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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 23, 2010

The Classic Christmas Horse Story

I'm sure you all have read it somewhere, sometime.  But this time of is the perfect story of the old one.

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-

Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents

with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up

and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which

topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become

a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the

countryside… The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood

here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their

lives, and called them away to a different life..

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken

their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was

getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings

and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses

were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old

folks. Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no

longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her.

You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves.

How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and

work? Why do you keep her anyway?”

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed

at the barn floor and replied, “Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.

His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near

with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied


“We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife

a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole

through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it

had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks.. How is it

that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that

filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed

the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None

saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry

flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and

despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced

to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring

now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the

ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling

for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at

their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins

were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief,

huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose

from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen

as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his

wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old

hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he

whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve

of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old

pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look

down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and

pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy

hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and

withered hand. The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies

in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest

of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill

the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the

incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up

in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it

was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a

crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere

mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as

the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed

and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward.

There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over

and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows

glistening in the night light. Bedded down about the “Old One” close

to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her

muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great

dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping

cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed

about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry

flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips

and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years

crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved

calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay

among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife. Those

she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years,

tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as

she offered her gift—
Because of love.
Only Because of love…
Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy and

again the peace of love filled their hearts.


  1. Beautiful and touching story! Thanks for sharing it; I had never heard this story but it is wonderful.