Giving Thanks With Barnsgiving

Is that a banquet table… in a barn? Why yes, it is. Reader Martine Howes gave us the inside scoop on her second annual Barnsgiving — the celebration will have you planning your own for next year!

The table is set! All photos by Martine Howes.

Thanksgiving designates one special day in November to devote to giving thanks and counting one’s blessings: while yes, many of us do this every day, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends and family in appreciation, a chance to slow down and enjoy one of the oldest human traditions of sharing a meal.

The recent rise of “Friendsgiving,” the informal relative of Thanksgiving sometimes celebrated the weekend before or even the night before Thanksgiving proper, reminds us of the saying “friends are the family you choose.” Friendsgivings are celebrated with the good friends in your life so that the fourth Thursday of November can be dedicated to family.

And Revolution Equestrian in Pawling, New York has taken Friendsgiving to the next level with its now-annual celebration of Barnsgiving: an opportunity for boarders, leasers, employees and lesson students to come together in mutual appreciation and give thanks.

The ultimate party: one where the horses are invited.

Martine Howes, the barn manager at Revolution Equestrian, first got the idea for “Barnsgiving” from Pinterest.

“I saw a photo of a dinner table decorated for fall or Thanksgiving, inside of a horse barn. I posed the idea to the barn owner Melissa Hogan, and she said ‘let’s do it!'”

The first Barnsgiving in 2016 saw 35 or 40 guests, with everyone bringing a dish to pass. This year, Barnsgiving hosted more than 60!

The 2nd annual Barnsgiving was a success! Thank you everyone for all the food and fun!

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Putting together Barnsgiving isn’t quite as daunting as it might look: Revolution Equestrian’s farm base also has a wedding barn on the property, so there are already tables and chairs to use. Martine bought table cloths and decorations from the local grocery store, and the floral centerpieces were provided and set up by boarders.

Decking the halls… er, stalls.

All of the food — including turkey and ham — was provided by guests, making this a true potluck community celebration. Set right in the aisle with the horses presiding, the second annual Barnsgiving looked like a great success and a beautiful evening for this barn community to share!

Happy Thanksgiving, Horse Nation! And go riding.

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