Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful man by the name of "Harold" who raised large Percheron draft horses. Harold had a passion for his big gentle giants and also had an unbelievable passion for life! There was not much that he would not tackle or figure out.
His motto was, "Don't just sit around and wait for luck to find you, get out and find it for yourself!". ( He even lived in the town of Lucky, OH ). Well as luck would have it, Harold happened to have a terrible accident at work. While working on a large piece of machinery, his arm was caught and irreversible damage was done. Harold lost his arm. Well, most people would need quite a bit of time to recover, but not Harold. In the hospital he was helping others to cope with their afflictions. Soon he was on his way to learning how to handle simple tasks such as tying his shoes, of which he said was one of the hardest things to do! Well, he went on to not only relearning every day tasks, but tending his horses. It was not easy, but he found ways to work with one hand.
Harold contacted me one day in December and told me this story:
"Debbie, every year I have hitched a team of the finest drafts that I know and take them to a neighborhood for caroling. I invite children and families that would enjoy riding in the big wagon and we carol throughout the neighborhood. After that I invite everyone to our house for cookies and hot cocoa. Would you drive the team for me?" I was honored to think that he would ask and I said "yes!" and could not wait for the 'day before' the day before Christmas to come!
Finally when the big day arrived, Harold loaded the horses in the trailer, and had the wagon ready to be driven to our destination. He knew what neighborhood to head for, and off we went, horses, wagon and people! Once at our destination, we put the black and silver harnesses on the large gray drafts and hitched up the wagon. Harold had straw bales in the back for everyone to sit on, and carolers brought quilts and covers to keep them warm. With a good set of harness bells, and a load full of people, I drove the big beautiful team!
We went door to door singing carols to everyone throughout the neighborhood! It was wonderful to have the opportunity to drive the team and see all of the excitement when door bells rang and extremely surprised neighbors saw the holiday surprise! Just like a Currier and Ives painting, I can still see and hear the magic of that night! Tired, cold and hungry, after the horses were tucked into their stalls and harnesses put back on their racks, the hot cocoa and cookies that Harold's wife made tasted better than any gourmet dinner!
We all laughed and told stories of how much fun it was to give people a gift that they may never see again! And in my heart, I still cherish knowing how much good came from a man with a big passion for life, people and his horses. I hope you, your loved ones, and your horses, have a blessed holiday. Our family and staff wish you a very Merry Christmas for 2010 and a Happy New Year for 2011!
Photograph © Bender Photo
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.
RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. makes every effort to provide reliable and useful information on horse health, care and products. The statements made on this website are based on years of experience with horses, however, they are based on generalized situations and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by a veterinarian or consultation by a professional. RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. does not assume any legal responsibility. Readers should always consult qualified health care providers for specific diagnosis and treatment.