‘One of a kind’: retirement for ‘little mare with huge heart’ who scored Olympic medal

  • Eric Lamaze’s Olympic bronze medal-winning ride Fine Lady 5 was officially retired in a special ceremony at CHI Geneva (10 December) ahead of starting her new venture as a broodmare.

    The 18-year-old (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) arrived at Eric’s Torrey Pines Stable in 2014 and the pair scooped numerous top finishes, earning a spot on the Canadian team at Rio 2016.

    They helped the side to fourth place and made it through to the individual final, toppling their only pole of the Games during the gold medal jump-off.

    “She is one of a kind because she was not a horse that anyone thought could reach the level that she did,” said Eric.

    “With Hickstead, he was favoured to win an Olympic medal and it was up to me to make a mistake. With Fine Lady, it was the partnership that we developed and the trust we had in each other that earned us the Olympic medal.”

    The pair’s other major achievements included winning the €300,000 Rolex International Jumping Riders Club top 10 final that year at CHI Geneva. It was here, five years later, that Fine Lady officially bowed out of the sport.

    Her first “husband” is set to be Eric’s star stallion Dieu Merci.

    “I love that cross together, so we’re going to collect some embryos and go that way,” he told H&H in a recent interview.

    Eric, who also won individual gold and team silver from the 2008 Olympics with Hickstead, added that Fine Lady is a horse he will “never forget and will be greatly missed” from his string.

    “Winning a medal with that horse means a lot to me,” he said, thanking co-owners the Zieglers for their support over the years.

    “She is a great little mare with a huge heart that believed in any adventure you faced her with. She became the leading horse in my stable, with the ability to win at any height, when she wasn’t bought to be that. Winning an Olympic medal and the Rolex Top 10 Final demonstrated her huge heart.”

    He added: “I’m happy we were able to give her the retirement that she deserves, and especially to have the ceremony in Geneva during a very special competition that she won. Hopefully we’ll have many Fine Lady babies running around in the future as she continues in the sport as a broodmare.”

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