Holly Jolly Horsey Holiday
By Cindy Hale
Monday, December 14, 2009
Once you’ve spent much of your life around horses, the beasts eventually invade every aspect of your life, including Christmastime. I’ll give you a few personal examples.
First, I’ve been invited to several holiday parties and my biggest concern is determining what to wear. As a horsewoman, my wardrobe choices are rather limited. It’s not like I have a snazzy sequined dress hanging in my closet. Instead, my go-to party ensemble is my one pair of sacred jeans. I reserve them for special occasions. They’re still dark denim in color and unblemished by horse snot and sweat stains. I match them up with a wool turtleneck sweater and my waterproof suede loafers and that’s about as dolled up as I get. And why not? I never know if I’ll have to dash home and toss a flake of hay to Wally or throw a blanket on Joey. A horsewoman has to dress with such possible emergencies in mind.
Next, I have an uncanny ability to seek out any other horsewomen in attendance at these parties. It must be some kind of sixth sense. Either that or I’m part bird dog. But at any rate, I can be sandwiched between layers of complete strangers at a holiday party and suddenly—there, across a crowded room—I spy her: A kindred spirit. It’s another woman dressed in (dark) jeans and a well-worn sweater. Her hair is neatly pulled back, away from her face, as if she’s ready to don a hair net, show bow or safety helmet. She’s making polite conversation, but I can imagine what she’s really thinking: “Did I feed my mare enough pellets tonight, or should I give her another scoop when I get home?”
That’s when I’ll elbow my way past the civilians and place my hand upon my newfound soul mate’s shoulder. Above the party chatter I’ll say with a smile, “I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that you’re a horsewoman, too.”
“Why yes, I am!” she’ll exclaim. Without hesitation we’ll exchange hugs like we’re long lost high school chums.
And then my husband won’t be able to find me for the next two hours because I’ll be planted in the corner, chatting non-stop with another horse crazy woman.
Yet one more way that horses have intermingled with my holiday spirit is the little game I play with my sister Jill. We take popular Christmas carols and switch the lyrics around so they end up with horsey themes. One of our favorites is called “The Horse Trailer Carol” and is sung to the tune of “Away in a Manger”:
Put hay in my manger,
And I’ll go for a ride.
It don’t even matter
Who you put by my side.
One more is “The Shopping Carol” sung to the tune of “Silver Bells”:
Silver spurs, silver spurs!
It’s Christmas time at the tack store.
See all the bling?
Soon they’ll be mine Christmas Day!
You’re probably glad you haven’t invited me to any Christmas caroling parties. But if you cross paths with me on the trails between now and December 25th, listen carefully. I may be humming a familiar tune, but the actual words could be a little strange. Odd transformations occur around the holidays when you’re a real life horsewoman.
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