Friday, January 17, 2014

Cuna

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.

 

Even though 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.
 

87 comments:

  1. Oh god, Aimee. I can't even imagine. These phenomenal big red horses make such a huge impact in our lives. You two were so special together, and his joy in your partnership together was very apparent.

    Go Cuna, you'll be missed.

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  2. I am so very sorry. Cuna was a stunning horse, outside and in.

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  3. I am so sorry Aimee :'( We will miss you Cuna!

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  4. I am so so so sorry Aimee. I know those words mean very little, but I I really am heartbroken for you:( rest easy, sweet boy.

    *hugs*

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  5. I live continents away from Cuna, and I'm crying for him. He was a truly special mean-ass bastard horse and he changed your life. I'm so sorry that you had to lose him so soon. God bless you.

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  6. What a wonderful tribute to that big red horse! Thank you Ellie for your words, haven't met you, except through your photos, but we both valued a horse we didn't own....

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  7. You're a good friend to both be there for her and to gift her with such a touching tribute, Ellie.

    Aimee, there are no words. He was something special, and I am so sorry,

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  8. He was a special, special boy, and you two were beautiful together. I know your heart is broken, but you did your best by him through it all, and hopefully that will be some consolation. Remember him when he was at his mean-ass bastard best - that's how he would want you to always think of him. Many hugs from all of us at Wyvern Oaks.

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  9. So beautifully written. I hope Aimee can find peace in the memories made with Cuna. There is a special place in heaven just for our best friends.

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  10. What an absolutley beautiful tribute to an amazing partner and friend. It's amazing how much these wonderous animals touch our hearts and our lives - even when we've never met them.

    Aimee, I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. I hope you are able to find comfort in memories and in the friends who care about you.

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  11. So very sorry to read this. Please know that our thoughts are with you.

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  12. I'm fighting back tears. Cuna was an amazing horse. I was so happy when Aimee started riding him because it seemed as if those two together could accomplish anything they set their mind to. The world will be a slightly darker place without him.

    Beautifully written post.

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  13. Red horses are the best. He'll have some great company up there.

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  14. So sorry to hear about Cuna. My thoughts are with Aimee, Cuna, and you.

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  15. This breaks my heart. RIP Cuna. I hope you are galloping through lush fields with my beloved Embellish.

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  16. I am so sorry. Losing a dear friend is such a hard thing to do. it may be incredibly sappy, but every time I hear Toby Keith's song, Cryin' For Me, it reminds me of a horse I lost a few years ago.

    "Got the news on Friday morning, but a tear I couldn't find
    You showed me how I am supposed to live
    And now you showed me how to die

    I was lost 'til Sunday morning, I woke up to face my fear
    While writing you this goodbye song, I found a tear

    I'm gonna miss that smile, I'm gonna miss you my friend
    Even though it hurts the way it ended up, I'd do it all again
    So play it sweet in heaven 'cause that's right where you wanna be
    I'm not cryin' 'cause I feel so sorry for you, I'm cryin' for me"

    My heart goes out to you, Aimee. Hugs.

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  17. I've heard it said
    that horses come into our lives for a reason
    bringing something we must learn
    and we are led
    to those who help us most to grow
    if we let them
    and they help us in return
    Now I don't know if I believe that's true
    but I know I'm who I am today
    because I knew you.

    peace and blessings to you. so much.

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  18. Things just won't be the same without this big red horse in our lives... his spirit lives on in each and every red OTTB around (mine included). xo

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  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved Cuna :(
    Sending lots of hugs and love!

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  20. So many tears, he was the best, you guys were the best. Thanks to Ellie for finding the words to say when we were lost in the swirling fog. Shutting that stall door and driving away were so incredibly painful, I've never felt so un-innate. Lots of love going out to you, Courage says he has big shoulders to cry on.

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  21. So sorry to hear about Cuna. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  22. So sad. We are bless with our horses as long as God allows and then must say, "Goodbye," always sooner than we want to. But I do believe it is the greatest gift to be given the privilege of giving them all the love and care we can when they are with us.

    Cuna was one of the best loved and appreciated horses I've known in quite a while. You were all lucky to have shared his gift . Let those memories help heal the pain of his loss.

    RIP, Cuna, the love you gave and got was priceless.

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  23. A very, very sad day. He was such a good boy, and your journey together inspired me in so many ways. Sending you warm vibes for this impossibly hard time right now.

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  24. I am sorry from the bottom of my heart Aimee. I wish words could make it better. My heart goes out to you.

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  25. I'm sp sorry to read this Aimee, he was one in a million.
    May he rest in peace.

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  26. Oh, I am so, so sorry to see this. I'm very glad that you and Cuna had each other while you did and very saddened that it could not have been for longer. Take care...

