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Globe Platinum Maktub
By: Toni Leviste
In Islam, 'Maktub' means 'it is written.' In Arabic, it means 'destiny.'
When one makes a decision to get a horse, at least in my case, it is with the intention of building a partnership. It has been said that when a rider finds one special horse in her lifetime, she is lucky. In my case, I had been blessed with 'Ghandy,' my faithful campaigner at the 2000 Olympic Games and 2002 World Championships, and of course, 'Leap of Faith,' my alter ego for the past 12 years (officially retiring this year, at age 19).
When I found Maktub (a.k.a 'Robijn Z') in 2004, I was filled with hope and aspirations. On her hinged my dreams of pursuing an international Equestrian career.
It was far from smooth sailing in the beginning. She was almost torture to school, where it not for my coach and trainer, Jos Kumps, I only managed to work Maktub at a walk and trot, with the occasional canter, when I dared. Last year, while training at 3Q Equestrian in Kuwang, Malaysia, Maktub and I took a nosedive, face planting me to the ground. Fortunately, her 600-kilogram body did not come crashing down on me, as well. After only sustaining a weeklong black eye from the ordeal, I considered myself lucky.
Despite our rocky start, Maktub and I eventually developed a partnership, or at least a semblance of one. From the last few SEA World Cup League qualifiers in Malaysia to the SEA World Cup League Final and South East Asian Games in Manila, Maktub and I began to form a bond, each time riding with more confidence and harmony.
As I looked forward to the year ahead, earning the right to jump at the monumental World Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur this April, then competing around the European Showjumping circuit in the summer in preparation for the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar in December, I was filled with renewed hope having found my new partner.
We were scheduled to depart for Kuala Lumpur on the 18th of April. Despite securing all our plans, ensuring that everything is in order, one just never knows what tomorrow brings.
I was awakened by a phone call at 4:30 in the morning of Wednesday, April 12 from my groom, 'Turs.' Maktub was having another colic attack, the fourth one in a span of 15 weeks. We are still uncertain about the cause of the first three bouts, nor if all four were related. Apparently with colic cases, one is never too sure, unless an autopsy is done. Because she did not manifest excruciating pain, except for the occasional pawing, the diagnosis, even by veterinarians I consulted abroad, was positive. It was most likely an impaction, or at worse, a blockage due to foreign matter. Three days later, the decision to perform surgery was made, without any concern of possible complication.
Just before she was injected with a 'Ketamin' tranquilizer used to knock her out, I promised her that she was going to feel better when she awakens. She never woke up again.It was a struggle for survival from the moment the anesthesia was administered. She had difficulty stabilizing because she had become so weak. She was gasping for air, at the same time resisting the anesthesia. Unlike human beings, who do not go against anesthesia, there is always a danger when large animals undergo this procedure primarily because their instinct is to battle against what is weakening them. After an agonizing four and a half hours on the operating table, the veterinarians discovered that the impaction was caused, not by foreign matter, but by the large intestines twisting 360 degrees. Another horse would not have lasted 12 hours from the pain of such strangulation, while Maktub kept her courageous spirit for as long as 72 hours. Eventually the toxins from the blood released as soon as the twist was unknotted poisoned her system and put her body into shock. Maktub was a fighter till the end. I was holding her in my arms when she gasped her last breath.
Horses are truly noble creatures---always generous, always wanting to please. From Maktub I have learned discipline, patience and humility, notwithstanding our short-lived partnership. These lessons are all part of fulfilling my 'destiny---maktub.'
It was a tragic event that I will remember for a very long time. Despite this great loss, I believe that everything happens for a reason and all in God's time.
I will never know the full potential of what could have been, but I do know that there are no 'what ifs,' only 'what's next.' Inshallah, I shall keep the faith.
To all those who have expressed sympathy and concern, I am truly grateful. I am deeply touched by the support everyone has given. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Toni Leviste and Globe Platinum Maktub qualified for the FEI World Cup Jumping Final by finishing as the top South East Asians in the South East Asian World Cup League. In November they won the South East Asian World Cup League Final, and followed that up with a Team Gold Medal and Individual Silver Medal at the Manila SEA Game.
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