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Hickstead died of a ruptured aorta

November 10, 2011

» What is an aortic rupture?

» Hickstead: Obituary

Preliminary post mortem findings on Olympic gold medal winning showjumper Hickstead reveal the horse died on Sunday of an aortic rupture, resulting in heart failure.

Hickstead and Eric Lamaze. © Kit Houghton/FEI
The 15-year-old stallion collapsed and died on Sunday at the World Cup Jumping qualifier at Verona in Italy the after completing his round of jumping. His rider, Canada's Eric Lamaze, jumped free as Hickstead fell and was uninjured in the incident.

Further tests are to be conducted to establish the cause of the rupture, but these tests will take several weeks to complete and may prove inconclusive.

Hickstead was cremated in Italy following the necropsy.

"The sudden loss of any horse, but especially one with the character and history of Hickstead is a shock to everyone, but our thoughts are especially with Eric Lamaze and John Fleischhacker at this difficult time", said FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke.

"Under FEI regulations any equine death at an FEI event must be investigated and a post mortem undertaken. The preliminary findings have revealed a catastrophic rupture of the major blood vessel, the aorta, which very rapidly led to heart failure.

"This is an unusual incident in jumping and while we are investing the very many possible causes of a rupture of this nature, it is possible we may never know the real reason behind it," Cooke said.



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