Monday, December 17, 2012

Mad Cuna Love

In my early days with Cuna, I made a comment about just how amazing he was, and one of my favorite eventing blogs, Team Flying Solo, responded, "Now you're starting to understand Mad Solo Love."

What she meant was that crazy, all-consuming passion for an animal because of the incredible amount of trust the two of you have been able to develop. It seems almost silly, but the once you experience it, you know what I'm talking about.

Due to my Cuna fixation, I've noticed a trend among bloggers who have what seems like the same horse that I do. They're big, red, touchy, and OTTBs (and one QH). They aren't easy. They aren't everyone's ride. They wouldn't necessarily effect another rider the same way they do their own. Without further ado, I give you: THE CUNAS.

The original, the one that started it all:

I suspect all of you know him, but he's an opinionated red QH gelding who exceeded everyone's expectations and took the Team up the training level eventing.

He isn't an OTTB, but he's an exceptional guy. Full of sass, ready to work, and just the right horse for his owner.

She coined the term, "Mad Solo Love," which I interpret as "Mad Cuna Love". He's red. He's tough. He's everything an event horse could ever be.

That brings us to Cuna, logically.

You've all watched Cuna teach me the ways of a jumping rider. He took me from cross rails to our present awesome all by just being himself, day in and day out.

He's by turns goofy and noble, gentle and swashbuckling.

He's big, he's red, he doesn't bend, he hates dressage, and I think he is the best horse ever.

I'm not alone. There are more! Meet Amy and Steady, of Slow and Steady wins the race. I always liked Steady, but once I got Cuna, I began to understand what Amy was talking about. Like Cuna, Steady spent a long time at the track. Like Cuna, he's seen pretty much everything.

Like Cuna, he's big and long and hot.

Like Cuna, he gives Amy confidence and takes her places she couldn't imagine.

Like Cuna, he has his own silly meltdowns over ridiculous things that you just have to laugh at. 

Cuna, Steady, and Solo are part of a group of amazing red horses that make the world better just by their very existence.

I was impressed that there were three Cunas out there, but I've since began to realize there are more.

My first inkling was this handsome fellow, a giant red dude by the name of Charlie. He's big and stiff and generous and I just fell in love. His owner and I can laugh about the many skin ailments of our gelded princesses, their high standards of tack and care, and their incredible giving natures.

Charlie is taking his mom some pretty cool places. They finished out the year at novice and are getting ready for some fun adventures. Every time I read about Charlie, I feel like I'm really reading about Cuna. It makes me laugh, but it reminds me that other people can share our adventure.

But wait! There's more.

Meet Dandylonglegs. I stumbled across his blog one day and the more I read, the more I laughed. Why? He's big. He's red. He's an OTTB. He's opinionated, sensitive, and willing. He's stubborn and stiff and careful.

He's Cuna, just the young, green version. I love watching this pair progress because I feel like I'm watching Cuna's education. He's already an awesome horse, but I have a feeling he's only going to get better with age.

As if that wasn't enough, just a week or so later, I was introduced to another Charlie. The first time I saw a picture of him, I just started laughing.

His long neck. His straight back end. His cute little face. He was on the track a long time, but he just came off.

Lauren, his owner, started a blog for him, and I sure hope she sticks with it. He may be young and green, but I think we have another Cuna in the making.

So there you go! I adore my Cuna Matata, but don't give up just because you can't ever have him. There are other people out there with different versions at different ages. I love OTTBs anyways, and there is a very special place in my heart for this big, red, inflexible ones who take good care of their owners, regardless of their development stage. Their goofy devotion leaves their owners with no choice but to indulge in mad Cuna love. 

Did I miss anyone? Who else has had that horse that just suited you so perfectly that you knew you'd found the one?


  1. I simple LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I have to tell you I have never been a "chestnut person" but since Steady and seeing the similarities in all of these boys I may just be hooked. I am about to do a post on my OTTB obsession and where it came from. There is just nothing like the heart that these "old" red boys have.

