October 11, 2007


Eric Lamaze on Hickstead, in the team competition at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Picture: Ken Braddick/FEI

The horse on which Eric Lamaze won the world's richest show jumping grand prix in early September is recovering well after undergoing colic surgery just over a week ago.

Hickstead, an 11-year-old, Dutch-bred stallion, showed signs of colic on October 1st at Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable in Schomberg, Ontario. He was taken to a clinic and, although his colic did not appear to be severe, a decision was made to operate. "We maybe operated a little early", Lamaze said, "but we thought it was better to be safe than sorry".

Now, Hickstead is back at Torrey Pines Stable and doctors have ordered 30 days rest. Lamaze and Hickstead were scheduled to embark on a European tour this week, making one stop in Belgium and two in France.

Lamaze is optimistic about Hickstead's recovery, noting that, "When 30 days is up, it's the time of year he'd be off anyway. So he'll have a nice long rest."

Currently ranked #7 on the world rider rankings, Lamaze is the first Canadian rider to break the top-ten on that list since Ian Millar was the world's #1 in 1987 and 1989. After a spectacular victory in the $1,000,000 CN International Grand Prix in Calgary in early September, Lamaze and Hickstead were quickly hailed as early favourites for the individual gold medal at next year's Olympic Games.

Hickstead is not the first great Canadian show jumper to be sidelined by colic surgery. Ian Millar's legendary partner, Big Ben, twice underwent emergency colic surgery and twice returned to world-class competition. He competed in his third Olympic Games just over a year after his second surgery and lived until he was 23 years old.

Lamaze will still compete in Brussels later this week and in Caen, France next week, on Narcotique de Muze and Sadin. Narcotique de Muze has already been a winner at the international level and Sadin is a promising newcomer, just starting out at the top level. Lamaze will cut his original European schedule short and return to Canada to compete at Toronto's Royal Winter Fair.