Kua was Fubar was Howard. His American Quarter Horse registered name is, of all things, Hotta Can. Clearly he couldn’t walk around being called that, so his second owner called him Howard, because he originated in Howard, Kansas. My son renamed him Fubar, for reasons you will understand if you read an excerpt from “A River” under the heading “horses.” I couldn’t bear to call him Howard any more than I could call him Hotta, and Fubar was a name I didn’t want to hold true. My cousin Kathy Park and I rode together all summer, and talked a lot about names. I could only come up with Hawaiian words–I mean, they’re the best: beautiful-sounding with many meanings–yet none of them sounded or fit quite right. Then Kua came to me. Kua, according to the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana, means backbone, and “refers to those who are willing to bend their backs in hard work to ensure safe and successful accesses.” Kaho`olawe is an island of restricted use and visitation, monthly access allowed through the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana. It’s an island on which I spent a lot of time, always under the protection of PKO Kua, their version of a river guide–a trained, competent, knowledgeable individual whose primary objectives are to protect the island and to keep the people safe. Kua fit Fubar fit Howard. His is the back that carries me (the Hawaiian Dictionary defines kua as: 1. nvi. Back, rear, burden, windward; to carry on the back, as a child); he is the being willing to bend his back in hard work for my safe passage; and he is the backbone on which Cachuma Ranch was built. Without him, there would be no Cachuma Ranch in southwestern Colorado. That horse continues to support my visions as well as my body. Kua is my backbone.
This is simply beautiful