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The old man out to do what he does best: EAT.

It’s that time of year when the birthdays come raining down in a deluge of celebrations, presents, cake, and well-wishes. Kicking off the birthdays in our family is Stoney. Yes, Stoney is a horse, but he is as good as any family member worth honoring. Not exactly one of my children, more than a companion animal, a special sort of friend who has never said a word to me… and such an important presence in my life. See why Stoney is so exceptional?

He still enjoys a good brushing, especially around his birthday when he sheds like CRAZY.
This year, Stoney turned 27–that’s about the human equivalent of 78 years old. So, while he’s not extremely old, he is definitely in the twilight years, and I’ve started noticing the signs. Since I don’t understand horse speak (or any other animal speak for that matter), it falls to me to figure out how Stoney’s doing on any given day. There are some small clues, like when I put him out to pasture–he always used to run one lap around, kicking up his heels before throwing his head down and stuffing his face. Now? He is content to get right down to business and graze as soon as his halter’s off. He hates cold weather, but he’s always been grumpy in the winter. He’s a tad thinner, a bit more swaybacked, grayer, and has fewer teeth than he ought to. He’s old. That doesn’t mean he’s any less content about life. There’s not much that Stoney needs to be happy–food, a dry stall, and occasional roll in the mud, a good brushing, alfalfa mash? Any one of those makes his day.
Stoney and me, since 1998.

I don’t know how long Stoney will stick around in this mortal form. It’s a reality all animal owners must face–that it’s possible to witness the entire lifecycle of the animals we love so much, which is, in many ways, a miracle and a curse. I’ve known Stoney since he was two and now he’s twenty-seven going on elderly. His purpose has changed over the years, but not our bond. Perhaps it’s cliché to claim I’m friends with an animal. If it is, I’m a regular Disney princess because Stoney’s been there through it all.

Is there anything more satisfying than watching a horse graze?
He’s not decrepit by any means. It’s just that each birthday is more precious with each passing one. Here’s hoping to eke out a couple more years and make it to the 30-year-old milestone!
Happy birthday, Stoney! Glad to celebrate another one with you!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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