Goodbye Cadillac

Nov 12, 2011 - 11:20 AM
Cadillac: 1997-2011. Photo by Anna Jaffe.

Dear Rita,

In the very first blog that I wrote for The Chronicle of the Horse in February 2010, I invited my readers to join me on my quest for success in the sport of dressage while warning them that, “…this kind of journey can be full of heartbreak, joy, accomplishment and failure.“

As a lifelong horsewoman, I have already experienced enough heartbreak to know that one cannot always ride the highs in life. And as a Buddhist, I have worked hard to understand the transience of life in order to help myself overcome the lows.

Having said that, I will be pulling myself out of the abyss created by Cadillac’s passing for a long time.

Today, Saturday the 12th of November, 2011, Cadillac was euthanized at my husband’s clinic in New Jersey. I have seen my husband, Dr. Greg Staller, save horses that other people have given up for lost. Sadly, even the strongest will and the greatest skill could not save this horse, this time.

In the very end, the decision to take Cadillac’s life was inevitable. He was a special horse, something that I tried to honor by letting him leave this life without extended pain and suffering.

Many thanks to the photographers who left me with such a lovely record of our time together: Julie Wentscher, Patricia Powers, Kian Bullock, Colin Nicholas and Rui Pedro Godinho—and especially to Anna Sylvan Jaffe who photographed some of our best training days at Gladstone and Cadillac’s last horse show at Saugerties.

I hope that there will come a time when I can speak about this again. Cadillac taught me many lessons that I would like to share with you. But for now, I have only this to say:

I wish you joy on this journey, Cadillac, and I hope that I meet you in the next life. Our time together was far too short. We still had much to do. Thank you for touching my life.

Namaste, Cadillac. I salute your inner light.

I’m Catherine Haddad Staller, and I’m saying it like it is from Vechta, Germany

Training Tip of the Day: Horses touch our lives in many ways. They live forever in the lessons we learn from them.


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