Yesterday we had a birthday party.  There was cake, drinks, party hats, and silly decorations—all for Bars.

Well, ok, the cake was for the people, but there were plenty of horse treats, too.

It may sound a little silly or juvenile to have a birthday party for a horse, but after the last few months we weren’t really sure he’d still be here to see his 31st birthday.  Since mid-October he’s had to move to a new home; he’s suffered a choke, a colic, an infected nasal passage, a neck injury, and mild laminitis, which is an inflammation of the connective tissues in his feet.  That’s quite a lot for any horse to go through, and for an elderly horse with Cushing’s disease any one of those could be life threatening.  And yet, he’s still here, snorting at turkeys, running around with his friend Jasmine, still trying to convince me there are invisible Horse-Eating Crocodiles in the mud puddle.  The farrier says his feet are improving.  We’re starting to ride the trails again together.

The horse that taught me to sit a canter was past 40, and the stable owners held a “party” for him every year.  They sliced up carrots as thin as could be in a food processor and loaded them into a cake pan for him.  We all gathered round and spoiled him even more than usual, mostly because we were all amazed that, after all this time, he still had all four feet on the ground.

It was also a convenient excuse to keep in touch with people.  We are so busy in our modern world it’s really easy to lose track of people who are important in your life.  One shift in job, location, even a new car, child, or pet can alter the rhythm of your day to the point where people you once interacted with regularly become distant.  And, as none of us are getting any younger, the next thing you know the opportunity may be lost forever.

So, for a few hours, we were able to gather some people who have all been involved in Bars’ life somehow and spend time together, because involvement in Bars’ life is also involvement for all of us.  The weather was nice.  We laughed a lot.  We swapped lies. We fed all the horses in the barn special treats. That seems like a good enough reason to throw a birthday party for a horse.

It’s even a good enough excuse to wear a silly party hat for awhile….

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