Almost nothing in sports is as dreaded as the death of a horse. Every time a stallion or thoroughbred falters in a competition, breath is held and terrifying memories come to mind.
On Sunday, the worst came to pass. Hickstead, one of the world's most beloved horses, collapsed at a show-jumping tournament in Italy.
Hickstead was a superhorse, carrying Canadian show-jumper Eric Lamaze to equestrian gold in the 2008 Olympic Games. He was 15 years old and still at the top of his game, completing a run at the Rolex FEI World Cup Sunday before trotting away from a 13-jump course which he finished almost flawlessly.
Then, in front of a gallery of fans, Hickstead gave way under Lamaze.
"We finished our round, I circled and was leaving the ring, and he collapsed and died," Lamaze said in a statement. "It is the most tragic thing that has ever happened. We had him until he was 15, and we had a great time together. He was the best horse in the world. We are all devastated."
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