I don't even know how to put into words the enormity of what my old man horse meant to me. He canters through my dreams and when I wake up, I can almost touch him.
But he's still gone.
I know that all the fun I'm having with Courage is only because Cuna carried me through a very rough time in my riding and brought me out on the other side, a stronger and more confident version of myself.
I miss the view between those red ears. I miss all the time we spent puttering around the hills and roads without a care in the world.
There's still a gaping hole in my psyche that's supposed to be filled by a big red horse with big brown eyes who paddles on both front legs. I don't want to sound dramatic or crazy or like I can't let go. It's not that. I understand what happened and while I'll never know why it had to happen to us, the nightmares have mostly subsided.
It's just that he was so quintessentially my horse. My every decision was made in light of what was best for us. Because we were a team. Because those crazy goofy adventures were never just my idea.
After a great ride on Courage, I'm all smiles. I clean up my stuff, get in the car, and drive home with a red horse in my head. I think about him when I'm quiet and alone.
He was the one that would always be quiet and alone with me.
We understood each other.
Maybe someday I'll have that again. I know it was special and not something everyone gets to experience. I know I was lucky to have it once, even for so short a time.
I see flashes of it with Courage every once in a while. He's an old soul, like Cuna. A war horse, like Cuna.
Kind and gentle, yet sensitive, opinionated, and passionate. Noble, but silly.
I miss you, red man.