  2. Looks like Mad Red Love to me! I love my red mare - she is perfect for me and blows my mind with her intelligence and sassiness. She's the real deal for me - cute, red, opinionated, and oh so sweet-face when she's not mare-face. It's taking me so long to figure out how to ride her but I think we're going on to great things this coming summer! Basically, I love her.

  3. My horse is a Blood Bay not Chestnut but he's the love of my life, even with all his shenanigan I wouldn't trade him for the world.

  4. When I went horse shopping, I wanted a big chestnut gelding. Clearly I failed!

    1. To each their own. I think Cuna is the summation of all that is wonderful about horses. My friend who rode him HATED him. All is well.

  5. Awwwe, you gave me a warm fuzzy. Solo and I actually never got to our Training 3-day because our Horrible Awful No Good Very Bad Day stopped us both in our tracks. But he did make it to T level and completed all three phases (ok, not at one event). And I will never stop thinking that if I had just scratched him that Sunday morning, he might still be there...but then again, it really was more than his body could do, he did it for me with his heart. And now I am getting such joy from watching him alternatively care for and torment Amber and pass on his amazing magic. Here's to Mad Red Love!

    1. Oh and (yes, I'm replying to my own post) he is an Appendix, so he does have half TB awesomeness. ;-P

    2. My mistake. I thought he retired at the 3 day. Regardless, he's an enigma. The two of you together? :)

  6. LOVE! You summed up my feelings for Charlie perfectly. It must be a red head thing - wouldn't trade him for anything. I never pictured myself with a chestnut OTTB but can't imagine myself with anything else now. Thanks for including us!

  7. Love this post! Kwik's not a chestnut, but he is full of OTTB awesomeness! He's green, crooked, and a total goofball, but I probably would have quit riding if it wasn't for him. I've definitely got mad Kwik love :)

  8. Aww! I don't have a big red gelding, but I know the spirit of that type of horse. I have a little white mare who is one heck of a spitfire and she makes me laugh every time I ride her! Horses like this make every ride a joy because every ride is new and fresh!

  9. Praise for the big, long, hot and red OTTB's. I honestly wouldn't have them any other way (even if mine is red bay). There's just something about them that makes them so unique and special, despite the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of OTTBs. I feel so connected to my mare in so many ways, we were definitely meant to be together. I refuse to think of the day she won't be my head that day can never come!

  10. Owl may not be red, but he is HOT, he is stiff and can jump the heck out of anything, and not a lot of people can ride him! Yes my horse is hot! Lol... Def not red tho...

  11. Such an awesome post!
    Koda may not be red, but somedays I think he has the attitude of one. The tail swish is his "tell". Once his attitude comes out, be prepared for the swishing. Arabians and their tails!

  12. I love this post!! Total awesomeness!
    Ritchie used to be a big red, hot OTTB. But as you know I no longer have him.

  13. Great post!! :) Love those quirky ponies. I think Hampton may have some OTTB chestnut in him somewhere ... haha ... alas he turned out to be a big bay gelding who prefers to go slow.

  14. Love this! I'm usually a lurker, but I had to post that although I don't have a blog, I do have a sensitive, quirky, red, tb mare who I DEFINITELY have "Mad Phyllis Love" for. She is absolutely not everyone's ride, but she takes excellent care of me, teaches me tons, lets me have all sorts of crazy adventures, and makes my heart swell every time I see her face poking out of her stall. :)

  15. Well my OTTB who is slighty crazy and the one for me is a bay so I guess I will have to start my own "Groupie" group lol....

    I do have a hot Chestnut though, except he's a Trakehner Thoroughbred so not quite the same.

    Either way I love them both and they are right for me, much like the Cunas for you all!

  16. Ah love this post!

    One day I hope Henry is as well schooled and good at his job as Cuna! We are working hard to get there!

