"Isn't it sad what happened to Cedar?"
One of the regular riders casually said to me this morning, as I was putting Scottie's saddle on. I whipped around and stared at her in surprise.
"What's happened to Cedar?"
She stared back at me and suddenly turned arkward. "Oh.. uh.. maybe you should ask Christine about it."
I stood frozen for a few moments, my eyes hastily searching the paddocks for a sign of fat, grumpy old Cedar. Nearby, Melinda was gathering some hay, so I hastily did up Scottie's girth and called out to her, "Hey, do you know what's up with Cedar??" She looked up at me in surprise and replied, "Cedar died. Colic."
Cedar, the famous, fat, buck-skinned, grumpy old horse who would fart obnoxiously in everyone's faces. He was the second horse I learnt to ride on, after Nugget. Together, we sailed through the Beginner's classes as he patiently guided me through Pony games, poles, witch's hats and little brown jumps. His trot and canter were so smooth, they were akin to sitting on the back of an angel, and I sadly graduated from Cedar the schoolmaster to a more challenging horse.
Cedar was the grumpiest old grand-horse alive, but he was so remarkably reliable and patient and safe
, I once declared to Christine that I would trust him enough to put my frail, 81-year old grandmother on him! Everyone knew Cedar, even the store clerks down at Horseland in Dandenong knew him. He was one-of-a kind.
The best memory of Cedar was when I brought McCool to the barn for the first time, and I was brushing Cedar down. That horse is notorious for passing gas, and as McCool stood watching apprehensively from behind the wooden stalls, Cedar very politely and very slowly lifted his tail, opened up his arsehole as wide as he could and loudly emmited copious amounts of gas in McCool's direction with much delight. I still owe that horse a favor for farting at my boyfriend.
Ah, Cedar, how I loved you, you grumpy old snout with your pinned back ears and your impatient leg-stomping and tail-swishing and yet you so patiently and kindly let us ride you around bareback, let little screaming kids run around and under your feet, teach millions of beginners how to ride, teach millions of people how to brush, tack and groom a horse, always standing perfectly still and perfectly patient while millions of beginners fumbled with your halter buckles, put your bridle on all wrong, held your foot up arkwardly as they learn to use a hoofpick, use a wrong brush on your soft coat ... and at the end of the day you still come up to us with your soft muzzle for a kiss or cuddle, never once complaining or turning sour, never a kick or even a little nip to people whom would have frustrated the heck out of me, if I were you.
I think humans have a lot to learn from horses. When obstacles come up, like big, scary jumps - well, all you do is face your fear straight on and leap over them. If it scares you enough to spook or refuse, with a little encouragement, you can - and will - jump that fence. If your rider is idiot enough to do the wrong thing, you stop at the fence and refuse to jump until your rider asks correctly and nicely. Sometimes you jump it anyway, if just to save your rider's neck, because that's what partners do. I think that's a magnificent life principle - if an obstacle crops up, just canter confidently towards it and jump it. All it takes is a little encouragement.
Horses are so magnificently simple. If you ask the wrong way, they just don't do it until you ask correctly. It's something so basic, that humans should know by common sense, but for some strange dumbfound reason - don't.
Share your hay, lift your feet well, carry your head high, light up your eyes and nicker when you see your partner approaching. If your paddock-mate does something to annoy you, pin back your ears and tell them. Groom each other, starting from the lips down to the neck and down to the withers. Never say No to apples, and if you don't like someone - fart at them.
I've only just had time to sit down and mourn Cedar, the most patient and kindest horse I know. The fact that gladdens me is that he now has his much much much well-deserved rest up there in God's eternal pastures and I'll get to see him again when it's my turn to go there. =) Then I'll brush his mane again and he'll mischeviously stomp his foot at me, then turn to nuzzle me like normal.
If all Humans could have some Horse Sense in them - this world would be a much better place.
R.I.P Cedar (2/4/2008) - You will never be forgotten
Labels: cedar, horses, work