SPORTS

Eric Lamaze narrows search for Olympic mount at Spruce Meadows

06/05/2012 10:16 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

The search is down to two for Eric Lamaze.

The Canadian show jumping champion and Olympic gold medallist spoke to reporters at Spruce Meadows in Calgary on Tuesday about the progress he's making looking for a new horse following the death of his previous mount, Hickstead, in 2011.

Verdi, a 10-year-old gelding, and Derly Chin de Muze, a nine-year-old mare, are the two horses in contention as Lamaze's mount at the London Olympics this summer. Lamaze said the event at Spruce Meadows starting on Wednesday will determine his choice.

"It's very much an open race and the next few weeks here will let me know," Lamaze said. "I think the horses will just sort of speak for me at the end and we'll see which one.

"Verdi has much more experience, but I don’t have as much experience with him. Derly doesn’t have the experience, but I’ve have competed in more classes with her this year."

No matter which horse is selected, it will mark a new chapter in Lamaze's career — one the 44-year-old from Schomberg, Ont. considered ending after Hickstead suffered a fatal aortic rupture during a competition in Verona, Italy this past November.

Lamaze and Hickstead competed together for seven years, the pinnacle being a gold medal win in Beijing in 2008.

"I've been asked a lot over the last month or even before that 'Are you going to defend your title as an Olympic champion?'" Lamaze said on Tuesday. "I'm not feeling like I'm going to defend my title. I think with Hickstead, I would have felt like I was defending my title."

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