That night, Hickstead and three other horses had made it to the final four competition after competing in five grueling rounds that had started earlier in the week with 121 horse and rider combinations. It was an exciting moment at the end, especially in contrast to the present moment, as I sit here at my desk, wiping away tears after watching the horrific last few moments of Hickstead’s life, on course, played out on YouTube.
The acronym KWPN stands for Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland, which translated from Dutch means Royal Warmblood Studbook of the
. The breed has a rich history of powerful horses starting with Dutch farmers breeding for stamina and strength to pull heavy loads. In general, the KWPN horse is willing, fearless, physically and mentally strong, and bred to perform at the highest level. No doubt Hickstead was an amazing ambassador for his breed, a star performer and a cherished friend and teammate for his rider, Eric Lamaze and his support team, a group of people who devoted years of careful training and care of this incredible horse. Netherlands