I know I did the right thing for him and I'm glad he's not in pain any more.
It's a grim solace, but it's all I've got.
I'm left with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. That old red man changed my life in so many ways. It wasn't just that he let me learn to ride again. Everything about him, my Cuna Matata, everything made me a stronger, better person than I was the day before he paddled his way into my heart.
|Badass at 17|
And then he came. Not only was he huge and handsome and perfect for me, but his silly name was Hakuna Matata. No worries. For the rest of our days.
|I can tell that we are gonna be friends|
|The cutest face|
|Jumping a house|
|Just hang on|
I faced all kinds of struggles because I had to for him. I dealt with difficult personal situations. I dealt with uncomfortable work situations. I had to push myself, grow as an individual, and become stronger inside and out. It was never easy, but I can look back at the changes I've made and know that today, I am a better, stronger, wiser, and more compassionate human being because that old man horse just patiently waited for me to figure it out.
|Always the tongue|
Even now, I laugh.
|The best view|
|Reins flying in the wind|
|The bravest horse|
|Just starting to put the sticks up|
|Things we never forget|
|Unless it was lengthenings. Everyone likes those.|
Both of us hated dressage. Who wants to play in the sandbox when there are trails to explore? I do love ribbons though, so we took a few lessons and got sort of good. He gave me everything he had, but he was such a big fellow that sitting down on his hocks required a hell of a lot of expensive maintenance.
I didn't go to the racetrack to get a horse--I went because I still loved horses, but it hurt too much to hang out at Cuna's old barn and watch everybody else jump. The racetrack was a haven for me, a place to have fun and connect with the old man's past a little bit.
And then I met a horse named Courage.
It was too much. Too sappy, too silly. Hakuna Matata brought me to Courage. At the time, I thought it was sort of symbolic--Courage to overcome the obstacles of the past, courage to become the person I needed to be.
Over the last month, I've realized that there was more. Courage from the past, yes, but courage for the future. Courage to make the hard decisions. Courage to do the right thing. Courage going forward.
Courage is Cuna's legacy in my life. Courage to breathe, to live, to love. Courage that I can overcome.
Courage. The little bay face in the barn.
|The handsomest horse|
The one and only