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  27. I'm really, really sorry for your loss Aimee. It seems like the best ones are always taken too soon -- and he was one of the best.

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  28. Oh, shit, I am so, so sorry. I can't even imagine your pain and heartbreak. What a beautiful, wonderful boy he was. I'm glad you had each other for the time that you did.

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  29. I'm very sorry for your loss. It's so great that he had you.

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  30. It feels odd commenting on what is basically my own post, but I just wanted to tell you again that I am so sorry for your loss. The world will never be the same.

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  31. To place your horse's need for you to let him leave his failing body above your need to keep him with you - that - is the greatest and purest love.

    --Cynthia Garrett

    So sorry that you have to go through this. It's never easy and I've been there myself with my big red horse.

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  32. So sorry again :( There is nothing like losing a horse, and I know you love him and will miss him terribly. Glad he's no longer in pain though, even if it hurts us.

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  33. I'm terribly sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you.

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  34. I'm so sorry to hear this. He was such a special boy.

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  35. Brena/Eventer79 shared this news on FB last night, and I didn't want to believe it. I am so very, very sorry. We all know how much he meant to you. "Letting them go is the last, best thing we can do for those we love." - Dr. P, my wonderful vet.

    Take care of yourself and know that Cuna will forever remain in your heart.

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  36. Oh Aimee! I heard the news from Project Runaway - I can't believe Cuna's gone. I scrambled to your blog hoping I had read her words wrong. My heart hurts for you so much. He was a priceless wonder-horse. I've never ever heard anyone praise and gush over a horse like you did, you guys gave me hope for my own horse. I am so sorry, this shouldn't have happened.

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  37. I am so sorry to hear this. I'm glad you were able to give something special to each other. It was a joy following your story.

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  38. So sorry for your loss...

    The Flyaway Horse

    Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse-
    Perhaps you have seen him before;
    Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
    Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
    For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright,
    That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh
    And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane,
    Is up on his heels and away!
    The Moon in the sky,
    As he gallopeth by,
    Cries: 'Oh what a marvellous sight!'
    And the Stars in dismay
    Hide their faces away
    In the lap of old Grandmother Night.

    EUGENE FIELD

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  39. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I've been reading your blog for a while... what a great, loving soul.

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  40. Aimee, I am so so so sorry. My heart breaks for you. Cuna had such a presence here and I really felt like I knew him. He's a horse that stands out in a blog-verse full of horses. The news came as a shock and I spent a long time crying for him and for you last night. Thinking of you and remembering him...

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  41. I am so sorry for your loss Aimee. What a lovely post from your friend.

    There are no words to heal the pain experienced when losing a horse you love. I only say to remember the good times you had together, and be happy that he spent the last of his life with you.

    RIP Cuna

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  42. Sweet Aimee, I am here for you. I am so so sorry and I wish I could take every ounce of your pain. Much love from Olivia & I

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  43. I know I've never actually met Cuna, but you always did such a wonderful job of describing and photographing him that I felt like I knew him (and you) personally. Perhaps it was all the similarities between Cuna and Prince that made me so enamored with Cuna, but whatever the reasons he's always been one of my absolute favorite horses to read about.

    Words can't express how sorry I am that you had to say goodbye to him and make the impossible decision. Cuna has touched many people and will be greatly missed.

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  44. I'm so sorry. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures with Cuna, but more so I have enjoyed reading about your love for him and how he ADORED you (obvious from the photos). He was a once-in-a-lifer. *hugs*

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  45. I'm so sorry to hear this. Cuna was lucky to have you as his caretaker and I'm glad you got to have Cuna in your life, though I wish it was for longer. :(

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  46. Oh no. I am so heartbroken for you. Remember how special you were to him too. I never thought I'd end up owning a big red OTTB and we both send hugs your way.

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  47. Wow, what a wonderful and special friend to write up that perfect tribute! Indeed, I feel privledged and honoured to have shared in their journey as well. Someday soon, I hope we will be able to be rid of the horror that is laminitis -- that is two irreplaceable Big Reds it stole (Secretariat too). I know Cuna is in good company with my beloved Smokey-girl and others, but he will be missed by so many. Hugs to you, Aimee, and all of Cuna's family.

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  48. No! I am so so sorry to hear :( That is such a hard thing to go through... it took me almost three years to get the guts to get another horse when I had to put my guy down. It's so rough. But I know you gave him a good life and lots of love and I know he appreciated it!

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  49. So lucky to have such a special relationship... sometimes these are one in a million. Sending you all my loving thoughts and healing energy...

