November 10, 2011 @ 11:00 PM

A young boy with a drug addict mother and unknown father who finds his gift as an equestrian, finds a wild, crazy "unrideable" horse.  The equestrian is disqualified from two Olympics because of drug use.  Sean Fine wrote in the Globe and Mail describes them, "A crazy horse, a troubled rider.  Each brought out the best in the other." 

When I first heard about the tragic death of Hickstead during a competition in Verona, Italy, I was pretty sad.  I love horses.  I have watched competitors jump horses.  I have watched horse and rider perform at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  Years ago, I went to a stable and riding school several times with my friend Donna and saw where the horses lived and played.  I filled up the buckets of water for the horses, I threw some hay in their stalls.  Donna and I would take a wheel barrow full of hay and took them out in the field where the horses would go and graze.  I watched students learn to ride and groom their horses.  The riders knew the horses well, and I know, they grew attached to these wonderful animals.  Each horse had different personalities and I loved listening to Donna tell stories about Duchess (Donna's horse), Cheyanne, Paladin, Omby.  I also know how sad and devastated she and the others were when one of the horses died.  And, by the way, Duchess, Cheyanne, Paladin, Omby and others - may they all rest in peace.

Remembering those days I had spent some time with horses, I understand how devastated gold and silver Olympic medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Eric Lamaze, must have been when his beloved friend, Hickstead, suddenly collapsed in the middle of the competition in Verona.  Hickstead suffered a heart attack.  He gave his all and then slowly lowered his body, trying not to hurt his friend, as he was about to take his final breath.  Videos apparently showed Hickstead giving his friend, Eric, one last glance, before he collapsed and died. 

These two champions, in spite of rough beginnings as individuals, were given second and third chances to make their talents known.  They came to be everything that they could be - without holding back.  Once they knew how they could be good for each other, you could say, the rest is history!  Is it easy to pursue something you are naturally good at?  Not for Eric Lamaze or Hickstead.  At the time of his death, Hickstead had already reached legendary status.  It amazes me what can be accomplished when we truly "become ourselves". 

Below are photos of those four memorable horses I had mentioned: Duchess, Paladin, Omby and Cheyanne.  Photos were taken from Harrogate Hills' website where these horses lived, communed with their owners, played with each other and three of them served as teaching horses.  (Ref.












Eric Lamaze and Hickstead

REUTERS/Todd Korol


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