Last weekend I attended a birthday party for a horse. Yes, you did read that correctly. I did in fact attend a birthday party for a horse.
The party was in honor of Missy’s twenty-fifth birthday. While Missy has several claims to fame, her owner chose to host this particular party because at age five, Missy underwent a serious colic surgery that was meant save her life but not expected to extended it much past five years. Twenty years later and here we are singing happy birthday in front of her decorated stall and offering her carrot bribes in exchange for photo ops. Horses teach you things. Expecting the unexpected is one of those things.
Naturally, Missy is pretty special to her owner. I have known her for several years now and she is indeed a special horse. She wore a tiara for part of the party and surrounded by her family and friends she was offered carrot cake. She didn’t like it by the way. At her age, you can not choose not to like your own birthday cake. Her guests enjoyed refreshments and fellowship and Missy enjoyed being the center of attention.
I admit it. It’s things like this that make folks question the sanity of horse people. I however love it. My husband would never dream of hosting a birthday party for one of his cows. My friend Betsy, Missy’s owner who hosted last weekend’s party, isn’t the first horse person to hold a birthday party for a horse either. I’ve hosted a couple of them myself. There will likely be more after us. If you ever get invited to a party for a horse drop everything and go. They are well worth it.
When my Arabian gelding Faax (Fox) turned thirty and again when he turned thirty-five, I hosted parties for him. Like Missy, Faax had some accomplishments in his life but even if he hadn’t he was significant to me. If you are not a horse person, thirty is an advanced age for a horse. He was family to me. Of course I was going to help him celebrate.
On both occasions I invited family and friends important to our life together. I served carrot cake at his first party but dispensed with it at his second. Like Missy, he wasn’t fond of his either. I also shared photographs of our many memories together. I made more photographs for new memories.
Both parties were a time of food, fun, and fellowship honoring the life of a special horse. That’s what these parties are for. I even wrote about one of his parties for an Arabian horse publication. One of the magazine’s subscribers who read the article happened to own a half sibling of Faax from the same foal crop. She tracked me down and called me. We shared stories and talked for hours adding another person to our close circle of friends.
I promised Faax another if he made it to forty. Sadly, he didn’t make it quite that far which is why I’m so glad that I did them. Not quite two years after his last party he crossed over the rainbow bridge. It was truly an honor for me to be a part of his life for twenty-five of his thirty-six years. Opportunities for things that seem silly but in retrospect make for some of your very best memories should never be passed up. Go ahead and celebrate. I bet others will be glad you did.
Because this post is supposed to be a happy one about celebrating our horses and not one that makes you cry, I would love to hear from you about your horse celebrations. What special traditions do you have for celebrating milestones in the lives of your horses? Feel free to share the funny, the sweet, and the sad. After all, none of us are in this alone.