Eric Lamaze rode Hickstead to second place in the sixth leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series in Geneva, Switzerland, last night. © FEI/Kit Houghton
"It was a difficult first round, and then in the jump-off and it was extremely close," said Lamaze, who collected €40,000 for his second place finish. "It was really, really fast, with three of us finishing within half a second of each other."
On Friday night, Lamaze contested the €250,000 Rolex Top 10 Final, which sees the top 10 ranked riders in the world going head to head. Lamaze and Hickstead had one rail in the second round to finish third, again claiming €40,000 in prize money.
"The course was hard, and we ended up having a rail in the jump-off," said Lamaze of his performance with Hickstead, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood breeding stallion owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable. "I am really happy with our results, and I think it is great that we are able to have Canadian representation in these important international competitions."
Geneva was the fourth and final stop on Lamaze's indoor tour which began in Maastricht, The Netherlands, followed by Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France.
At CSI4* Maastricht, Lamaze won the €20,000 Milcon Prix on November 19 riding Coriana van Klapscheut, an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms. At the CSI5* Gucci Masters show jumping tournament in Paris, France, the pair won the €50,000 Le Figaro Prix on December 3 with owners Carlene and Caitlin Ziegler in attendance. It marked the mare's first time competing in the 1.60m grand prix events, which is the top level of show jumping sport.
Lamaze began competing the mare at the top grand prix level only three weeks previously. In her first competition at CSI4* Maastricht, The Netherlands, the mare won the €20,000 Milcon Prix on November 19.
"In the last three weeks, she has had to prove herself at the top level," Lamaze said. "I always thought she was a great horse, but now we have asked her to step up to a different league. She has handled it with class."
Lamaze said that despite the setback of breaking his foot in Aachen, he could not have hoped for a better year. "At the Masters in Spruce Meadows and at the WEG my foot wasn't in good shape but I still won in Aachen and now I've been second in Geneva so I'm not complaining! I'm better and fitter since the World Games - before that I was taking the cast off every day when I was riding but now I don't have that anymore so it's great!" he said.
"Our results in Geneva were a good way to finish the year," said Lamaze, who will now travel to his winter base in Wellington, Florida, to contest the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival. "The past four weeks were really great for my horses, and the young ones got some good experience and exposure. It was fantastic that Hickstead could finish out the year like this."
All of Lamaze's horses will now be shipped to Florida, with Hickstead having time off to concentrate on his breeding duties. Lamaze plans to start Hickstead back in competition near the end of the Florida circuit and have him fit and ready for the European spring season.