The staff and riders of Foothills Farm are reeling from the heartbreaking news that our good friend, Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, has been battling a brain tumour for the past year and a half. At the same time, we know that if anyone can beat such a devastating diagnosis, it is Eric.
Eric, 51, first revealed his health condition in a televised interview that aired in France in May. “It took me a very long time to be able to discuss it with the people around me,” he said in a transcript of the interview translated into English. “The last thing I wanted was to scare them. I did not know how to tell them.”
A member of the Canadian Equestrian Team for show jumping, Eric competed at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where he won a silver medal in the team event and a gold medal in the individual show jumping event. He and his beloved horse, Hickstead, managed to complete the rare feat of only having one rail fall during the entire competition. It’s just one example of Eric’s determination and his drive to succeed.
After Beijing, Eric represented Canada at the 2012 Olympics in London and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where he competed in a nail-biter of a jump-off for the bronze medal, only to be edged out by the German team. He later won the bronze in individual show jumping – the only thing keeping him from winning his second gold medal was a single knocked rail.
True to Eric’s steadfast personality, receiving the cancer diagnosis may have been a personal setback, but he has been resolved not to let it end his incredible riding career.
“I was going to bed very early, I was trying to keep riding. I had made the decision to continue riding until the day (my body) would not work anymore,” he said, admitting that he temporarily withdrew from friends and pulled back from the jumping scene.
But after taking a six month break from international competition, Eric made a comeback at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival, placing 12th in the $500000 Rolex Grand Prix. This year, he has also competed at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami, placed second in the Prix FFE-Generali at the Longines International Jumping of La Baule and represented Team Canada in France at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup. Closer to home, Eric continues to amaze, even making a run for top spot at the Nationals at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.
Not only is Eric a star of the circuit, he is part of the Foothills family. For years, he famously took time out of his busy schedule to give back by conducting riding clinics and worked closely with his good friend Cathy Inch, head coach and founder of Foothills Farm.
Many of our riders look up to Eric, impressed that Canada’s all-time winning rider in the international riding ring spent much of his formative years in the Sudbury area and continues to have a strong presence in northwestern Ontario.
As we cheer on Eric, please join us in offering our full support and in wishing him not only the best possible path but many more memorable rides ahead.