Eric Lamaze of Canada and Hickstead at the Pan American Games.
Hickstead is spending the winter in Wellington, Florida, where Lamaze is competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. He competed in the 1.4m division ton Thursday, a lower division than he would normally compete in. He is beginning a progressive return to major grand prix in time to make a bid for Canada's Olympic team.
"It was great to be in the ring on him again," Lamaze said after his ride, obviously pleased with the way his long-time partner felt under him.
Although Hickstead didn't jump the course faultlessly, that didn't concern Lamaze, who is confident his horse is "no different" that before his long lay-off. "He's ready, he could do a grand prix now. He felt excited to be back in the ring," Lamaze said of the 12-year-old Dutch warmblood stallion. "He feels amazing".
Late last year, Lamaze and Hickstead were hailed early favourites for the individual gold medal at this year's Olympic Games. Following their individual bronze and team silver medals at the Pan American Games, Lamaze rode Hickstead to win the $1,000,000 CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, the richest show jumping competition in the world. Hickstead was sidelined by abdominal surgery for colic shortly after his summer winning streak.