“Do all the horses get sold this time of the year? I am completely befuddled by the concept, so enlighten me! ”
This question was asked privately after my Christmas party post . I answered here in case others wonder the same thing.
At Stepping Stone Farm, as at other barns, horses come and go all year long. Horses are bought, sold, go out on trial. The barn frequently brings new horses home from a show, or leaves horses to relocate elsewhere. Logistics make showgrounds into good swapping places.
At a show barn (I say from my vast lack of experience), horses are often bought/sold at the end of the season as riders move up to a new level, age out, go off to college, etc. I assume this happens in other disciplines as well: hunter/jumper, western, Arabian. Basically, I would imagine this would hold true at any barn whose calendar is tied to a show schedule.
Therefore, horses move around at the end of the year. Doing this as a surprise seems to be a pervasive in the saddle seat world. In December, my Facebook feed is filled with images of horse and bows and delighted new owners.
At Stepping Stone, many of the new arrangements are leases and in-barn sales. It is easy enough to save these announcements until the Christmas party. More difficult with a “new” horse, but not impossible if one is willing to make the effort.
The kids have gotten wise to this. Excessive machinations are often required to maintain the element of surprise. Horses have been sent to other farms, hidden in a back stall, falsely presented to the wrong owner, and so on. Coach Courtney appears to take particular delight in this form of gentle torment.