    I LOVE me a red ottb gelding too ;)

  17. This is a wonderful post! I love reading about genuine appreciation for one's horse. I am a fan of Cuna and the "original", Solo. Solo also gets major props in my book for his QH blood. My guy is not red or technically TB, but he has tons of heart and energy to burn. If I were an eventing gal, I am sure that he would be up for it.

  18. Awww! What a great post. Thank you for including Dandy. It's amazing how many similarities there are in these horses. And the most important one is that they are all amazing, willing, happy horses.

  19. Just stumbled across your blog and I think this is too cute!! And awesome :) I as well have a big red OTTB gelding. I picked him up almost a year ago off the track, he's big, he's green, he's lazy, he's energetic, he's sensitive, he's bold and brave, and he's a princess. Hahahaha. He's such a complex creature I still feel like I've only scratched the surface. Thanks for giving me a smile and letting me appreciate my goofball of a horse!

  20. I don't have a big red OTTB. I have a little red horse(well, a pony really, but don't tell her I said that) without a trace of thoroughbred in her ancestry, although you never can tell, with her. But she's a wonderful, proud, prancing battle cry of a horse with a heart of solid gold. She's a real firecracker, but she always takes care of me. On her, this nervous rider morphs into a happy hacker who squeals with joy every time her (slightly loony) mount gives a big fat buck. She doesn't bend. She occasionally charges off like a demented Valiant Steed. She only ever leads with her right foreleg and is as stiff as an old lady and as graceful as a flame. She's Skye's The Limit, and I wouldn't exchange her for the world.
    Thanks for a great post, and a fantastic blog!

  21. I have a big bay OTTB, and even though he is a green bean he has taken my confidence up SO MUCH. I love this post and I love you spreading the "Mad Cuna Love" :)

  22. Silly red OTTBs are the best for sure! My red OTTB and I have been together for 9 years, and he's always taken the best care of me. Keep spreading the love!

  23. I LOVE this post! And thanks for introducing us to blogs we may not be familiar with (not that I need more to read since I can't even keep up with the ones I do follow). :)

    I feel kind of left out of the Mad Red Love club, since I swoon over black, not red lol. However I do believe I've found "the one" in Chrome. I love that horse like no other horse I've ever met. We haven't had big exciting adventures together yet, but he's only three, it will come in time. :D

  24. There is a big red "Cuna" at my barn! He's a big, sweet goof that pretends he can't possibly bend, but will pack you over anything with ease! Not an OTTB, though. Ah well, close enough!

    I absolutely understand the feeling of finding your perfect horse! My crazy little Morgan mare and I are absolutely made to be together. Everyone said I was crazy for buying a completely green, opinionated mare, when there was a nice, big calm TB that I'd been leasing that was for sale at the same time, but it was just one of those things that you have to follow your gut on. And even though my little mare is still quite a handful at times, I would trust her with anything.

    Love your blog! :D

  25. I realize I am late on this post, but just ran across it while avoiding working at work. (shhhh)

    I do not have a big long OTTB, like you ladies, but I can sure relate to how you feel. What I do have is a stock little paint gelding who is the love of my life. He was a roping horse, ridden like a freight train all his life. Too many no win situations, and riders dumped head first in the dirt got him passed around for less and less money each time. By time I got him he was pretty much worthless by most people's standards. He is so sensitive in certain situations, you'd think he was a green horse. But put him out on a cattle drive and not only will he out work every other horse out there, he is afraid of nothing. I would ride him up a tree and down fox hole and never even bat an eye. My trainer said, "He'll never be good at much of anything, he has too much baggage" so I found another trainer, and we have started on this great journey to compete in Ranch Horse Competitions. He is learning to trust, and to give mentally, and I am learning to be a better rider. Every time he learns something new, I swear he gets this look on his face that says ,"Damn I'm good!"

    My mom keeps sending me ads for "bomb proof- do anything horses" I finally had to tell her to stop. To get a different horse would require me to sell mine. Trax is not for sale. He will never be for sale. Why would I sell off a horse with a heart the size of Texas, so I can get a horse that anybody can ride?


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