Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: R.I.P. Benjamin (‘Cruz Bay’), 1988-2014

Liz Currie pens a touching tribute to her horse-of-a-lifetime, Benjamin.

From Liz:

From the first time I tried you in February 1994 (and was unable to pick up a canter, despite my best efforts) until your final moments this afternoon, you challenged me, inspired me, frustrated me, rewarded me and ultimately gave me the gift of a true partnership between horse and rider. You were never easy and your brilliance sometimes got in the way of your own four feet… but riding you was an amazing experience. Whether we were trotting into the grass ring at Menlo for the A/O hunters or ambling along a trail in the woods, you always made me laugh. And while our many years of successful showing gave me a treasure chest of memories, what I will remember even more are the hours we spent exploring every trail in Woodside, Bell Canyon and finally, Ventura. Bringing you home to live here for your last 18 months was the greatest conclusion possible to our partnership. It was lovely to see you finally take a deep breath and relax. You even enjoyed hugs as well as playing with the minis and Oberon. Despite yourself, you became sweet!

Through the years you dodged every bullet that came your way — “career-ending” tendon tears, laminitis, nail in the foot, kidney failure, etc. — but even you could not dodge old age. It was truly a privilege to give back to you the gift of letting you go when you told me it was your time.

It took a village to keep you going and I am honored that so many extraordinary people were involved in this best part of my life. Thanks most of all to Randy Cano for taking you from the racetrack to the hunter ring and for always being there when needed. It was perfect to come full circle and finish your showing career with Randy, who still keeps a photo of you in his office. I think I can safely say that selling me Benjamin all those years ago was the best sale Randy ever made! My deepest gratitude to Lyn Irving for believing in us and giving me the courage to leave out that stride in the corner and stop hanging on the inside rein. Thanks to the outstanding farriers — Don Gustafson,Tyler Newton (now a vet!), Jim Cook and Ted Everton — for somehow keeping your TB feet together. And I will always be grateful to Clint McKnight of Pacific View Equine for going above and beyond these last three years, most especially the final months. Clint helped you leave gently and peacefully as my tears flowed over your face while I whispered “It’s OK to go” in your ear.

Godspeed, old friend… you are now out of pain and free to hunt those single oxers with your incredible athletic ability and perfect form. I will never forget you, my horse of a lifetime. I know Redford, Sable and Ollie were there to greet you as you crossed the bridge.

“Somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pasture place
Where creeks sign on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.”

S. Harrison

Go Benjamin. Go Riding.

Here at Horse Nation, we believe that the best therapists are our own horses. We love sharing the stories of special equines — email yours to [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming edition of Back on Track “Horse Therapy.” Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!


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