A guest post from my good friend Ellie. I'm wide awake at 3am, but I can't put words together.
Today, the world lost the best giant
red horse that ever existed. The best horse I never owned. The
unshakeable, unstoppable force that was--that is--Hakuna Matata.
Oh, Cuna. What can I say about him? There aren’t enough adjectives.
I have been on Team Cuna since the beginning, when my good friend Aimee
first started riding him and I somehow ended up as their biggest fan
and personal photographer. I’m not going to pretend that I can
articulate, or even know what he meant to her. But for me, watching them
evolve into the incredible team they became made me believe that hard
work and teamwork could make anything possible. He changed my mind
about Thoroughbreds, OTTBs in particular. He inspired me to want to ride
again. He helped me learn how to take the perfect dramatic headshot. He
put up with all our silly photo shoot ideas... as long as enough
peppermints were involved.
The universe is a funny place. At
the time, it seemed like fate that Aimee and Cuna found each other in
the first place. I watched as my friend rediscovered her confidence and
love of jumping. I watched Cuna blossom from a cranky, nondescript old
red Thoroughbred into a shiny, sculpted show jumping machine. No, he
never really liked dressage, but he was willing to try his hardest for
her. It was something intangibly special to watch them get better and
braver and more connected over the course of their time together. It
felt like a privilege.
It is a sad fact that the universe can
be as cruel as it is kind. Of course, good things can’t last forever,
but I wish with all my heart that Aimee and Cuna could have had a little
longer together. They still had shit to do. Last May, Cuna came up
lame. Then he came up REALLY lame. It became apparent over the
following months that he wasn’t going to get better. The best case
scenario would be to keep him as comfortable as possible. Aimee did
everything she could. In the beginning, Cuna took care of her. Now it
was her turn. Unfortunately, it has become clear that the kindest thing
to do for him is to end his suffering. Rationally, I know that is
true. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
I’ve come to terms with it, it feels wrong. I shouldn’t have to talk
about this horse in past tense. If anyone could have kicked laminitis
and Cushings in the ass, it was him. I guess sometimes, life has other
plans. It doesn’t feel right. It’s not fair. It can’t be, but it is. I
can hardly wrap my mind around it. My heart is in pieces. I am thankful
to have been able to see him one more time this past November, and
finally get to be with him on the other side of the camera. I will
treasure those photos forever.
No, he wasn’t my horse. But I
loved him like he was. Thank you, Aimee, for letting me be a part of
your journey together. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there today. Go
easy, red man, I was lucky to have known you.
Team Cuna to the end.