As some of you will know, it is with much sadness that I have had my naughty little Cubby laid to rest today. Two years ago he was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in one stifle, and it had progressed to the point that veterinary management of the joint was no longer able to keep him comfortable and functioning at his job. For those of you who knew him, he was not a horse to be a pasture ornament, nor a trail horse. He was a competitor through and through, and so, this difficult decision had to be made. I do believe that “in sickness and in health, for better or worse” applies to the animals in our care as well.
After I had decided that he no longer wanted to play the cross-country game, Cubby spent last fall and early winter with Blaire in Vernon and Kelowna, and I know she loved him as much as I did. I really believe that he loved that life – stabled, with girls to clean up after him and a nice safe ride in the arena every day with his own little girl (he never did like to share). But even that was proving to be a challenge for his uncooperative stifle. He had become stilted in his movement and was starting to do those nasty, unexpected stops again. We brought him home to the ranch in January, where he has domineered over the “youngster” pen and had them all running in fear, so he was good and happy for his last two months, terrorizing everyone!
He never won an event, but he placed well and often throughout his career, only once going prelim [preliminary level], although not successfully, as that was the beginning of the end. The stifle was getting too bad to manage. The highlight of his career was carrying me to the Safe Rider Award at Rebecca Farm in 2008, which is so ironic, given the many times I fell off him!
I do not write this to illicit sympathy from anyone, but out of respect for a great little horse who never got to where he should have in life. He was a horse I predicted would go far (and so had he), but that was just not to be. I learned an enormous amount from him as a horseman and a rider, and for that I will always be grateful.
Cubby was found for me by a friend off the track in Washington 5 1/2 years ago, and I will admit that he was the first (and only) horse I have bought sight unseen. They can’t choose us, but we get to choose them, and I know I made a good choice – I just hope that he thought so too!
Many thanks to Dr. Colin Mickelson of Kamloops Large Animal Clinic for doing all he could to keep him sound, and ultimately helping him on his way on his last journey.
Cubbers, I love you to bits, and may you have a blast tearing blankets, ripping bandages off and beating up water buckets in your next home – no more dressage for you to tolerate!
See ya on the Rainbow Bridge.
Free Kin Passion (WA), 2002, g., Free At Last—Breeze Me, by Best Turn.
Raced two years, 13-1-1-0, $9,084.