AS CHRISTMAS CAROLS
DOMINATE the radio
stations and festive
decorations infiltrate the
corners of every store, ’tis
officially the season. Horse
blankets are out of storage
and in full use, and fleece
gloves are hands-down the
best invention of all time.
While it may be frigid outside,
as equestrians, we will brave
the toughest elements to spend
quality time with our horses,
even during the rush of the
holidays. We will bake treats for
our horses so they don’t feel left
out of the cookie exchange. We
will even deck out our horses for
that special holiday photo.
Our love (obsession) for
our equine partners in crime
knows no limits.
The Mental Debate
I’ve heard people reference
something called “sun guilt.”
The phrase refers to a feeling of
remorse that comes from staying
inside on a beautiful, sunny day.
Likewise, I think there’s a
thing called “barn guilt,” which in
the winter months I would define
as the feeling you get when you
don’t visit your horse because the
wind is blowing at over 30 mph
and the temperature is below
When the self-preservation part
of my brain tries to tell me I should
avoid going outside and hanging
with the horses, I tell myself it’s
not that cold. With the latest riding
apparel technology, surely I can
keep circulation in all fingers and
toes for that after-work ride.
Holiday gifts can start to get
expensive quickly. When you
factor in family, friends, work
colleagues and your barn family,
you sometimes need to get
One of my favorite gifts to
receive is a sample of someone’s
homemade holiday cookies.
There are so many incredible
recipes out there, and my sweet
tooth can’t say no.
While I’m enjoying holiday
cookies, or even potentially
making them myself, I can’t help
but want to make some for my
In the past, after at least an
hour of online research and an
unexpectedly long amount of
time measuring molasses, I have
successfully baked horse treats.
Do you know what usually
happens when I go to such pains
for my horse? She tells me she
doesn’t like those treats. She
won’t even attempt to eat
them. She wants plain carrots—
organic, please. Doesn’t she
know it’s rude to say no to a gift?
The holiday season brings
with it many customs
and traditions, including
holiday cards with the
family photo (of course your
horse is family). This can
present several potential
; It’s going to be so cold
and dark outside by the actual
holiday season, you stage the
photo session in October
and sweat more than you
thought possible in your
; Your horse refuses to
allow you to put the Santa hat
over his ears.
; Your horse will not put his
ears forward for a single photo.
He simply will not.
; Between you, your spouse,
You give up on the photo card
idea and take a spontaneous
group shot one Saturday in late
December. It’s the best picture
you’ve taken all season, but it’s too
late to get printed holiday cards.
You debate saving the photo for
next year’s card, then decide to
share the photo on social media
instead. Suddenly you realize
you’ve reached a huge audience
without spending a cent!
No matter what your holiday
has in store, with horses in the
equation, it’s pretty safe to say
you’ll never have a dull moment. HI
ALLISON GRIEST is a freelance writer
based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter
The struggle is real: Three
seasonal challenges you
might run into at the barn.
HORSING AROUND » BY ALLISON GRIEST
with it many customs