The Year the Horses Saved Christmas

The Year Horses Saved Christmas
December 2, 2008
by Neil Clarkson

This excerpt is from a story published in

Comet was a wise old horse much admired by his paddock mates. He had shouldered the responsibility of running the herd for a good 20 years now – a firm but fair leader.
But everyone knew the weight of responsibility spread far beyond the 20 hectares they quietly grazed at Yuletide Stud in lush hills north of Auckland.

Comet had a secret. He admitted that much. But he was not about to tell his paddock mates.

Every Christmas Eve he was seen scanning the horizon as the stars twinkled into life. No one knew why, and no one dared ask.

The horses always enjoyed their extra rations as each new Christmas dawned, but nothing could prepare them for the magic of this night.

Christmas Eve had begun like any other. A cool sea breeze added a chill to the night air.

Midnight came and the horses watched the moon creep above the horizon. It was just after 2am when the wind suddenly died away. For a moment the stars appeared to shine even brighter.

Then, the unmistakable sound of hooves could be heard in the paddock! The horses swung around to see what the moonlight would reveal.

There, barely visible in the gloom, was Santa’s sleigh, parked in their very own paddock!

The reindeer shuffled about, keen to pick at the grass. The Old Man made a sprightly leap from his seat and set about rummaging through the mountain of toys at the back of his sleigh.

Why was Santa doing visiting them?

Before they knew it, he was marching towards them with a big bag of carrots slung over his shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, my fine equine friends,” he said.

Everyone was speechless – everyone, that is, except Comet.

“Santa,” he said. “It’s great to see you again.”

“Likewise, Comet,” he replied. “And what a fine bunch of young horses you have here.”

Comet nodded in agreement.

“I guess we have some explaining to do,” said Santa. “These young horses need a little lesson on the magic of Christmas.”

Santa, they discovered, was a great storyteller.

He took them back five years, to that fateful day in 2003 when he was sitting in his executive suite …

Read the rest of the story here.

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