Monday, March 7, 2016

Pre-Birthday Jitters

One month from now, I will be frantically running around my barn sweeping, putting things away, restacking hay, removing cobwebs, brushing horses and sweeping again. There won’t be enough time to scrub the stall walls or paint them like I’ve been saying I’m going to do for over a decade. Or repaint the gates. Or trim the trees. Or rake all of the branches that have come down over the course of this winter. The fences should be painted and restrung with electric tape, yet I fear that it won’t be warm enough to do anything about it. And I will probably be a stressball of constant motion for a week before the big event, because the mental picture that I have of my farm sometimes blurs my view of what it actually looks like. When I take a moment to see it for what it is, as a stranger would see it, through negative lenses, I cringe.

Regardless, I will do what I can between caring for my geriatric equine crew and tending to my older dog who has been having health issues. And no matter how stressed I become, the event will happen. Because it’s important. Because it was my idea. And because you need to seize the moment as you never know if you’ll have the opportunity again. So, next month around this time, my farm will celebrate the 35th birthday of our oldest resident, E B Top Cat, a stoic and stubborn Morgan gelding that fatefully landed in my life 8 years ago. He’s had several occupations and at least 9 lives – I’ve heard a few of the tales from previous owners. In fact, I invited as many previous owners as I could. I’m sure some people would think it slightly crazy to get an invite from a stranger about a horse you once owned but if it were me, I would be running to the nearest tack store for a present.
TC says birthdays are cake!
The stress comes from preparing the barn for a massive influx of people, both equine inclined and otherwise. And I’m a routine person so anytime my routine is disrupted, there better be a good reason for it. But this is a great reason. Once people arrive and filter into the barn, I will relax, mostly because my horses take over. Each horse is social in his or her own way and the more introverted ones can be coaxed into affection for food. This will definitely be a day of food, both human and equine alike. My cousin makes the most delicious cakes, so I know that the guests will be happy. We’re also planning on fashioning a cake out of TC’s grain and hay stretcher, which is already mushy to accommodate his lack of teeth. I’m excited for the many pictures I hope to get of him stuffing his muzzle into his cake and covering his face with grain, my version of a toddler with frosting.
This week, I sent out invitations, which means next week I should start seeing RSVP’s. The weeks will fly by and before I know it, TC will be teetering on the edge of his biggest birthday celebration yet. As stressed as I become, I’m equally excited to share my farm with my friends and family. I always have been. The horses love all of the activity, the guests love the horses and their friendly, sometimes overfriendly nature, and I love being able to share the peace and solace that my farm holds. It’s magic, honestly. In the end, magic doesn’t come from painting a fence board or making sure the floor is clean enough to eat off of. Magic comes from celebrating the 35th birthday of a gelding because it’s whimsical and random. It takes us back to our childhood days where birthday parties were all about cake. It’s about my non-horse friends falling in love with this horse or that. But if you look deeper – it’s the celebration of the crazy life of an old horse who’s found his forever home and the many lives he’s touched. Shouldn’t we all be so lucky as to be “forever home”? That feels like magic to me. 

**Stay tuned for next month’s installment – The Party!**

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