Deceased Show Jumper Hickstead Honored with Statue

Deceased Show Jumper Hickstead Honored with Statue

Nearly a year after he collapsed and died in a Verona, Italy, show ring following an impressive jumping round, Olympic champion steed Hickstead has been honored with a statue and tribute ceremony in his home country of Canada.

Photo: Spruce Meadows Media Service

Nearly a year after he collapsed and died in a Verona, Italy, show ring following an impressive jumping round, Olympic champion steed Hickstead has been honored with a statue and tribute ceremony in his home country of Canada.

The nearly 10-foot tall bronze statue was unveiled by Hickstead's long-time rider Eric Lamaze on Sunday (Sept. 9) during the weekend's CSIO5* Master's Tournament at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta.

"Every once and again we are treated to magic, to excellence, to a glance of greatness. And that is what we saw with Hickstead and Eric," said fellow Canadian and Olympic medalist Ian Millar during a tributary documentary film aired during the ceremony. The event, held in the International Ring, included Hickstead and Lamaze's induction into the Spruce Meadows Hall of Fame.

Through a necropsy, veterinarians determined that Hickstead's sudden death was caused by an aortic rupture. Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) veterinary director Graeme Cooke, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, explained that this kind of "tragedy" could happen to any horse and does not reflect poor management. The 15-year-old KWPN stallion, like the vast majority of FEI-level horses, was extremely well cared for and regularly monitored for good health, he said.

"Ninety-five percent of what he did was from the heart, and I think people will remember it that way," Lamaze said in the documentary video.

The 1,400-pound bronze horse and the ribbon base were designed by Pennsylvania equine artist Mary Sand, who also created a Hickstead trophy earlier this year.

Hickstead Statue

Sculptor Sand said she wanted to capture Hickstead's eyes and face well for rider Eric Lamaze..

"What really caught my attention was the relationship between Eric and Hickstead," Sand told The Horse. "While it was necessary to get his conformation over the jump just right, what I really wanted to do was focus on his eyes and face. It was really important to capture that well, for Eric. I really put my heart and soul into this project."

The sculpture has become a permanent part of the grounds at Spruce Meadows, according to Ian Allison, senior vice president of the facility. Lamaze and Hickstead competed in 77 events at Spruce Meadows during their jumping career together; they medaled in 50 of them, including 20 wins, he said.

The ceremony closed with the official announcement of Lamaze's sabbatical leave from the sport until the end of the year.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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