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Fans wear black armbands for Hickstead

November 11, 2011

Fans wearing black 'Hickstead' armbands packed the stands at Toronto's Royal Horse Show on Wednesday night to watch a video montage which reviewed the famous showjumper's career highlights and his story.

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead in Leipzig in 2010. © Lulu Kyriacou
Many presentations were featured in the Horse Show on Wednesday night, but none was more anticipated than the tribute to Hickstead, the Olympic mount of Eric Lamaze, who died last weekend at a competition in Verona, Italy. The presentation was shown before the $100,000 FEI World Cup competition, in which Lamaze rode Herald 3.

Earlier in the day, Lamaze held a press-conference to allow media to ask questions, before removing himself from the public eye for the rest of the competition. He emphasized his decision to come and compete at the Royal Horse Show, so soon after the tragedy, was to honour the legacy of his partner, and to let the Canadian fans pay tribute to their national hero.

"I am here for the Canadian public and I am here to honour Hickstead; that's why I came," Lamaze said.

"Hickstead was a special horse that was exciting to watch, and he loved a loud crowd. Being such an international horse, Hickstead didn't get a lot of time to come to Canada. The people who are going to come to the Royal will get a last chance to remember him.

Kayla Chapman made a t-shirt to wear at the show, featuring Hickstead.
"If I would have stayed back in Europe and not come here because I wasn't feeling great about riding, I don't think he would have gotten the recognition that he has received already and is about to get. I am here to remember Hickstead," Lamaze said.

At the show fans were able to leave tributes in books of condolence which are being set up in the Ricoh Coliseum's Heritage Court.

"We hope Eric takes comfort in being back on home soil with his Canadian fans cheering him on," said Royal Agricultural Winter Fair President John Dunlap.



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