Christmas for Horse Kids
I’ve had horses since I was 10, and lessons since I was 6. My family didn’t have a lot of money, and so I got quite a bit of horse equipment and related items as gifts for Christmas instead of just because I needed or wanted them for shows. I remember getting my first western show bridle with silver ferrules one year. It was the only silver I had on my horse at a time when western tack was dripping with silver (I think it still is), so even that little bit was a big deal for me! We also had a Saddlebred at the time and were members of ASHA. They offered a shiny navy blue jacket with the ASHA logo on a patch that I wanted in the worst way. I also got that for Christmas one year.
When I was married and started carriage driving, I would get carriage related items for Christmas. I received a lot of books related to carriages and driving, many of which are now out of print. Our first harness was an older Smuckers with the leather reins that were black on the front half and russet on the back, which were popular at one time. Knowing they were out-of-fashion, my mom bought IVC leather reins for me one year. They were a lot less stiff than the black dyed ones we had. I pretty much saved them just for shows. We also found out that carriage show numbers weren’t pinned to your back like they were at riding shows, so I got a number holder one year. I was finally becoming more “customary” as a carriage show driver.
One important gift for me was my first Spares Kit. Ironically, both my husband and mom ordered a rolled spares kit for me, but one got the russet and other got the black. So, I kept them both to use depending on which turnout I was driving. Back then, having a spares kit for your turnout wasn’t quite as important as it is now, as now I know of some judges who won’t even use you in their placings in a Turnout class if you don’t have one. Or maybe one reason I didn’t do as well back then is because I didn’t have one but didn’t know that was why. (Nah, I doubt it. More on that topic in a later post!) Regardless, I also received the leather rein and trace splices, the hammer/screwdriver, and the horseman’s knife for the kit as well, so I felt like I was on top of the world! I finally had the start to a well-stocked spares kit!
Since we have been competing for quite some time, we now have a fairly well-stocked tack room of carriage driving equipment. So more recently, we have invested in memories more than equipment for Christmas. We have a beautiful large photograph by Kim Kuhlman (right) which now hangs in our living room of my husband and our much younger son (he's turning 18 this week) in the line up of the Father’s Day class at the Columbus Carriage Classic. When I first saw the photo in 2009, I had asked Chad what he and Kyle were talking about in that moment, and of course he couldn't remember. It was definitely a captured moment in time and was not "staged". I don't think I could get another photo like it ever again...maybe once we have grandkids (a LONG time from now!).
Last year, Chad commissioned Larry Schultz to paint a portrait (left) of my gelding, Fantasy Corral’s Magic Galaxy (Alax) and me at our last show together, the 2018 Villa Louis Carriage Classic. I was going to semi-retire the gelding, but he came back this year with a Novice Junior driver to win the VSE division at two ADS shows and cleaned up at the State 4-H Horse Expo. This 20 year old gelding is truly special to us, and will never leave our family. I love having this painting to remember this moment.
We have also found that it is quite fun to help others select potential gifts for their carriage driving friends and family, especially ones just starting out. We remember when we were at that point as well, and what a difference it made to be given those items we would never think of buying for ourselves. If you need help finding that perfect gift, let us know! We are happy to help!
- Myrna Rhinehart