Many years ago I swore I would never perform in a horse show again. Too much pressure, no fun.
Never say never.
Mystic and I took part in the Cooler Horsemanship Christmas Special on December 20. It wasn’t really a show—more a gathering of people who love natural horsemanship and want to demonstrate what we’ve learned. It was all fun and no pressure. Everybody pitched in, festooning Fiore Farms with garlands, velvet ribbons, and Christmas lights. Boarders brought giant plates of cookies and cakes, and a crock pot of hot mulled cider steamed in the corner of the tack lounge.
Santa Claus came too and visited with Mystic before the show. I believe Mystic told him, “All I want for Christmas is to get rid of these girly decorations.”
Family and friends turned out to watch, cheering on our small triumphs and spangled horses. Highlights included Elizabeth, dressed as “Mother Ginger,” sprinkling fairy dust while “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” played.
Jane and Ben and Mystic and I did ground play to the tune of “Redbird,” a foot-tapping string band number that seemed in my mind to go on forever. How come in rehearsals everything had gone so much more smoothly?
The Bednar girls sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while performing with their little buckskin quarter horse, Oberon.
James and Indigo did freedom play to the tune of “Dig That Crazy Santa Claus.” James deserved the good sport award for wearing an elf costume that would have emasculated anyone else but somehow looked charming on him.
Kleo and Kate showed off their dressage moves to “The Carol of the Bells” by George Winston. It’s hard to say who looked more gorgeous, horse or rider. Kleo wore tinsel leg wraps that made her look like a Dallas Cowgirl; as she stood on the pedestal and caught sight of her own feet, she snorted with fear, no doubt thinking, What the heck are those shiny things?
Afterward we gathered and ate and hugged and congratulated each other. Everybody’s face was shining, and our horses looked pretty proud of themselves too.
I’m already looking forward to next year. Consider this your invitation to the second annual Cooler Horsemanship Christmas Special.
Many thanks to Margaret Bednar for supplying photographs of the Christmas special. See more of Margaret’s photos and read about her own adventures with natural horsemanship at her blog, Just Horses.