I have never cried so much in my life.
I've seen puppies and foals slip away right in my arms. I've seen children screaming in the Emergency Room. I've been to funerals for people I have been very close to. I cry, yes, but never, ever, have I sobbed and screamed so hard....
My little Ruffian....I knew of her races, yes, but I did not read into how she actually died. I read the book about her, and cried. Then I watched the movie out at my trainers barn in Gringo's stall....and I was pressed into a corner, screaming because I couldn't watch it. Gringo, being the good boy he was, came over to see me and make sure I was alright That made me cry more.
I knew something was going to happen to her. I saw the slow motion and her leg snap.....and completeely broke down. I screamed "No!" in the middle of the barn and I could hear people talking about how I'd gone mad again and shouldn't be disturbed. After that,it was all a chant of "No, baby....Little baby.....No no no, you're just a baby....."
And right now I am sitting in Toni's house with makeup running down my face and Toni making hot chocolate in the kitchen. I know its nearly midnight but every Friday one of her Stablehands holds a ladies Night Ride and that's why I'm here, sobbing until my eyes bleed.
Ruffian. She was nothing more than a baby......poor baby....no horse deserves that, and I've seen a lot of nasty, aggressive, downright mean horses who I've sometimes wanted to strangle....But not even the most aggravating horse needs to go down like that. Why? What went wrong? I don't care what they say. Ruffian won that day against Foolish Pleasure. She was ahead when she broke down and showed no signs of slowing. She was great.
But what really got me was after the surgery to her leg....when she was waking up....She still thought she was running. My little baby...She had a chance until she woke up and hit her other leg......
Even though I haven't looked at the movie for at least half an hour now, I am re-living that moment. But now....I see a beautiful sorrel paint stepping wrong and snapping his leg, falling.....Dying on the barrel course or in the cutting arena.
Why has this movie affected me so much? I don't know. But now its so easy for me to imagine my own horses doing that exact same thing. What if it was Gringo? Annie? Rebel? Rico? April? Sally? JJ? Reign?
We'll miss you honey....There has never been a greater racehorse. Secretariat....Man O' War....Seabiscuit.....That would be a race to see. But I have no doubt in my mind Ruffian could smoke them all. There's just something about her that makes her the best. And she knows it.
Present tense. Because as long as we know her, she's alive. She's not dead until she's forgotten. And as long as I'm alive, she will be too. Call me overly dramatic, I don't care. There is nothing that will make me cry more than a racehorse going down. Eight belles was one...Ruffian is now another. A terrifying imagine in my mind that won't go away. I was at the Derby when Eight Belles died. This was just as real for me.