It’s Christmas day! After opening gifts at the crack of dawn, a hearty Christmas breakfast, and a few hours spent cleaning up while the kids play with their new gadgets,
I head to the barn around 1:00.
Today, I decide, I am going to let Jaliska just run around the indoor.
I get to her stall and, of course, she is delighted to see me. After telling her she is the most beautiful horse in the world, I hand her a Christmas apple.
She is thrilled with my humble offering.
After a good morning pat, I strip off her heavy winter blanket and neck attachment, leaving her light wool under-blanket intact. I pick her hooves and brush her mane and tail.
We head to the indoor. After closing the sliding doors, I take off her lead rope and let her go. She races around the interior like Secretariat. Head held high, nostrils flared, tail arched. She looks like a champion.
I let her canter, prance and trot around for a good while, and once she has settled down I leave her to hang out in the big open space while I head into the tack room to clean her tack.
I hook Jaliska’s bridle onto the metal holder attached to the ceiling so I can get a grip while wiping it down with saddle soap. The tack room, which is also the lesson viewing room, has two large windows into the indoor. J sees me through one of them and proceeds to walk up to it, peering in to see what I’m up to.
She continues to watch me, seemingly entranced, while I clean and condition her bridle, draw reins, girth and saddle. I move to the opposite end of the room to organize her tack trunk. She moves to the window closer to me to get a better view.
She really is a funny horse.
After about forty-five minutes, I blanket her back up and give her two slices of hay. “See you tomorrow girl,” I say. I start up my minivan and as I am driving past her stall I stop and roll down my window to say one last goodbye. Hearing me she turns around, leaving her hay, and pokes her head out to do the same. I can’t resist. I hop out and hand her another apple. It is, after all, Christmas day.