Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from AHorseInYourInbox
by Ann Jamieson
As a 10-year old, Drue McNeil took riding lessons at a barn in Ledyard, Connecticut. One day her parents and her trainer took her to try a horse for another student. The horse was Regale Gaszelle, a 13 year-old half-Arabian/half-Saddlebred mare.
Drue loved the horse. “She was a fun ride, a little hot but nothing I couldn’t handle.” But they returned to the barn, and that was that. Drue didn’t hear anything more about her.
Then something odd happened. Drue had been riding the lesson horses, most often a mare named Patty, at the barn. Patty, like all the lesson horses, lived in the back of the barn. Now, with Christmas approaching, Drue found herself riding her trainer’s horse, a purebred Arabian named Cassandra. Cassandra lived at the front of the barn. Why was she riding Cassandra? Drue was puzzled. But she went with the flow, and didn’t ask why things had changed.
On Christmas morning Drue and her parents went to the barn, ostensibly to treat all of the horses to Christmas carrots. But when they got there, Drue discovered the carrots were not the only reason for the visit. Something was waiting for Drue as well.
A large poster board card was attached to the front of a stall door, with Drue’s name on it. Opening the card up, Drue read, “Dear Drue, We found this horse and she needs a friend. We thought of you Drue. Take care of her with lots of love. Love, Santa Claus.”
Drue opened the door and there stood Regale Gaszelle. The horse she had tried for someone else had really been for her! And the reason she hadn’t been riding the lesson horses was because her parents had hidden the mare back among the school horses to keep her a secret from Drue.
Bursting into tears, she threw her arms around Gaszelle, gave her a big kiss and, of course, some carrots. Then she took her out of the stall and led her around the indoor, spending time with her and absorbing the fact that, yes, this stunning mare was now her own!
Drue and Gaszelle went on to win multiple Region 16 Championships in Half-Arabian Hunter Under Saddle, and in equitation.
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