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Thank you Hickstead (1996 – 2011)

Monday, 07 November 2011

Like we will always remember him; Hickstead at the WEG in Kentucky. All photos by Jenny Abrahamsson.The amazing stallion Hickstead will go into history as one of the world’s greatest showjumping horses ever. During his fantastic career with Eric Lamaze he achieved unbelievable good results – he was truly a horse of a lifetime. This is our tribute to a wonderful horse who have created some of the best showjumping moments in history.

Hickstead came to Eric in 2004 and stayed with the Canadian rider up until his sudden death yesterday. Already at the WEG in 2006 Eric Lamaze was sure he had a fabulous horse as he said; "He's a great horse and a very good competitor. He's got a great personality, and he's a fun horse to ride because I know him so well. He's feisty, he knows why he is out there, and he knows that knocking down a rail is not good! Some horses just don't get it."

In 2007 Hickstead’s collection of medals began; he won team silver and individual bronze medals at the 2007 Pan American Games. This was also the first year that the stallion won the $1 million CN International, at the 2007 Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament. In October the same year Hickstead went through colic surgery, and was off for four months before he re-appeared on the international showjumping scene in February 2008.  

Hickstead happy and out walking in Kentucky. In 2008 Hickstead and Eric wrote history when they won individual gold and team silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Hickstead was well on the way to becoming the King of Showjumping, and was certainly turning into the world’s most popular horse! In 2010 they followed up with a bronze medal in the individual competition at the World Equestrian Games in  Kentucky. At the WEG Hickstead was the only horse managing four clear rounds with the four different riders in the final. Hickstead was named the Best Horse of the discipline. On the question on how he felt about Hickstead being the best horse, Eric Lamaze said that he already knew Hickstead was the best and “now these riders know as well”.

This year Hickstead was runner-up in the World Cup final in Leipzig. He won the second day of the competition; showing off his amazing jumping skills with two clear rounds. "It's great to do well, and to add this day to Hickstead's career was very important to me. A fantastic moment," Eric said after his win.

At the World Cup final in Leipzig where he was runner-up with Lamaze. In September the fifteen year old won the CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows for a second time; one of the most prestigious classes in the world. After the win Lamaze said; “When you’re riding the best horse in the world, it makes a big difference!” The two were truly the Kings of Calgary; this year they had several wins at Spruce Meadows.

In May Hickstead won the Grand Prix in Rome and in La Baule. After their win in Rome, Eric said; "What can I say about Hickstead - he's not really a horse, he's a machine! To be honest I don't think it would have been possible to go any faster than he did today - he was amazing!" The Grand Prix wins this year were some of many; Hickstead had countless victories – he also won the Grand Prix of Aachen in 2010. After the win in Aachen, Lamaze said: “He's a horse of a lifetime, and arguably the best horse in the world.”  

Creating history; Philippe Le Jeune hugs Hickstead after a clear round in the final in Kentucky. In 2008 he was honoured with the title “horse of the year” in KWPN, and in 2010 Hickstead topped the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) final FEI Word Ranking List for Jumping Horses. The WBFSH ranking is a highly prestigious title to be honoured with and include competitions over a year. This year Hickstead was number two overall on the same ranking – proving his consistent results!

Hickstead was born in 1996, bred by Jan van Schijndel in the Netherlands. Hickstead’s original name was Opel, but his name was later changed when he got approved as a stallion and his name had to start with the same letter as his father Hamlet. The stallion was out of the mare Jomara; his dam sire was Ekstein. These bloodlines have proven to be very successful in the past. His sire, Hamlet had several good international results in addition to great success in the breeding. This stunning brown stallion was licensed and approved in several breeding associations; Hanover, KWPN, Oldenburg, Springpferdezuchtverband Oldenburg-International, Westphalia and Rhineland as well as all Southern German and new German State Verbands. He was also admitted to the Hanoverian Jumper Breeding Program. Hickstead will now live on through his offsprings.

The world's greatest. Hickstead was a horse who wrote showjumping history every time he entered the ring. He was pleasure to watch; always fighting and always wanting to win. He belonged in that environment – always wanting to do his best. The world of showjumping has lost one of its greatest horses, but his memory will live on forever.

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