A great Canadian Olympian died suddenly yesterday, much to the shock of not just the Canadian equestrian world, and not just the fans of horse sport, but to the fans of sport and underdogs everywhere.  Eric Lamaze great horse Hickstead died suddenly after finishing a round in Italy.

Eric and Hickstead won just about all there was to win in the horse world including the Olympic Gold medal.

The Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper quoted this from Eric after he and the 15 year old horse won the $1-million CN International at the Spruce Meadows masters tournament just two months ago;

“I know him very well, and he wants to jump clear just as much as I do, I don’t come to Canada very often — I only come here to Spruce Meadows in the summer and then back for the masters, so to win here is very special.”

Here are my memories of Eric and Hickstead. Hickstead was a firecracker but Eric never seemed to fight him, he accepted who the horse was, which seemed to compliment Eric’s style. Eric always seem to be cool, he was so confident in his horses abilities, he never doubted him and that relationship was obvious to those who saw the team.

But one of my fondest memories of the Eric and Hickstead was after they won the Olympic gold medal in a jump off. While walked around the ring in celebration after the round Eric extended his arm pointing down to his horse, letting the world know who he thought the true champion really was.

I found this video highlight of Hickstead’s career on YouTube last night, that Olympic memory is in here. My heart goes out to Eric and all those who were closest to Hickstead, I can’t imagine the heartbreak they must be feeling today.

Today I am grateful for Hickstead one of the greatest horses of all time.