This Is 27--Happy Birthday, Tank!

February 18, 2022

Though like all registered American Quarter Horses, Tank turned another year older on Jan. 1, his actual foal date is Feb. 18. For reference, a 27-year-old horse is roughly equivalent to a 78-year-old human. (And to answer the question nearly everyone asks, horses live an average of 25-30 years.) 

Tank is finally starting to show his age, though he’s still in remarkably good shape for an old guy. I’m currently working with his vet and farrier on a non-life-threatening lameness issue that is keeping me from riding him. Even so, we have had to turn him out alone in a smaller enclosure because he was goofing with the younger horses and galloping around like a maniac because of the cooler weather. He still gets plenty of grooming, carrots, and treats, and I’m going to look into alternate activities to do with him while he’s temporarily sidelined, and for when riding is permanently off the table. Maybe I can teach him to paint

At the end of this month, we will have been together for 18 years. I’d wanted a horse since childhood, and when my husband and I were contemplating relocating to Florida (his home state) from California (mine), he sweetened the deal by promising that I could have a horse if we made the move. I don’t think either of us really thought that would be possible, but I filed that promise away for many years until time and finances made it possible to consider. Tank has been one of the best investments of time and money I’ve made in my life.

Tank has been a friend and partner through adventures, he’s taught me lessons in patience, sacrifice, kindness and courage. During our rides, he’s helped me dig deep to conquer fear. I’ve learned to put aside my own comfort to give him what he needs when he’s sick or injured (twice a day visits to the barn to flush wounds or medicate eyes during the height of summer heat and humidity…). I’ve cried into his mane, and allowed the sound of him munching hay soothe the sore spots in my heart. We’ve gone on trail rides, explored different types of terrain and jumps at Fannin Hill Farm, and hit the water together at a lake and the beach. I’ve spent hours just hanging out with him while he grazes. And as a bonus, I’ve met some of my closest friends at the two barns where he has lived. I’ve written about our experiences many times here on Catching Happiness. A few highlights:

I wrote about the process of finding him for the AQHA’s member magazine: “Why, Yes, That Was Me in the December Issue of America’s Horse.”

I’ve “learned to speak horse” and hosted horse birthday parties.

I’ve imagined what it would be like “If My Horse Had an Instagram Account.”

I’ve learned so many life lessons along the way, like this one.

And I’ve shared some of our more mundane experiences in “Look Mom, No Cavities!” and “A Little Off the Top and Sides and…Belly.”

Here are a few photos from our time together. Happy birthday, Tank—thank you for all the simple pleasures and everyday adventures!

Fannin Hill

Our first day together

Beach boy

Experimenting with riding without a bridle

Ho ho horse

In his prime, with a shining summer coat

The two of us just hanging out

Summer 2021

Tank and Paloma, the first of his lady friends at our new barn
Contemplating life

On the trail

Happy New Year 2022

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  1. Kathy - Tank is just gorgeous and I know the two of you have been a wonderful team. Some of your photos I recall from other visits here. The last one is certainly the most precious. Give him a hug from me. Hope his lameness resolves itself. So glad you shared his 27th Birthday!!

    1. Debbie--He's a special boy for sure. I'll tell him all about your good wishes :)