Partnered with Eric Lamaze, the legendary Hickstead ‒ who died suddenly in November 2011 in Verona, Italy, of a ruptured aorta ‒ was one of the greatest show jumping horses of all time. The KWPN stallion (Hamlet x Jomara), whose name at birth in 1996 was Opel, won team silver and individual bronze medals at the 2007 Pan American Games, individual gold and team silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and individual bronze and the title of ‘Best Horse’ at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Hickstead earned over $3.7 million in prize money along with major grand prix wins including the $1 million CN International at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB (twice, in 2007 and 2011), Geneva (2008), Aachen (2010), La Baule (2011), and Rome (2011). The great athlete, who was owned by John Fleischhacker. was inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame in 2012.
During his competitive career, Hickstead’s semen had been available to North American breeders on a limited basis, about 20 to 40 doses per season. Needless to say his semen was in high demand following his death, except there was little to none available, according to Francis Berger of South Shore Farm in Montreal in a 2011 Globe and Mail interview. Berger, who was in charge of Hickstead’s reproductive career at the time, remarked that the stallion was just a month away from wrapping up his European tour, after which he would have been shipped to Florida for the winter where more semen could have been collected, and possibly be retired within a year or two to concentrate on a breeding career.
It is estimated that Hickstead sired less than 100 horses worldwide. Hippomundo.com, a leading source of pedigree information and other up-to-date horse-related data, lists just 36 Hickstead offspring, although some may never have been registered. Here are what a few have been doing:
Probably the most high-profile Hickstead son is Hickstead White (Hickstead x Queentina, pictured above), a stunning grey eight-year-old Springpferdezuchtverband Oldenburg-International (OS) stallion bred by Gestüt Sprehe in Benstrup, Germany. Touted as ‘the only licensed son of Olympic Champion Hickstead on German soil,’ sporting ‘outstanding ability in view of technique, bascule, power and scope’ he has been showing in national young horse classes under Tobias Meyer. He was overall winner of his 30-day test and best jumping stallion in 2015, and in 2017 earned the best five-year-old title at the sport test in Münster with an excellent score of 8.82. He stands for a fee of 1200 euros ($1760 CAD) and his foals are doing well, with his oldest sons now being presented for licensing.
Closer to home, Firecraker Bloom was born April 2010 at Suzanne Trickey’s Bloomington Farm in Maxville, Ontario, out of the imported Star Prok mare Wagrusa H. Now called Cookie and ridden by 25-year-old Schuyler Hall of Charlottesville, Virginia, the mare is full of talent and personality, like her sire.
Says Schuyler, “I’ve had Cookie since she was five. Catherine Pasmore of Pasmore Show Stables brought us together. We train with Sloane Coles and SpringLedge. She is a careful, scopey, and brave little horse ‒ like her dad! She has the biggest heart. Cookie isn’t super-snuggly, so I have to bribe her with treats. She loves banana peels! She is very food-driven, hence the name. I show her in the amateurs; I hadn’t shown in a couple of months and marched into a low A/O classic and finished fifth out of 90! She’s won many classes (Kentucky, Tryon, and WEF to name a few) and took me around my first High Classic (1.45m) double clear. She makes me feel like I can do anything! Eventually I would love to breed her. She’s a strange little horse, but I love her so, so much and can’t imagine a world without her.”
Sharon and Bruce Telford of Woodlawn Farms in Tofield, Alberta, had two foals by Hickstead: Fort Knox WF and Gallup WF. Sharon commented on the Alberta Horse Industry website, “His foals are remarkable, absolutely stunning and I have great hopes for them both.” Eric Lamaze originally bought Fort Knox WF; the horse has since changed hands and is currently owned by Prima Showjumpers Inc and is being ridden by Karissa Enders of Chestermere, Alberta.
“Fort Knox is very special in many ways. He’s very quirky, but he really wants to do well,” says Karissa. “He’s certainly not a horse for just anyone and he’s very sensitive. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to ride him and become his partner in crime. We are learning together and I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better horse to learn with. He certainly doesn’t like it when I mess with his routine, and I have to be extremely patient with him. He states his opinions!
“I won the four-bar at Royal West on him clearing 1.92m. I won a prix on him last year at RMSJ and placed in a bunch more. We won a couple of classes at Spruce outdoors and placed a ton. I will be showing him again this year and am hoping to continue learning and moving up with him. He truly is extremely special and it is an absolutely amazing opportunity. He’s a very unique horse with a heart of gold.”
Gallup WF (Hickstead x Rosalie) was sold to Gallup WF Syndicate and is now standing at Carousel Ridge in Sherwood Park, Alberta, run by Shauna Cook and Sheilagh Kelly, who describe the stallion as “a well-mannered young horse. He has correct limbs with tons of bone and solid feet. His gaits are ground-covering with plenty of power. He has exceptional balance in his canter and jumps with big scope!” Gallup made his International Ring debut at the Spruce Meadows summer series in 2019, ridden by Shauna Cook (CAN), placing 7th in an 8YO event. Gallup is also a National Licensing Champion for both the Canadian Warmblood and the Canadian Sport Horse Assoc, and passed his pre-licensing with the KWPN-NA. He will be presented for full approval in the future.
Others we found include:
L Hickstead’s Jewel (Hickstead x Prestine F) and N Hickstead’s Sun (Hickstead x Lorrain Z) were both bred by Ashland Show Stables, Llc and owned by Ashley Fleischhacker.
Hickstead’s Axel (Hickstead x Tiovanna) also owned by Ashland, had been shown by Sharn Wordley (NZL) but no FEI show records exist after 2016.
Hole In One Z and Hermitage Z, a full brother and sister sired by Hickstead with Icara II as their dam, were conceived via one ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) treatment at the Equine Fertility Centre of the Animal Embryo Centre in the Netherlands.
Some of Hickstead’s offspring have ended up with less-than-flattering monikers, including a mare named Lazy and another saddled with Holiday Inn. Hardly suitable titles considering the royal blood they carry!