As a horseman please excuse me if I take a little time among the serious meltdowns of the world that this blog is mainly devoted to.
The Eternal God gave us the horse. Oh the history of the horse could cover many volumes. How the animal has been used by mankind for thousands of years, from hard working farming, to literal battle to just pure riding for pleasure, to police work, to the pony express in the days of the breaking of the West, to trick circus horses, to the beauty of dressage, to the excitement of racing. Next to the dog the horse has been man's best four footed friend, and some ways just mentioned more so.
Yesterday the GREAT show-jumping horse from Canada - HICKSTEAD - died right in the show-jumping ring just after completing a round of competition. Looks like a heart-attack took this horse to his death. You can see the sad happening on YOUTUBE - type in "Hickstead"
Few horses reach the highest platform that gains them world fame for many years - Hickstead was one of those horses, as was Seabiscuit and Secretariat in the flat Thoroughbred horse racing world, as Red Rum in the Grand National steeplechase world (winning that toughest horse race in the world 3 times), as was
Roy Rogers' Trigger in Western movie fame.
I had the privilege of seeing THREE TIMES in person at the world's richest prize money world famous International Show Jumping event at Calgary's Spruce Meadows, Hickstead win first place price twice and a second place, in the last 4 years. Hickstead with rider Eric aboard won the individual gold medal at the last Olympics. Hickstead was classed for this year 2011 as NUMBER ONE in the world. He was one of those horses that come along in a lifetime that forever go down in history as a one of a kind.
He was one of those show-jumping horses that no matter what course of show-jumping you built, no matter what jumps you built (for color and this and that fancy decked-out jump to intimidate the horse for looks), Hickstead was never un-nerved or rattled. You could have built the craziest Halloween jump and I'm sure it would not have fazed him in the least - nerves of steal as they say.
To see a horse like Hickstead die in the ring is double sad. It just about never happens. In world competition class I have never heard of it happening. I could be wrong, but whatever it is very very seldom that such happens.
So in the last week we have seen the death of TWO greats - Andy Rooney of 60 Minute fame with his unique way of broadcasting his complaints for a few minutes on the famous 60 Minutes TV show, and the death of a wonderful four-footed show-jumping horse Hickstead - arguably the greatest Show-jumping horse of all time.
The Eternal God has given us animals to love and enjoy - horses being one of them. They cannot be house pets like the dog and cat and some of the birds, but horses have sure been for thousands of years man's great faithful friend in so many ways. As the King of the Cowboys (And November 5th just gone would have been Roy's 100th birthday) used to sing: "A four legged friend, a four legged friend, he'll never let you done; he's honest and faithful right up to the end; that wonderful, one, two, three, four legged friend."
For all us horse lovers (and that's me folks, with my Trigger look-a-like golden Palomino mare - you can go to my website and click on my "photos/pictures" section and see her and me) we take this meltdown to honor the passing of one-in-a-lifetime horses - the great Show-jumping horse called Hickstead that gave us many spectacular thrills of victory.
Condolences go to Eric - the man who was Hickstead's partner and rode him to our enjoyment thrills so many times. It's got to be heart-breaking Eric, but what wonderful memories you'll have - most of it down on movie video - for the rest of your life. What a blessing to have had one of those horses that only come along once in a lifetime.
I hope Canada or Hollywood do a big screen movie on the life of Hickstead.