When Simon turned 7 and when he turned 8 I brought some party items to the barn for a photo opportunity. It was always something minor – little cupcakes or a cookie cake, and I never announced before hand. I just brought some sweets to share with anyone who happened to be at the barn, and asked someone to take a picture with me and my favorite nerd horse.
Recently I’ve learned that anything can be a cause for celebration. What’s a better excuse than a horse’s birthday to drink wine outside on a Monday night? With this in mind, I casually opened Facebook and created an event a few days in advance to let people know that Sir Simon would be celebrating.
More people showed up to Simon’s birthday party than my own, and that’s awesome on so many levels.
I went to party city and bought plastic ware in our barn’s colors, made some homemade pimento cheese and drew a nerd horse portrait on an HEB sheet cake.
Add in some bottles of $3 buck chuck and we officially had ourselves a party. Other folks brought food and drinks, and we chatted and watched people ride from the viewing stand while the sun set down over acres of pasture around us.
Since this was a horse birthday party, I of course had to dress Simon up for my photo op. I originally planned on just a hat and some streamers around his neck, but one of my friends joked about putting the “Happy Birthday” banner on him… so naturally I had to do that.
At first people were like, “Oh he’s so tolerant!” but I kind of brushed them off.
“This isn’t the first or last time he’s been in costume. His mother is crazy.”
So Simon being Simon, just kind of sighed and stood there like the saintly creature he is.
A few other friends took advantage of the pony party favors as well, because you can’t have a celebration without some of your pasture buddies around.
When it finally got dark and the cake had been cut, people started saying their goodbyes. We agreed the pony party was a grand success, and others should do the same for their beloved equines. As one woman was leaving, she waved and said “I’m so glad you’ve had Simon to help you through last year.”
She’s right. I’m so glad I have him too, and he continues to help me through those hard days in ways no one else can. What I didn’t tell her but probably should, is that it’s not just Simon that helped me. The people that I’ve met through horses are just as important as the horses. We are a tribe… a fanatical tribe obsessed with french leather, but a tribe all the same. Yes, we’re likely to bark out “Can you BELIEVE what she’s doing with that horse?” to someone moments after waving to them at a show, but when the shit hits the fan horse people are there for each other. They’re connected.
We come from different places and we meet at different stages. We even have different goals, but we share the same love. We know what it’s like to put your fingers into the thickest part of your horse’s crest, and bury them in that thick, somewhat dusty mane. We know that the most comfortable place is often the first few strides of our horse’s familiar, swinging walk when we leg up after a long day at work. We know that jobs or boyfriends come and go, but the love of the horse is the thing that preceded them all and is just as likely to outlast them.
Most importantly, we know that it’s a good idea to gather and celebrate an ordinary bay gelding’s 10th birthday.