There is still a 1,000 pound hole in my heart and even after three months, tears regularly pool in my eyes as I try to process and accept that the horse who rekindled my love of horses will no longer greet me as I enter the barn. The photo I took the day Cigar joined the family shows him sticking his tongue out as I clicked the shutter. If only I knew then what a wild ride it would be. Cigar would test the limits of my patience, the limits of my credit card, and my ability to forgive. I think somehow he knew I always would be there for him.
He joined the family in December 2005. His inability to work in a group without thinking it was a race prompted me to try dressage. While I found dressage to be challenging and a worthy pursuit, Cigar would challenge the judges to find something positive to say. “Nice Braids!” was a common comment (though truth be told they were not). He found the 20×60 meter ring to be tedious. He was never happier than when he was allowed to stretch his legs and gallop. His ears would prick forward and you were merely a passenger while he found his stride.
This year was a challenging one for him as you could see his body failing to do what he loved the most. He started the year with hoof issues. A heart murmur was detected by the vet in early August. It was the return of the lymphangitis in September which was just too much for his body to fight…In the end, I knew I had to let him go to run free over the bridge, free from all pain and eternally happy.
His brother has been lost without his constant companion and cohort in crime. We were fortunate enough that one of Ms. C’s other clients sent her horse to the farm for rehabilitation, so Toad helps quell some of Ike’s loneliness.
I love you Cigar. I will miss our conversations. The barn is very quiet without your nickers. I will always carry you in my heart.