Episode 58: Christmas morning in the barn

In this special Christmas podcast episode, the host shares a cherished holiday memory that revolves around an unexpected tradition – feeding the horses on Christmas Day. This seemingly mundane task holds a special place in their heart because it contrasts with the routine of daily horse care.

The host acknowledges that opinions about the daily chores of horse care can vary greatly, with some finding it the best part of having horses and others seeing it as the worst. What makes Christmas Day feeding unique, though, is the festive atmosphere and the break from the usual routine. The host fondly recalls the early mornings in Maine, bundling up with their family to open stockings before heading to the barn to feed the horses.

Their mother’s influence is evident as she instilled the importance of responsibility and commitment towards the horses, teaching them not to take these animals for granted. Christmas morning feeding became a ritual of giving presents to the horses, making it a joyful and heartwarming experience.

As a parent, the host continued this tradition, hoping to pass on the same sense of simple joy and anticipation to their children. The podcast ends with a reflection on whether the everydayness of caring for horses is seen as a joy or an interference, leaving it up to the listener to decide.

In the spirit of Christmas, the host wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, emphasizing the importance of perspective in finding joy in life’s routines.


  1. Marilyn Boyd on January 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    I remembet Christmas Eve at the barn where my horse boarded. The boss and a couple of boarders would make a special warm mash for all 70 of them that included carrots, apples and peppermints (sugar free). The horses would start nickering as soon as they smeeled the mash and would dance around their stalls in anticipation. It didn’t matter thst it was 15 degrees out, we all felt like Santa.

  2. Janie on January 4, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Love this! Feeding our horses is also the best part of my day (even cleaning stalls gives me peace)! I think it’s because when I open the barn door and they all start talking to me, it makes my heart happy and makes me smile!

  3. Susan on January 4, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Four years ago, at the age of 57, I finally got my farm. I love having my horses at home, and consider my morning chore time the best part of the day. In the mornings I feed, put out hay for the next 24 hours, clean stalls, and pick up the dry lot and often the pastures as well. If the weather is nasty I will admit that it can be painful stepping out the door, but once outside I am literally never sorry to be out there.

    I often have people comment to me about what a drag it must be to do horse chores. When I tell them it is the best part of my day they look at me like I have horns sprouting out of my head. I guess horse people really are different.

  4. Annette Marshall on January 4, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    I spent my whole life wishing and dreaming of owning a horse so when in 2011 I had my first opportunity to experience the daily time spent caring for horses it has been an extremely special time for me. I look forward to it everyday. Christmas eve is an extra special day for me and I have incorporated that into my horse life. I go late in the evening, spend extra time playing and grooming and hiding treats. I believe there is a magical time on this night where we are connected with animals as spiritually as we can be. On christmas morning I always have a happy content horse who let’s me ride first thing. He follows me around as I clean and prepare feed and make his day special. We goof off and play as any two connected beings would do based on our relationship built on time together.

  5. Ginny Mayfield on December 31, 2019 at 11:15 am

    My horses always get special Christmas Eve alfalfa… Then that small bale is fed throughout the week until gone. Here in Texas they don’t “need” that alfalfa… But the love a bit of greenness..this time of year.

    • Liz on January 4, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      A great lesson your mom gave you and tour brother,and a great tradition to hand down to the next generation of equestrians.

  6. Jackie on December 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

    The best, thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas ??

  7. Drewry Voshefski on December 27, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    The best thing! One of my favorite book quotes is from “The Dirty Life” by Kristen Kimball. I cried in the truth of it the first few times I read it, and it it captures the strong ties our soul can have to our job of caretaker so well. “ The word chore connotes tedium, but that was not how I felt about them. I had missed my chores. Chores were the first taste of the weather, the first effort of limbs, a dance to which I knew all the steps with certainty.“

  8. Kathy Stoker on December 26, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    It’s the best time. Having my horses is truly a gift I do not take for granted. They anticipate their feed and seeing me every morning so it doesn’t really matter that I wait to open a material gift … after the spiritual pick up from time with the horses…. no matter the weather. I find one of the most peaceful things on earth is, when all is quiet, listening to the horses eat. 🙂

  9. Celia Simon on December 25, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Thank goodness for the chores that owning horses generates. Interaction with each horse and checking on their health and providing special treats which makes them nicker when I show up with granola bars and bedtime hay at 9 pm every night. (And cleaning stalls is good exercise)

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