We’ve been writing about the increased longevity of horses in our senior series. As if to prove the point that horses are indeed living longer, more fruitful lives, meet JMan – an Arabian gelding in Michigan who celebrated his 40th birthday with a full-blown party on April 2nd.
JMan lives at Mitten Misfits Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit that takes in senior farm animals and gives them a lot of loving care for the rest of their days.
“J has been with is for three years and is a wonderful loving, independent and spirited horse. He is in excellent shape except for his teeth of course,” says Bob Worthy, the husband of Vick who runs the sanctuary. “He still runs and lays down and has full run of about an acre of pasture. J is a favorite of all who meet him.”
On JMan’s gift list were hay cubes, enrichment toys, blankets, stall mats, salt blocks, and heated food bowls. According to Worthy about 100 people showed up and had a blast.
J, original short for “Junior,” came to the sanctuary when his owner moved out of state three years ago and couldn’t take him. Worthy said that at the ripe old age of 40, “junior” didn’t seem right, so now it’s just “J” or “JMan.”
But his former owner did not forget and posted well wishes for JMan: “Happy Birthday J Man, who knew when I met you so many years ago where you would be today! From the wild mountains of Montana where you were born and where you raced across a 50-acre pasture along the river growing up wild and free, becoming an exceptional riding horse while still keeping your free spirit exploring many a mountain trail. And then to the hills and lush pastures of Michigan, becoming a dressage horse in your late teens with a wall of ribbons and championships, loved by all who met you for your mischievous yet kind nature. You are an old soul and now in your twilight years you are celebrated and surrounded by people who love and honor you. How blessed you are my old friend and how blessed I am for knowing you. Happy Birthday J you are truly one of a kind.”
The party included a craft table with farm-themed temporary tattoos, Misfits merchandise, including cups which could be personalized with your name and favourite “Misfit.” The group also organized what they billed as a “Meet and Treat.” Guests could buy treats then receive a barn tour and feed the Misfits the treats. The event raised almost $1,500 in cash and feed donations.
Of course, 100 per cent of proceeds went back into the care of the various senior critters at the sanctuary, which in addition to various horses and ponies includes goats, pigs, chickens, and even a peacock!
“Jay is our second 40-plus equine; Rosa, a Paso Fino mare, was with us until she was 43, and although still in good shape generally, her arthritis got the better of her from a mobility standpoint,” adds Worthy. “We work very closely with Michigan State University vet school students, and we have many student volunteers who work with us to gain large animal experience. We also have many Boy and Girl Scouts helping out on the farm as well as allowing children and adults exposure to older animals in a calm setting.”
Happy birthday, JMan, and many more!