A year of campaigning at Training level eventing with me proved that Cahuna wanted to gallop and jump, but he still wasn't really happy. He was doing his job, but the passion wasn't there yet. That spark came alive when he met Tony. I remember the day Tony asked if he could try Cahuna. Tony, who was still a little lost himself, was coming off a 19yo kick ride pony, and was looking for something to launch him into the event world. My response- "I guess you can try him in your lesson, that way if it goes bad I can save you. He is kind of a jerk still" They never looked back. Tony was Cahuna in person form and they just understood each other. In a short 2 1/2 year period, Cahuna took Tony from trotting 2' courses to staring down there Preliminary debut. There were lots of bumps in the road, but man they learned a lot. Cahuna came alive with Tony, and many remarked about the bond between them. Tony blossomed as his relationship with Cahuna grew. He became an amazing young man, who graduted from high school while working for me. For these two, it was about the competition but more about the journey and process. They really were made for each other. Relationships like that remind me why I try so hard to give these horses a 2nd life.
It has been 2 weeks now since we laid Cahuna to rest, here at the farm. It's been 2 weeks of grieving, sharing, missing him, supporting Tony, getting life back to a "normal" track, and quite a bit of second guessing of my decisions in regard to his care. But no matter how I dissect the incident, and following care, I come to the same result- he had a career ending injury as the result of a colic episode that became life threatening when the infection raged out of control. Cahuna doesn't do stall rest, he doesn't handle not working and was a quirky, special horse who needed a special rider. When our vet, who has known Cahuna since birth, told me that he would never be happy or comfortable, it became very clear. He had taught us what he was destined to teach us, and his time here was over. He now rests with my first preliminary pony and one of the best school horses of all time, overlooking my arena where we train every day.
Tony- thank you for giving Cahuna the best years of his life. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this amazing process. Because that is what our sport is about- "Enjoy the Process"