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A Horse For Christmas

Posted on: December 25, 2013 by Kerri Vuolo

As any horse-crazy child can attest, the greatest Christmas gift one could ever receive is an equine friend. In this blog, several SmartPakers share their fond memories of getting a horse or pony for Christmas. Have you ever received a horse as a gift? Tell us your story in the comments!

“As a horse obsessed child, I was so excited to get riding lessons as a Christmas present when I was nine years old. I was immediately bitten by the bug! During the next year I rode all sorts of lesson horses and would do anything I could to ride extras. One particular extra I fell in love was, Puppy Love, a 14.1 hh Quarter Pony sale horse. In mid-December I was told that a girl from Indiana had come to look at Puppy and that she was being sold. They day she was shipping out, I wrapped her legs, put her head bumper on and sent her away in her nicest blanket. I cried as I loaded her on the trailer and then my Mom drove me home as the horse van drove out the barn driveway. A few days went by and then it was Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house. My grandma bought me a saddle as a gift that year, I was so thrilled! On Christmas Day my Mom said, I had gotten very special permission from my trainer to go out to the barn and give all the horses Christmas treats. First, I showed off my new saddle and then one by one I went down the stalls feeding all the horses treats. When I got to the back of the barn, I saw a something red on a stall front. I went over to it and to my biggest surprise ever, there was a wooden sign on the stall that said ‘Puppy Love, Owner Becky Gilmore’ with a big red bow on it! And there Puppy was in her stall! My parents had bought me a pony for Christmas and gone through the whole rouse of sending her away (she went around the block) so I could be surprised. That was one of my best horses, and she took me all the way through the Large Pony Division at Pony Finals. Years later, we sold her to a family of little girls and she is a retired broodmare now, down south. This was the beginning of my lifelong love of horses, and I have never had a better Christmas present!”
~Rebecca from Merchandising


“At 10 years old, I could not have been more obsessed with horses. I had been taking lessons for about a year, and recently had fallen in love with a 3 year old dapple gray Appendix Quarter Horse gelding at the barn named Riker. He was a resale project for my trainer, and a lot of people were interested in him. I begged my parents to buy him for me, but they refused, saying I wasn’t ready for the responsibility. So naturally, I doubled my hours at the barn, determined to prove them wrong! On Christmas, we traditionally decorated our favorite horse’s stall with stockings, garland, and other festive gear. I showed up at the barn on Christmas Eve, only to find Riker’s stall had already been decorated. At first I was mad, thinking someone else had beat me to it, but as I looked closer, I realized that the card on the stall said he was mine! My parents, not horse people, had decorated his stall to surprise me- and as you can see in the photo, they forgot to put the decorations out of his reach ☺. Riker was absolutely the greatest gift I could have ever received. Despite being green and somewhat naughty, with the help of my trainer, Riker and I grew up and improved together. He has taught me so many important lessons- not just about riding, but about life as well.
It’s been 17 years since our first Christmas, and Riker is now retired, but we still love to celebrate Christmas together. I’ll never forget the kindness and generosity of my parents that year as they fufilled a little girl’s greatest wish.”
~Kerri from Marketing


“Bubba was my first horse and he was given to me as a Christmas present when I was 15 years old. I was at a barn Christmas party and in the middle of the party, the back aisle door was opened to reveal Bubba wearing a brand new green blanket with a huge red bow tied to it! I had been working with Bubba, who was my trainer’s horse at the time, for months in lessons. We just clicked, so to be able to officially call him mine was awesome. It was the BEST moment ever!
Until exactly one year later, when I received my second horse, Rocki, as a Christmas gift. I had outgrown Bubba within the year and really wanted to follow my dream of being competitive on the all-around circuit and Rocki happened to come into my life that fall. I had a chance to get to know him and knew that he had the talent I needed on the all-around circuit. On Christmas morning my parents gave me a letter. The letter was from Bubba, saying that he approved Rocki coming into our family and that he knew he couldn’t take me to the level I wanted to be at, but Rocki could. He just asked that I take him on a trail ride every now and then so he could still have some attention. To say the least I was stunned and couldn’t believe it! My parents quickly told me not to get accustomed to a horse every Christmas since it has been two years in a row that they had surprised me with one ☺.
I can still vividly remember both moments and they couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s every little girls dream to get a pony for Christmas, right? I am blessed to have it happen twice!”
~Ashley, Customer Care

“I think every kid who grows up riding says they have the best parents ever – I mean, between uniquely smelly laundry, long hours and early mornings, and the price tag associated with…well…everything, riding is a big sport to support. But even knowing all that, I still think my parents were the best.
I’ll never forget the Christmas that I got Cocoa Puff. I’d been working at the barn for a few years, cleaning stalls, prepping lesson horses, feeding, banding, clipping – you name it, I did it! But I was so longing for a horse of my own. And then Cocoa Puff came to the barn. He was not the most beautiful pony by any conventional standards (a leopard appaloosa with the pinkest nose you’ve ever seen) , his ‘canter’ was a pretty rough ride, and he was always ready to spook at anything. But in my eyes, he was perfect. Cocoa Puff lived out in the ‘back 40’ field with the other lesson horses, and I would trudge out there every day, bring him down to the barn, and lovingly groom him and spoil him for hours. I’d always pretend that he was my pony, but I never really thought it would come true. Until…
Christmas morning, after all the presents were opened, my mom pulled two envelopes out from behind the tree, saying ‘Looks like Santa dropped two back here!’ At first I was very underwhelmed at the prospect of a gift contained in an envelope, but pretty soon I was laughing and crying and smiling so hard my face hurt. The first envelope contained a picture of Cocoa Puff in the lesson horse field, explaining that he was mine – really mine! The second envelope held a picture of Cocoa Puff in a stall – his new stall in the boarder barn! I couldn’t believe that not only was I lucky enough to get a pony for Christmas, but my new pony was getting his own gift, too! Best. Christmas. Ever.”
~ Sarah from Marketing