GoHorseShow talked to some people in the industry about their barn holiday Christmas traditions. Photo © McCarthy-Warda Performance Horses

Christmas Party Season: Holiday Traditions in the Horse Industry

The holiday season is officially upon us. Thanksgiving has passed and everyone is gearing up for the next big holiday.

Christmas time is filled with gifts, being surrounded by loved ones and parties with friends and family.

Our fellow barn members are practically family and we spend many hours, days and weeks with them throughout the year.

GoHorseShow asked professionals throughout the industry what holiday traditions they have with their clients.

We spoke with Brad Jewett of Jewett Performance Horses, Hillary Roberts of Capital Quarters Horses, Michelle McCarthy of McCarthy-Warda Performance Horses and Blair Townsend of Masterson Farms, LLC to get the inside scoop on what they do for their barn holiday traditions.

“Our holiday parties started way back in 2009,” Jewett said. “They were a combination of Jewett Performance Horses and the barn which I boarded out of at the time. It was always an evening of live music, a dance floor, catered food and an open bar. We would have anywhere from San Antonio television personalities to politicians in attendance. Mixed and mingled in with the local crowd were past and current AQHA friends and neighbors traveling from everywhere from as far away as Europe. We had rented limos and took a tour of the historic San Antonio Riverwalk and sat courtside to watch the best organization in basketball (San Antonio Spurs) beat whoever our latest victim was.”

Jewett also has a special guest come every year to the JPH holiday parties. These parties are also educational for the members of the barn. Jewett and Tim Kimura host a clinic before the evening festivities begin.

“To say we love the holiday season here at JPH is an understatement,” Jewett said. “To top off our Christmas party, we have almost always coordinated it with my good friend Tim Kimura. We end up doing a trail and horsemanship clinic. As many know, Tim and I love music. I mean all kinds of music. Typically during our Christmas party, we have a guest DJ by the name of Tim Kimura “MOT” (Man of Trail). He always knows the right song to keep the party bumping. This year will be no different. We had Tim here conducting a clinic on December 14-16. Of course, the party starts on Friday night. We are so excited to bring on the 2018 JPH Christmas party.”

Masterson Farms, LLC also gets together during the holidays to celebrate a great year together. They enjoy eating together at some of the best restaurants near the barn.

“We do have a holiday tradition,” Townsend said. “Every year, we do a Christmas party dinner at a restaurant called Flight. It’s one of the best restaurants in Memphis and is in the top five places to eat in the United States. It’s everyone’s favorite at Masterson Farms. We also do a Christmas lunch at our favorite Mexican Restaurant called Margaritas with everyone who works at the farm.”

A classic Christmas tradition is wearing bright and flashy sweaters. Capital Quarter Horses excels at this tradition with an annual ugly sweater competition at their holiday parties.

“We do an ugly sweater Christmas party every year,” Roberts said. “People get really into it, and we make it a competition and give prizes to the top few. It’s a lot of fun, and a good chance for everyone to get together after all the big shows and before everyone gets busy at Christmas.”

Christmas parties are a great way to relax with one another after a busy show season. McCarthy-Warda Performance Horses of Lapeer, Michigan enjoy having a fun night with everyone before the season starts up again.

“We have been hosting an annual Christmas Party for several years,” McCarthy said. “It is an opportunity for my clients and our families to come together to celebrate the holiday season and our successes in the show pen this year. We’ve always held it at our home filled with friends, great food and lots of laughs. There are usually about 75 of us scattered throughout the house. The evening is spent reminiscing about the show season shenanigans in front of the fireplace, playing pool or listening to the kids sing karaoke. It is one of my favorite days of the year. Horse shows are so busy that I don’t often get the opportunity to relax and socialize with everyone. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people in my barn, and this is the one night I can sit and relax and enjoy their company.”

The holidays are a great time to be with friends and family. We hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday season!

About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Courtney Hall is a graduate student at Missouri State University. She is obtaining a Master of Science in Agriculture degree with research in agricultural communications. She started showing the APHA & AQHA all-around circuit as a youth and continues today as an amateur.