Spring signals a rebirth of life here at our place, and it seems fitting that we have a whole slew of birthdays to celebrate at our house. In fact, by the time our next baby is born within the next couple of weeks, we’ll have six birthdays just within our family to celebrate within a month of each other. One of the first is Stoney’s–sure, he’s not a person and actually shares his birthday with Zoey, and I’ve been celebrating his birthday with him for a good 23 years now! He’s made it to 25 (that’s right! an entire quarter century! Wahoo! 🥳) and though his birthday often gets pushed to the backburner in favor of those humans who realize it’s their birthday and would feel jipped without a celebration, we still celebrate him in a way he appreciates.
|Stoney has seen a lot in his life, but some things still surprise him. Like kids going down the hill in a wagon…
Stoney was the fulfillment of my childhood dreams. When I was 14, my grandmother and parents went in on him as a two-year old. He was originally trained in Western pleasure, but as a lover of the English discipline, he was retrained for dressage and jumping. For several years, we competed in dressage, show jumping, and eventing, rode trails, went swimming together, and literally lived every horse-crazy kids’ fantasy.
One of the reasons I was able to enjoy having Stoney was because I was able to do the work required to keep him. Boarding horses isn’t cheap, but once I got a little experience under my belt learning how to muck stalls and turn out horses, I had people around town vying to get me to work for them. I always have prided myself on my work ethic, and that has been a blessing for me. When the time came that I was finally able to keep Stoney at our house, I knew exactly how much work it would take to keep him and you know what? I’ve loved (nearly) every second of it. A lot of times, when I need some rare alone time, I tell Jack I’m going to the barn, turn on a movie for the kids, and go clean out the stalls and groom the horses. Yes, I am horse crazy still.
At twenty-five, Stoney is still doing pretty fantastic. Sure, he’s down a few teeth and has a swayed back that has put him in mostly-retirement, but as I’ve been learning about keeping gereatric horses healthy, I’ve managed to keep him in good shape. Over winter, he gets lots of alfalfa mash to keep his weight up, he’s blanketed a little more frequently, and once the spring warm up begins, he has access to a stall so he can dry out his feet to avoid the hoof absesses he’s prone to. He still has pep in his step which occasionally leads him to do stupid stuff you’d think only a colt would do, but I’m glad that he still feels good enough to squeal and kick up his heels when he’s put out on the pasture.
On his actual birthday, I got to scratch his neck and wish him a happy birthday before letting out for the day onto the pasture, but in the rush of the following several days’ worth of birthdays, I didn’t get to properly celebrate with him until the weekend. He was starting to seriously shed and several itchy spots where the bugs have started to bother him, so he enjoyed a grooming session, some sweet feed, an apple and carrot. He doesn’t need much to feel appreciated, and maybe, that’s one of the things I love most about him.
I fully recognize how lucky I am to have the life I do, which includes Stoney. There are lots of days I miss being able to get on a ride like we used to do, but I am so happy that I can look out my window and see him, fat and happy whenever I want. I don’t know how many more years I’ll have with my old gelding, but I will count myself blessed for every single birthday I get to walk out the back door and tell him in person. Er, in horse? 😅