Birthday parties for horses. Wait. What?

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.

 

Missy's Birthday Cake

Missy and her birthday cake.

 

Missy's Carrots

Missy accepting carrot bribes in exchange for photographs.

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.

 

 

Faax's 36th Birthday Party.JPG

Faax’s 36th birthday party.

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.

 

 

 

 

Familiarizing Your Horse to a New Property

  • New Property Post.jpgLately, I’ve been thinking about moving my horse from one of our farms to another. As I’ve contemplated the move, I began to go over in my mind all of the things I would need to do in order to safely familiarize her with her new home. Whether you’re thinking of moving your horse because of a move of your own or perhaps you are changing boarding facilities, these tips that I’m sharing and plan to implement myself should make the move as worry free as possible. Continue reading

To Shoe or Not to Shoe: Part 4

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In this seven part series I sat down with one of this country’s leading farriers to tackle the age old debate of shoeing your horse verses leaving him or her barefoot. The series is both controversial and enlightening and in the end, my goal is to provide information on both sides of the fence so that you may make an informed decision about your horse’s shoeing needs.

In the previous two installments, To Shoe or Not to Shoe: Part 1 and To Shoe or Not to Shoe: Part 2 I introduced the series and provided some initial shoeing factors. In To Shoe or Not to Shoe: Part 3 I covered the healthy hoof and options to protect it. In this week’s post, we cover pasture vs barefoot trims. Continue reading

Pasture Management 101: Drought, Excess Rain, and Erosion

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Have you ever thought about the best way to manage your horse’s pasture during a period of drought or even excess rain? How about erosion control? If you’ve ever given it a passing thought or noticed that your pasture needs help, don’t miss the latest installment to my pasture management mini-series for ‘The Horse’. Link below Continue reading

To Shoe or Not to Shoe: Part 1

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The foot of a carriage horse as seen last year in Oklahoma City, OK. Among many reasons the owner chose to shoe his horse, one reasons was the application of these special “lift” shoes to make the horse appear taller and therefore more appealing to potential customers.

 

In this seven part series I sat down with one of this country’s leading farriers to tackle the age old debate of shoeing your horse verses leaving him or her barefoot. The series is both controversial and enlightening and in the end, my goal is to provide information on both sides of the fence so that you may make an informed decision about your horse’s shoeing needs. Continue reading

My Horse has a Love Interest and Other Important Truths that can Totally Wreck a Horse Show Performance

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I’ve had some less than optimal horse show performances before but this one takes the prize.

We had been schooling since last show season. I had spent the better part of the week getting ready. By day I had worked my full-time job. By night, after a long day’s work and a training session with my horse, I cleaned tack. I packed. I clipped my horse and on the day before our departure I bathed her. The hotel reservations made, I journeyed off with my friend and horse show partner the evening before the show to get settled and to prepare for the early start ahead. Continue reading

Pasture Management 101: Renovating Horse Fields

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So many times I see horse facilities that have pastures in need of renovation. There’s a lot of reasons behind it and, for the most part, the property owners or managers truly want to do something to improve their pastures but they just aren’t sure what. That why, I really enjoyed writing this weekly, mini series of blog posts for TheHorse.com. In this week’s series installment I talk about how to evaluate your current pasture situation and what to do if you deem them lacking. Continue reading

Why register?

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If I’ve owned a horse that was eligible for registration I’ve always registered it. Though I know many people who don’t, I’ve never understood why. Yes, it costs money but the benefits have always seemed to well outweigh any disadvantages. With the number of registered horses declining for most breed registries, let’s look at why I consider registration to be advantageous for you and your horse. Continue reading

Dealing with loss

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Two friends recently lost treasured horses. I don’t envy what they are going through right now. It’s never easy. I love all horses and have wept for the loss of even those that I have not had quite the connection with that I have shared with others. But then there are those who somehow touch your heart. Those horses are the ones who become a part of your family. It’s easy to recognize that they changed your life for the better. Continue reading