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Olymic Gold Medal champion dies during competition

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posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 11:32 AM
This happened three days ago during the filled-to-capacity World Cup competition in Italy, but I found it too sad and shocking to write about it at the time. I am not a particular follower of this sport, but I have spent a few hours here and there in front of a televized broadcast, mezmerised and cheering for this team and all others who have shown us the grace, beauty and disciplined coordination involved. The horse riding community is still in shock.

His name was Hickstead, the equine star of the Eric Lamaze-Hickstead show jumping team. The team had just cleared a hurdle during the competition when upon landing, Hickstead simply keeled over and collapsed on his side, away from his rider. His death came swiftly after what appeared to be an agonizing end in which his legs flailed seizure-like in the air. Horrified and shocked onlookers could not believe what they were seeing. Experts now state Hickstead suffered a massive acute aortic rupture.

In an interview a few minutes ago, Eric Lamaze said he will take a little time to reassess his future. He is an Olympian who had no plans to retire before the 2012 games, but now he is clearly devastated as are his fans, who wonder if he can ever find another horse that so suits him like Hickstead did. Hickstead was fifteen years old. A truly sad time for all, both fans and animal lovers alike. Here's wishing Eric the best.

Link to story and 2 videos about it.

A tribute video

edit on 9-11-2011 by aboutface because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by aboutface

People forget that Horses WILL run themselves well past exhaustion and even to death.

This was told to me when I began riding at 6 years old and makes me think of this incident.

A small heart defect combined with strenuous activity such as jumping could have contributed to this animal's early demise.

People also tend to be very insensitive to animals and tend push them too far as if they are machines.

I constantly see/hear this in the competitive dog world.

Where an animal is injured and they keep training/running them anyway....until they inevitably go lame and are then discarded.

Though unfortunate it tells me only that this his/her time in this dimension was simply up.


posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 12:06 PM
Hickstead was 15 years old, so I hardly think he was pushed beyond his limits. He was an athlete with an unfortunate heart condition.
Such a great team, such a shame.
RIP Hickstead

posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by aboutface

I cannot watch the entire video. There is no need to.

This horse is showing signs of dehydration and subsequent exhaustion by the white foam forming around the corners and the bottom lip of the mouth.

The side view of one of spectators perspiring so heavily is indicative of how warm it must have been in the arena at the time.

I hate to say this but this Horse mostly likely succumbed due to dehydration.

it's like pushing a car that is overheating...something will inevitably give.

It is truly Sad that he had to go out this way but at least he's in a better place now...

RIP Buddy !


posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 12:32 PM
Under normal circumstances a Horse will live to be 25-30 years old. And even longer with modern veterinary medicine sometimes up to 40 years now.

As I'd said he mostly likely did have some heart defect.

But seeing as we have a dead horse in the ring at 15 years old....albeit while partaking in a strenuous activity... akin to having a human die of a massive heart attack at half the lifespan of a human being (70 yrs) or 35 years old which is very young.


posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by nh_ee

look, I'm so sorry I didn't want to start an argument. The video posted is from the 2008 Belgium olympics where they took a medal. 2 total, to be exact.
My husband died 2 years ago at the age of 46 of a massive heart attack - a widow maker - acute myocardial infarction. he was not an athlete. he was in ICU with the flu. SH** happens.
I'm sorry to seem to argue, I'm just saying it happens. very unfortunate with Hickstead that it happened so publicly.
I went to some videos on youtube and was simply appalled at the comments. of course, youtube is notorious for trolls and arguements.
I'm just sticking up for natural accurances I suppose.
It's sad, any loss like that is sad.
again, I don't want to argue, just stating what I see.
peace to you too.

posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 11:01 PM
reply to post by nh_ee

The official cause of death was announced as stated in the OP as being a ruptured aorta.

As for foaming at the mouth,

Horses have a saliva duct behind their jaw and when the jaw is relaxed and supple the horse will salivate a lot...It is absolutely normal for a horse to secrete foamy saliva during physical exertion. In fact, this is often considered a positive physical trait because it indicates the horse is relaxed and being ridden correctly. In horses that are tense or have bad posture, the salivary duct is inhibited and their mouth dries out. Before competitions, many owners feed their horse sugar to stimulate the salivary gland and "soften" the mouth.

The point is that the animal was part of a sports team and he absolutely knew that he was going to perform and wanted to please. Perhaps he was anxious and even nervous about the heat, but his pattern has been one of zealousness to perform well. He was cleared to perform by a veterinary doctor. No one in the sport entourage has suggested this animal was not well looked after, but I'm confident that if there was anything ontoward about his treatment, some people in the know will certainly bring it forward, don't you think?

posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 11:40 PM
Here in Canada this was all over the news. I'm an animal person so this was very sad for me, and after reading about how great HIckstead was compared to other horses in the sport makes it even more so. When I first heard about it I figured it was a heart attack or similar. It would have been horrible to see that in person.

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