P.O. Box 425
Boonville, CA 95415
Contact Wendy Rowe at (707) 895-3406 (pacific time zone)
or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
What child doesn't dream of a pony for Christmas? Yet for the majority, a pony under the Christmas tree remains forever in the realm of fairytales and fantasy. Many children have ponies, but only a lucky few ever experience the joy of a pony as a Christmas surprise. The Christmas when I was six years old and my brother was three, we joined the ranks of those lucky few.
We were already familiar with horses as our cousin kept her 2 horses at our house. Cousin Jennifer had us riding almost as soon as we could walk, and by six I was a confirmed horse-itis case.
Jennifer would hoist me up behind her and off we would go over hill and dale. Once she even arrived on horseback to pick me up from school. I was the envy of the whole school that day, trotting away down the road while the other children waited in line for the schoolbus.
My brother and I sometimes sometimes visited a nearby family who seemed to live on horseback. They had what appeared to be a vast herd of horses to my six year old perception, although I suspect the tally was actually 5 or 6 horses. The daughters were couple of years older than I, and I greatly admired them and their ponies. Their mother would often pack up the whole family on horseback and they would ride off into the hills for days at a time. I was in love with Stardust, a petite black Shetland already outgrown by the older girls. Whenever we went to visit I was given a ride on Stardust. My brother rode Diamond, an ancient pinto pony that looked like a draft horse in miniature. Diamond's movement, when there was any at all, was entirely in slow motion. A more perfect pony for a 3 year old could hardly be found, as nothing could induce him to exert himself beyond a few lumbering trot strides.
Christmas was drawing near, and we sure spent a lot of time riding those friends' ponies. I knew that Stardust was for sale, but at 6 years old I suspected nothing. Our parents and cousin plotted the perfect Christmas surprise. We spent Christmas morning at our aunt and uncle's house. Our presents under the tree consisted of grooming tools. We were told these were for us to help our cousin groom her horses. We were perhaps a bit disappointed, but unquestioningly accepted this explanation. Cousin Jennifer mysteriously disappeared once the presents were opened (to transport ponies) and our parents took a leisurely drive home with us. When we arrived home we were led through the house and out the back door to find two ponies decked out in Christmas ribbons, tied to the back porch. Of course we recognized them instantly; our favorites Stardust and Diamond! A complete and wonderful surprise--my brother and I had not the slightest inkling that this was coming.
To this day the delightful image of that furry black pony with a giant red ribbon tied around her middle is as clear in my mind as if it were yesterday, and remains a favorite childhood memory. Hats off to my enterprising parents and cousin for creating the best Christmas ever!