Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Medal-winning horse Hickstead dead

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VERONA, Italy -- The Canadian equestrian community was left reeling Sunday after the sudden death of Hickstead, the legendary stallion that helped Eric Lamaze win a pair of Olympic medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Hickstead died during a World Cup event after collapsing to the ground and writhing in pain inside a packed arena.

Veterinarians attempted to revive the horse but its lifeless body was later carried out of the ring as stunned fans at the Rolex FEI event looked on. Hickstead was 15.

"Hickstead was without question the most dominant show jumping horse on the planet," said Equine Canada chief executive officer Akaash Maharaj. "Absolutely without question."

The Canadian partnership had just completed the 13-fence course with a single rail down in the middle of the combination when the horse fell ill, the International Equestrian Federation said.

The competition was abandoned at the request of the riders. Lamaze's fellow competitors gathered for a minute's silence.

"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," said FEI jumping director John Roche. "Hickstead's presence on the circuit will be very sadly missed."

Lamaze, from Schomberg, Ont., won individual gold and team silver aboard Hickstead at the 2008 Games. He had been riding Hickstead since the horse was seven.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2011 C6

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