Once again, I need to post this - I love this little true story by our own AnneFS, and I admit, I used it (with her permission, of course!) as the basis for a chapter in my novel (also a ss in its own right.) And, I think her son must now be around... 18 now?!
Merry Christmas to all!
The Stables At Midnight by Anne Flyzik Schaefer
I have a true story to tell about midnight on Christmas.
It happened in 1991 or '92. My marriage had ended, and I was leasing a farm as a boarding stable. I had around 20 horses at Christmas that year.
My son was then 5 or 6 years old and knew the Thomas Hardy poem about all the animals kneeling down at midnight on Christmas Eve. He begged and begged to go to the stable at midnight, but I put him off, not wanting to disappoint him in this year of so many disappointments.
You see, I had a lot of horses that did not like to lie down even in the wee hours of the night, including two mares whose owners told me they'd had those two for years and had yet to even see them off their feet. A number of the others would lie down, but would immediately get up when someone entered the barn or came near them.
Well, that Christmas Eve, Conor woke up at 11:30 and begged to go to the stable to see if it was true. My heart was a little heavy as we went down.
It was 11:59. We entered the barn at midnight, flashlight in hand.
EVERY horse was kneeling. We walked down one side and back the other. Every horse was kneeling; none got up.
None were flat on their sides, not even the yearling. And the two mystery mares were also kneeling; so were the track lay-ups who always jumped to their feet when people approached: every single one of them.
It was so hushed and quiet and beautiful.
The faith of a child....
Conor is 13 now and stands 5'10. He still says to me, "Remember that Christmas Eve when we went down to the barn to see if the horses were kneeling?"
Before I met my future ex-in laws, I spoke to the Wisconsin whole dairy farming family on the phone one Christmas eve. I told that story to my future ex-husband's 5-year-old nephew. He insisted on counting the cows, dogs, and cats. I don't think they were all kneeling tho.
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH