Your Turn: One Barn’s holiday tradition

The Maryland barn where Holly Mooney boards her horse gets festive each year with a costumed Christmas drill team performance and party.

From Holly:

No matter if you belong to a big barn facility or a little homegrown operation where you are manager, crew, and rider… everyone has some sort of holiday tradition to share with their equine friends.

I’m lucky enough to belong to a facility with lots of holiday traditions. In addition to a myriad of Secret Santa gift exchanges, parties, and mountains of cookies (both human and horse approved) our barn also does an annual holiday drill team performance. The much anticipated holiday drill performance has been running for 12 years. It comes together under the tutelage of one of our very dedicated instructors, Kristy Gapen-Hoke, along with a gaggle of loyal volunteers. The themes vary from year to year, but at the end of each performance Santa and Mrs. Claus pay a visit (on horseback) and hand out gifts to all the kids. This year’s performance (watch it here!) was extra special, as it involved our favorite resident ponies (along with one very drafty friend) performing as the misfit toys from the classic Rudolph the Red-Noised Reindeer television special. While this group of ponies is certainly “a couple of misfits,” we couldn’t love or appreciate them more!

What holiday traditions do you celebrate at your barn?


From Left: Cowboy Riding an Ostrich, Bear with Feathers for a Tail, Choo Choo with Square Wheels, A Spotted Elephant, Santa, Mrs. Claus and her Icelandic helper, King Moon Racer, Bumble, Charlie in the Box, A Dolly for Sue, and Santa’s Helpers.


All lined up at the end. The Dolly for Sue had other plans…





Choo Choo with Square Wheels


King Moon Racer


Charlie in the Box (Me!)


Cowboy riding an Ostrich


Dolly for Sue


Bear with Feathers for a Tail


Elephant with Spots

Go Riding.

Holly Mooney is 30 year old aspiring eventer, who lacks the bravery necessary for her sport. Her quarter horse Emmy is an absolute professional who has competed through Beginner Novice with her previous owner. Emmy is still trying to convince Holly of the proper speed, tempo, and distances for cross country. While her lifelong dream was to own a horse and compete, Holly often finds herself thinking, “Oh my god, what have I done?” Luckily, her chestnut mare is a much better eventer than she is.



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