Top showjumper Hickstead’s sudden death at the weekend (6 November) was caused by a rupture of the main artery supplying his heart, it has been confirmed. The announcement was made at a news conference at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, by rider Eric Lamaze’s lawyer. Tim Danson said the 15-year-old stallion died from an “acute aortic rupture”.
Mr. Lamaze then made an emotional tribute to his wonder horse and thanked everyone who had been involved in Hickstead’s career. “Anyone who had anything to do with him — stable staff, people who rode him, blacksmiths — I want to thank them very much.”
Hickstead collapsed as he was leaving the ring in Verona, Italy, on Sunday.
Hickstead, the Canadian reigning Olympic champion, had just completed his round in the World Cup qualifier when his back legs went from under him. He died within minutes.
Asked how he felt about the horse’s death, Mr Lamaze said: “It’s too hard to answer…” and tailed off.
The Dutch warmblood was due to retire to stud after London 2012.
Mr Lamaze said he still hoped to get to the Olympics, in spite of losing his long-term partner. “I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to, but I’m not ready to go yet. My last goal is to do another Olympics,” he said.
See Hourse & Hounds tribute to Hickstead in photos.