What Christmas Means to the Horse-Loving Equestrian
While December may be a series of unfortunate events for equestrians in some parts of the country, customarily consisting of incessant snowfall, heavy blankets, and a multitudinous amount of clothing, it also hosts the most optimal time of the year: Christmas! Although riders are notorious for coddling their horses year round, Christmas still has always held a notable significance.
Growing up as a little girl passionate for these affectionate animals, all I ever pleaded for on my Christmas list were horse-related items. I wanted anything and everything concerning horses so I could marvel at their spirit that so tenderly stole my heart as a child.
Breyer horses, horse pajamas, horse socks, mini horse stables, and horse coloring books are the essentials that make up children’s Christmas lists. As they grow, take lessons, even get a horse, their list changes. They ask for riding boots, saddle pads, helmets, breeches, and jackets. Once they have accumulated more riding equipment for themselves than they know what to do with, the next process is asking for things for their horse.
Suddenly, their special Christmas list that they write no longer becomes about items for them, but rather, accessories and tack for their companions. Bits, bridles, blankets, treats, brushes, wraps, stylish haters, and the list goes on and on.
Before we know it, Christmas is no longer a holiday for ourselves, but for our horses. We could care less if we do open a present with something for our own personal use. All we care about is how freaking awesome those colorful polos will look on our horse or how comfortable they will be in their new soft rides.
The reason this change, evolution even, of an equestrian is so notable is because it is a timeline of their journey. They begin as many do: falling in love with their passion. Over the years, they develop, age, and find other essentials to ask for. The most notable moment, however, in this journey, is the first time they ask for something for their horse. Suddenly it’s not all about them, it’s about their best friend.
The reason this shift must be understood is because it exemplifies just one of the infinite number of lessons horses offer. They teach us patience, dedication, love, reward, love, humility, and most importantly, selflessness. We learn to care for something other than ourselves, for something more exceptional than ourselves, and ultimately something good for ourselves. We acknowledge their strong spirits that likewise reinforce our own, prompting us to dedicate our whole lives to their contentment.
So, to any non-horse parents out there who are slowly learning this crazy and awesome sport, never cringe at the long list of expensive tack and accessories your kids conjure up during the holidays. They could be asking for commodities solely for their own benefit, but instead, they recognize their responsibility to care for their best friend and prefer to dedicate items to their horse’s benefit than to their own. And if your son or daughter does not own a horse to buy accessories and tack for, then I think you know the solution to that problem! Nothing tops a big horse with a huge red bow on its stall!
Appreciate the holiday season with your horses and take this memorable time of year to reflect on how wondrous this lifestyle is because their spirit is the quintessence of the person we should become.
And do not forget to feed them some extra yummy candy canes along the way!