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  50. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Anyone who followed your blog could see that you two were meant for each other. You gave him a wonderful life and the kindest end of life. My thoughts are with you <3

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  51. I am so so sorry to read this. Words cannot explain. I teared up reading this. I know how much Cuna man meant to you. You guys did incredible things together and it breaks my heart to read this. I cannot imagine how you must feel right now. Sending lots of hugs your way!

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  52. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for loving him, and for having the courage to do right by him. :'(

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  53. I'm so sorry, Aimee. Thank you so much for sharing him with us, for sharing your time with him in your words and pictures. He will live forever in our hearts and memories.

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  54. Though I've never met you Aimee, I truly felt like I got to know the incredible Cuna through your storytelling, and I'm so so sorry to hear this news. I lost my own special red horse this summer and so I know full well that nothing anyone can say will truly make you feel better at this time, but please know that there are many of us thinking of you, and mourning with you for the loss of your wonderful guy. Your did right by him, and you were both so very lucky to have found one another. Goodbye Cuna - may you rest in peace.

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  55. So sorry to hear this Aimee. :(

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  56. No words...my heart breaks for you Aimie. Thank you for giving that horse as much love as he could possibly receive. Cuba you were loved by so many whom never had the privileged to kiss your muzzle. You were a very special horse and leave behind a more confident Aimie who learned to love riding and jumping because of you. <3

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  57. With tears streaming down my face, my heart is breaking for your loss. I know this pain you are feeling, it runs deep. I also know that Cuna will forever be by your side now, forever young, forever healthy, forever happy and content.

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  58. My deepest condolences to Aimee and all who knew and loved the Cuna horse. I've loved reading Aimee's stories about him. Such a character he was and he will be long remembered by all of us.

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  60. So sorry to hear this, Aimee. You were a great team together and did incredible things. I pray that you will find peace in your memories of him soon and rejoice in the time you had together.

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  61. Oh, crap. These animals bring so much joy into our lives, but it hurts like hell when they have to leave us. Rest knowing that you did right by the Cunafish--you gave him such a wonderful life with you, retired him when he needed it, and when you couldn't fix him you took his pain and made it your own. I know you're hurting like crazy right now, but I hope soon you'll be able to look back on your time together and focus on all the great things you did together and the strong bond you shared.
    Hugs, jingles, and healing vibes headed your way!
    And gallop on over that rainbow bridge, Mr. Cuna! Please say hi to my boy Mac for me, and make sure he shows ya around and introduces you to everyone. :-)

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  62. Very sorry to hear of Cuna's death. If only it could have been prevented.

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  63. My heart goes out to you Aimee. I loved reading about how much Cuna affected your riding and life, and I can imagine how losing such a big part of your life must hurt. Your took excellent care of him, and spared him suffering which is one of the greatest gifts we can give imo.

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  64. I can't even say how sorry I am for your loss Aimee. I'm sitting here crying for you and Cuna because I know you two shared such a special bond and to lose him like this must be so devastating. Words are inadequate to express such a pain, I can only pray that time and happy memories will bring healing to your heartache.

    He will always be in your heart. ♥

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  65. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sure it was the right decision, even though that doesn't give you any solace. He was so lucky to have you.

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  66. My heart is so broken for your loss...we all know how much you loved that boy, and in the end, making those painful brave decisions are heart swallowing. I hope you find peace in knowing he was a very loved horse and didn't suffer.

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  67. I am so sorry for your loss. What a story. He was obviously a special boy and it is a kindness to know he wasn't asked to suffer longer.

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  68. I'm so sorry for your loss Aimee. Cuna leaves a large hole to fill in both your heart and the internet. You gave him the best home he could have asked for and all the love in the world.

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  69. So so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine your pain.

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  70. I am so, so sorry. Cuna seemed like an amazing horse. May he always live on in your heart.

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  71. I'm so sorry to hear this. At least you can take some comfort, if there's any to be had, in knowing that he was well loved

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  72. So sorry for your loss. It's an impossible decision to make. Rest easy knowing your sweet boy is no longer hurting. Thoughts are with you.

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  73. School and work have kept me closed off from the blogging world for the past few months, safe from the occasional lapse into distraction, but I'm terribly sorry to have missed this. I could say a lot of things, but while reading this the one thought that stuck out in my mind was how happy this horse made you, and how happy you made him. So while I'm very sorry for your loss, I think an equally important sentiment is this: I'm so happy you got to share so much time together.
    Love & hugs from the Great White North
    xoxo,
    Kate

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  74. I have been so behind on reading blogs, that I had no idea anything had happened to Cuna until just now. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I lost my Siberian Husky a few weeks ago so I can relate to the pain you're feeling. It is so hard to let them go, but it is the best thing we can do, releasing them from their pain. I'm so happy you found each other and had the short time you had together. You both gave each other so much and even though I've never met either of you I could see how special your bond was. My thoughts are with you.

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