Ruffian....Just a baby...
(I'm sorry for the typos.... I am still crying so ahrd I can't see straight)
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.
Your not alone, *lots of BIG hugs* I watched it once, sobbed worse than any other time in my entire life, then one day at school we were doing film study. It was that movie. I refused to watch it and sat out in the hall sobbing on the phone with my instructer.
I know how you feel, at night after I watched it, I kept dreaming it was Love Story, or Bishop, or Traces, or Irish, or Silver, or Arrow, and would wake up screaming. No movie has ever affected me lik that. Dont worry, it just means you have a wonderful, big heart :)
Sad? omg Yes... but its also life...
Two winters ago at the barn I gave lessons at, worked cleaning stalls, and training horses: the barn owner had a daughter that had a TB mare, they owned her for 4 years or so... she (the daughter) decided she liked boys more than horses so I rode this TB mare for a few months to get her ready to sell, I'm not really into Tbs but this gal I would have taken home in a heart beat. She was so calm and smart :-)... they never did sell her anyway becuase the daughter started riding again.
Winter came and brought a ton of ice, sadly the horses were stalled for 3 days. We had nice 12 x 12 box stalls made from oak boards. One day I am cleaning stalls and the mare is standing on three legs, her left front she held in the air, and would not stand on. Vet came, buted her, couldnt really touch the leg and we could hardly get her out of the stalls to examine... short story; the mare stood on three legs for 4 days, we tried all kinds of pain meds... finally she went down and couldnt get up again. The vet told us putting her down would be more fair because if her leg wasnt broken somewhere she would have put it down already.
We put her down.
I cried for days and days. I was happy she was laying down already when they put her down, it makes it so much easier. After she was gone the vet could finally touch the leg and move it around safely.. the vet was shocked all he said was "Wow, her hock is totally blow apart... I have never seen anything like this, this is just horrible to feel". What happened to her? Did she really kick the wall THAT hard? Who knows... But it sure sucked. :-( Goes to show you just never know, so enjoy every day as it comes at you, its all you can really do anyway.
Oh yes. I know very well of the crazy things horses can do...But I have never seen a horse snap its leg like that. I never got close enough to Eight Belles to look at her....They didn't exactly welcome random spectators to jump the track rail and hold the second place filly while she died.
We had a colt out of Quincy Chex by Jester who was born with major brain damage. He wasn't breathing when he was born and I was alone....Mom and Dad were working and Toni was out of town again at a reining show. I called the vet and it took him an hour to get here, and the entire time I was resuscitating that colt. I milked Quincy Chex and tried to get him to drink, and for a little while he did. When the vet arrived he stuck so many needles into that colt....And he lived. But for two long months I spent every night with that colt in the foaling stall and Quincy Chex.
We named him RWR Lucky Sonofa Gun. Rightfully so, because that colt died three times on me and he didn't drink very much at all. He didn't stand for quite some time and when he did I had to support him with a sling. Many a bruise I got from his mother, who wasn't thrilled with me. I also had to drag Toni to help me, because as Lucky got older Quincy got more and more unhappy about me being close and I needed someone to tie her up to keep her away while I worked on him or while Toni worked on him while I held Quincy. It was a nightmare....But lucky it was summer so I didn't have school to worry about. I'm just lucky I had help from Toni. Mom was convinced that Lucky would die because he had no sense of really wanting to live....But she still helped, milking and mixing formula and building me a makeshift sling for him.
Lucky Sonofa Gun. Grew up to be a pain-in-the-butt, numbskull colt who was happy to be alive and thought of himself as a dog instead of a 15.3hh ball of sorrel and white fluff that takes a liking to jumping in your lap whenever you come to the gate with treats. We sold him to Toni as a Two year old and he started his training. Now he's Four and still a numbskull, a failure by all means because he can't run fast, turn tight, cut cows, sit a stop, or turn on his haunches. Sometimes I doubt my abilities to pick colts......But at least he's a good breeding horse, and such a sweet boy. He likes to share my food when I'm working at Toni's all day and makes a sweet confidence builder for her younger students to just walk/trot on. Hi slope is so jarring and uncoordinated that even I'm nervous about riding it. Apparantly brain damage held onto him.
Random story about my Lucky. Lil' bit of a ramble.
^^ Aaawwww thats a beautiful story. Im glad you didnt give up on him, as some people might have
Ruffian remains one of my favorite TBs of all time... right along with Phar Lap, Go For Wand, and Sunday Silence. And of course there is Zenyatta...
Yes, Zenyatta is an amazing racehorse. I can't wait or Zardana to come on the track though.....She'll be the Rachel Slayer ^^
Yes, but unfortunately I didn't see the race myself. I suppose I'll find it on youtube somewhere, though.
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