Although Jack is the oldest equine I know, I have another friend, Mosby, who is celebrating his 34th birthday this month. Mosby is a Thoroughbred horse and every one of his breed celebrates their birthday on January 1st. How orderly. No birthdays dotted randomly around the calendar, just one day when everyone in the extended family officially becomes one year older. Complete mayhem for one day and then a whole year to recover. Now that's organization.
Mosby is a renaissance horse who has had many careers. He was a race horse, polo pony, hunter, tried his hoof at dressage and later changed tack and became a trail horse in western gear. He excelled in all his pursuits and continues to carry his human, Emi, around the forest. He is intelligent, kind and has a wonderful sense of humour. He and I share the same vet, Dr. Maggie, and he can claim seniority over her by several years. He remains perfectly sound in wind and limb, the only signs of age being a growing collection of grey hair and a slight hollowing of the back. The woman took a ghastly photo of him today, which I will post for now, but I have directed her to go back and do it properly. He appears to be looking at the camera but is actually responding to the shaking of a pack of TicTac mints, which he considers to be the equivalent of ambrosia. I wish him many more years of ruling his barn as a benevolent equi-despot.
Our own old man, Jack, has decided that the safest course is to simply stay inside till May or June. On this front we concur. This constant loitering in the barn allowed him to expand his food horizons yesterday and I'm not sure what I think of it. The woman had placed two of Sally's food bowls near the door to be taken to the house and washed. One had bits of some sort of cat pate or food paste and Jack decided to try it. He loved it and cleaned both bowls to a high polish. This makes me very uneasy but I can't quite put my hoof on the reason why. His breath was fishy for the rest of the day.
Jack has also developed a new method of eating his gruel and he is extraordinarily pleased with himself. He fills his mouth with hot food and then spreads it along the metal strip on his stall front. Then he licks if off very slowly, saying "ahhhhhhhh" every few seconds. It takes him forever to finish his meal but if it makes him happy I am willing to put up with the slurping and squishing noises. When he has finished the last crumb, he sighs deeply, turns to his hay and the woman takes his bucket away to be sandblasted.
As someone who has been referred to as an "old soul" since I was five hands tall, I have the greatest respect and admiration for my ancient acquaintances. Long may they dwell amongst us, imparting their knowledge to the younger generation.