Look closely at this photo. See the picture in the brown frame on the wall? That's a photograph taken years ago of my mother's prized Trakehner mare. It's not often that you have the traditional Santa with Children snapshot moment with horsey images in the background, yet it's pretty much standard in our family, especially when the annual Christmas party/reunion is held at my parents' small ranch (fondly referred to as El Ranchito).
Oh. And that's my husband underneath all that Santa garb. Santa was apparently busy that evening and required a stand-in.
While I'm not sure if Santa will be making a personal visit this year to either El Ranchito or my house, I do know that some of my relatives will be visiting. I have a huge extended family with lots of cousins and nieces and nephews. Truly, I consider it a blessing to have so many relatives whom I also consider friends. I think it's sad that large, close-knit families are a rarity these days. When we all converge under one roof it's quite a soiree. There's lots of great food and lots of laughing. Unfortunately, when the shindigs are held at El Ranchito or at my house, we also have to dance around the sticky situation of whether or not the aforementioned cousins, nieces and nephews get to hop on one of our horses for a holiday photo op.
It's not that I don't want anyone riding Wally or Lexi. But remember, I just took a tumble off Lexi last week. Putting Cousin Tammy-- who last rode a horse while vacationing in Mazatlan two years ago-- on Lexi just doesn't seem like a wise idea. And Wally, while considerably more predictable than Lexi, is incredibly mouthy in that obnoxious stud colt sort of way. Even though he was gelded several years ago, he still has an oral fixation that may or may not at any given time include an obsession with clothing. The last thing I need is for Wally to be overcome with his Fabric Fetish, grab for my Auntie Thelma's sleeve and inadvertently inhale her arm.
"Hey, Santa, did you bring me any band-aids in your bag of gifts?"
So while I welcome my relatives to Horse Town at Christmastime, I've decided to make the four-legged critters off limits. After all, I'm sure that Santa doesn't allow his elves to take Donder and Blixen for a bareback spin around the North Pole.
Do you have any thoughts or comments on this topic? Let me know by clicking on "comments" below!