Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Horse to Remember

I'm not sure why exactly, but I'm very sad about the death of Hickstead, the current top show jumping horse in the world. He collapsed and died at an event in Italy on Sunday, and necropsy revealed a ruptured aorta. He was 15 and likely would have been retired after the 2012 Olympics. He and rider Eric Lamaze won gold at the 2008 Olympic games, won every major competition in the world, and at the World Equestrian Games last year, won first place and the title Best Horse in the World.

I'm not involved in show jumping except for being a spectator, and honestly can only name 2 or 3 other horses and riders. I watched the World Equestrian Games last year, and saw Hickstead jump 4 perfect rounds with 4 different riders. He did not touch one rail. Something about that performance really hooked me. Although the other top 3 horses were outstanding as well, there was a charisma about Hickstead that stood out. He wanted to win as much as his rider. He ran at every jump with determination, and had a lovely way of kicking out his heels as he sailed over each jump. There is something magical about watching horses fly through the air, and Hickstead harnessed that magic.

The other day I was randomly thinking about jumping, and decided to look up the video of the WEG final round. What popped up instead was a breaking news article about the sudden death of Hickstead. To those in the jumping world, this is a trajedy akin to the loss of the great racing filly Ruffian. The world has lost a phenomenal athlete, and one who will be remembered as one of the greatest show jumpers of all time. 

Here is a great video set perfectly to music that shows the wonder of Hickstead:  YouTube

4 comments:

  1. Just slightly over 2 yrs ago, I came home to find my retired endurance gelding DIB (Dead In Barn), collapsed neatly onto his sternum as if he'd been poleaxed...
    While I'm glad there was no evidence of suffering, it was a shock since he gave me no premonitory signs. It took me a while to quit scanning the herd for him as my crew trooped in & out. (He had been my ex-husband's competitor, long story which I ought to create my own post about.)

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  2. I'm sorry. I had the same experience when both of my little birdies were gone... I just kept looking at the spot where their cage was expecting to see them playing. It does take awhile to stop looking for them. I hope we'll both see our pets again someday.

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  3. Do you usually create solely for your blog or you do this for some other online portals?

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