing, and it’s the hardest for me to say: I would really like to thank everybody that has participated in Hickstead’s career – all the staff that took care of him, all the riders that rode him over the years, all the veterinarians that took care of him, all the people shipping him around the world, anyone that had anything to do with Hickstead – they all made a big difference.”
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