6 Signs of the Holiday Season For Equestrians

When “walking in a winter wonderland” means strolling around in the snow wondering where your horse has managed to hide his blanket this time.

Flickr/Pete Markham/CC

Flickr/Pete Markham/CC

Don’t get me wrong: I love this time of year as much as anyone else. I love the concept of peppermint mochas, going for long walks in woods on snowy evenings, roasting chestnut by open fires and so on… it’s just that I don’t actually have any time for that business.

No, there are a few other indicators that the holiday season is upon us. Here are 6.

You get all dolled up for the town holiday parade.

Which seems like a good idea until you realize that you’re right behind the wailing fire truck and right in front of the high school marching band, complete with twirling flags. No amount of desensitization training has prepared you for this. These are the moments that test a steed’s true mettle: will you duck to the side and exit stage left over the rows of happy parade-goers? Or will you find your wings and learn to fly? Time will tell but this is going to be a white-knuckled ride either way.

Your child/student/significant other starts dropping hints that this year, they really do want a pony.

The Breyer model/horse poster/tack shop gift certificate/lesson package/horse lease is NOT going to cut it this year. You have been warned. Hopes have been set high.

Living nativity reenactors start inquiring about borrowing that old donkey of yours grazing in the front pasture.

To which a totally appropriate response is:


(Really though, that creature hasn’t been off the property in years, and he would buck poor Mary off at the top of the aisle, let alone stand nicely for an entire church service. Let’s not even get started on the braying during “Silent Night.”)

Everyone starts busting out the reindeer antlers, horsey Santa hats, jingle bells and tinsel for the most dreaded day on your horse’s calendar: the Christmas card photo shoot!

To the horses, this is truly a day from hell in which they’re dressed in humiliating equine equivalents to the ugly Christmas sweater, paraded about in front of the camera and somehow still expected to be a good boy when the wind kicks up and all the tinsel you wrapped around their necks starts to get all blowy and spooky and shiny in all the wrong places. He says he’s sorry he looks like a white-eyed nightmare in all the photos, but in his defense the jingle bells were mighty scary.

For the drivers among us, friends and family who begged for a “one-horse open sleigh ride” realize too late that it’s definitely not as much fun as it’s cracked up to be.

Or at least they haven’t develop the same sense of appreciation that you have — instead, they’re too busy not being able to feel their hands or feet and keep checking the end of their nose to make sure it’s still there. When you told them to bundle up they thought that a cozy sweater and chic jacket would cut it, perhaps with a cute knit hat and an artfully-wrapped scarf. Hunker down in your coveralls and six layers of long underwear and drive for home as fast as possible before your guests freeze solid.

The shipping boxes from SmartPak start accumulating on your doorstep faster than snowflakes.

But the SALES. Think of the SALES. Also, Blaze needed a new personalized halter, turnout sheet and monogrammed fancy wool cooler. You know… for Christmas.

What would you add to the list, Horse Nation? Let us know in the comments — and go riding!

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