Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays with horses

Having horses during the holidays can be a blessing or a burden. If you are rushing around with family to visit, dinners to cook, in between work and school, then going out to the barn to take care of your horses probably seems a chore.

While I have felt that time crunch, to me, they are more a joy. Being at the barn, listening to them munching is my zen moment, away from it all. Even when it's freezing outside. If there is snow, there is nothing more fun that your horses bounding through the snow to the gate to come in. Hooves make the best crunching sound in snow. The horses are warm, furry, and nose you for treats. Don't tell me they don't know about Christmas, because mine certainly know about candy canes! They will line up for their pieces as soon as they see them, or hear the crinkle of the wrapping.

In years past I have hung stockings of horse cookies and treats, and learned the contortions horses can do to get to them no matter where you hang them. We have had barn parties, gone Christmas Caroling on horseback. Christmas parades are always fun, the one time where you can hang ribbons, bells, wear santa hats and never raise an eyebrow. More is always better for a parade!

One Thanksgiving I was kid free, I went to Philly, and rode in their Thanksgiving Day Parade. A group from my riding club went, drove up the day before, stayed in a Youth Hostel, rode in the park, had a blast! Freezing cold for the parade, but good fun. Last year we went trail riding with friends on Christmas day. Good fun, and we met quite a few other people out riding also. This year we had the farrier on Christmas Eve, so all the horses got a complete grooming, while waiting on their pedicure, and lots of treats. But no time to ride over the holidays.

I always do apples and carrots in their dinner, and either for Christmas or New Years a hot bran mash. The last two years they have gotten their very favorite treat, a hot bran/oatmeal/brown sugar/dried apple and carrot/peppermint candy mash. Oh yeah, that's the good stuff! (yay SmartPak!) I've been tempted to sample it myself, it smells so good.

So I hope you took time to see your horses this holiday. I hope you went down to the barn, and enjoyed the sounds of quiet munching and footsteps. Smelled fresh hay, grain and furry horses. Horses don't have a wish list, color doesn't matter. No worries about batteries, cooking times or setting tables. No matter what you bring, even if it's just your company and some scritching, they will be thrilled to get it.

Welcome to the New Year.

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