Horses might not be the first animal that you think of when you think about Christmas. That honour would probably go to the reindeer. You may even call to mind the donkey before the humble horse.
However, horses have long been involved with Christmas celebrations and continue to play an important role around Christmastime. In this post, we’ll explore some of the many links between horses and Christmas.
Associations Between Horses and Christmas
Picture a traditional Christmas scene - perhaps on the front of a vintage Christmas card. The snow is softly falling as a horse or team of horses pulls a sleigh past a quiet village.
Besides horses’ association with an old-fashioned country Christmas, they’ve found their way into toys and ornaments, past and present. Think wooden rocking horses, plush and plastic ponies, Christmas carousels, and horse figurines dangling on Christmas trees.
More recently, you can find horses on Christmas pillows, mugs, and stockings. There are even horse advent calendars where every day leading up to Christmas you get a mini toy to add to your horse collection.
The strong representation of horses in Christmas decorations and presents likely speaks to little girls’ classic dream of getting a pony for Christmas. Unless their parents are as rich as Elvis Presley (who gave his friends horses as presents), they’ll likely have to make do with horse toys or riding lessons.
Treating Horses at Christmastime
It’s not only humans who get in on the Christmas fun. If you want to put a smile on your face, look up photos of horse Christmas costumes. Whether horses are staying in the barn or participating in a parade, their owners love dressing them up in festive red-and-green outfits or even transforming them into reindeer by putting on antlers.
Although horses might not appreciate these additions to their wardrobe, they’re unlikely to say no to extra treats around Christmas. In fact, for several years in early 20th-century Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue League of Boston organized a special Christmas for the Horses. At the Horses’ Christmas Tree, located in a busy square, the city’s thousands of work horses could take a break from their hard, dangerous work pulling wagons to enjoy a free meal.
There’s a legend that barn animals, including horses, gain the ability to speak between midnight on Christmas Eve and dawn on Christmas day. As humans are enjoying family traditions and getting some rest before the excitement of Christmas, what do you think the horses talk about?
Did you learn anything new about horses and Christmas? Or maybe you can think of another connection between horses and this holiday? Let us know in the comments!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.