When I met my wife, Gabe was eleven and served as a steady steed for trail rides and light work. He was loyal and steady, but as a young horse on the track he didn't hold up due to confirmation problems. He was treated by a number of veterinary practitioners and it was decided that trail ride work was the best option for him.
If you went on the trail with Gabe, you never had to worry about his balance or any type of misbehavior. I know when I first went out on him I worried about the busy four lane road we had to cross to get to the trails, but Gabe just took his time, held back whenever traffic was nearby, and even a novice like me felt well at ease and relaxed.
Today being his twenty-fifth birthday, Gabe will be receiving his special birthday treat today, a tradition started by my wife the first year she had him. You see, Gabe, like most horses, loves sugar and she found two very sweet items that Gabe really craved: Mountain Dew and carrot cake. So this afternoon at his second daily feeding, Gabe will be given his piece of cake with a Mountain Dew to wash it down. And if past years hold true again, he will smack his lips while drooling some Mountain Dew and spewing small bits of cake in his delight.
Don't worry, we have a couple of small dogs who make it a point to capture any drop or morsel which escapes his mouth. And also don't worry about Gabe's diet as this is a once a year occasion that has become a family tradition.
From being found on a farm that backed up on the Florida Penitentiary, to a quiet retirement in a beautiful rural meadow in North Florida, Gabe has come along way. And even though he has his assortment of aches and pains, his health is really quite good and we expect him to be around for quite some time to come. This particularly pleases me because it gives me another "good old boy" for me to commune with. It's always special spending time with Gabe.
So Gabe, enjoy your birthday and just know that we love you and are glad you are an important part of our Ark.
Read more about Gabe and the other animals here at the Ark in Honey, We Shoulda' Bought the Ark, available online in paperbook at www.outskirtspress.com/honeyweshouldaboughttheark or www.amazon.com/author/jamesdick. Also available on Kindle. Animals: A Wonderful Gift from God