Finding Gratitude

My mother has a song for pretty much everything! I can hear her now as she reads the title to the article I’m writing, singing the hymn with a smile on her face:

“Count your blessings; name them one by one;

Count your blessings, see what God hath done…” by Johnson Oatman

The holiday season can be overwhelming with family get-togethers, traditions we feel compelled to continue (even when we would really prefer not to), and extra time commitments jammed into our already packed schedules. All of these things make it an especially good time to reflect and consider the many reasons we have to be grateful this season.

Traditionally, the celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas begin after Dec. 25th, as a method of reflecting what the Incarnation means in our lives. We’re changing it up a little here in that we want to enumerate some of the many reasons we are grateful this holiday season as we draw closer to the true celebration of Christmas–God’s gift to humankind, Jesus Christ.

At Five Horses, we feel this is the time to express our gratitude to God for the gift of Jesus, as well as His gifts of each of you and our extraordinary equine partners.To that end, we hope you enjoy the Five Horses’ version of the 12 Days of Christmas. We will be featuring a different horse each day and why we are grateful to have him/her in our lives. As we share our gratitude over the next twelve days, we hope that you may discover a reason to have one of these horses in your life!

On the 1st day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Merlin teaches riders how to communicate with focus and clear intentions, and how silence is sometimes the best answer. He demonstrates how soft hands and a steady leg make for an amazing ride. His sweet personality and soulful eyes compel you to slow down and be present in the moment with him.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Brio is our Lipizzaner gelding filled with flashy arrogance and a need for fun. He teaches riders how to be firm, yet flexible in their requests (not demands!). His affections know no bounds and his Left-brained Extrovert personality keeps riders on their toes.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Beauty and brains. This Right-brain Extrovert teaches riders how soft their phase 1 needs to be. Be gentle with her and she will offer her heart.

On the 4th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Sky, being a Right-brain extrovert, is super sensitive and tries her heart out at whatever you ask. Even when she is scared, she will push herself through with her dominant horsenality. She craves leadership and connection, and is capable of just about anything with her rider’s support and clear intentions.

On  the 5th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Phoebe is brave and smart, and has a great love of food! She loves to jump and is a beautiful mover in the arena. She’s so sensitive that riders merely need to shift their weight to communicate movements. Phoebe is a complex girl who needs a firm, yet sensitive partner.

On the 6th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Eriond is smart, beautiful and the life of the party! As a confident extrovert, he keeps us all on our toes. If you aren’t interesting enough, he will either leave or start his own games.

On the 7th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Feather is always the first to meet you at the gate and loves affection and attention. She can sometimes overwhelm people with her size, so riders need to be firm about their personal space and sure of their ideas or she will challenge them. This pretty girl has the smoothest trot on the ranch!

On the 8th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


This pretty girl is our goddess at the ranch. She is well-balanced in all 4 of the Horsenality quadrants. This means she is brave and curious, intelligent and willful, sensitive and affectionate, as well as extroverted and ready to go when she’s having fun. Tira loves to spend time out on the trail and forms a deep connection to her riders.

On the 9th Day of Christmas…

We are thankful for:


Annabelle grabs everyone’s attention with her natural beauty. She has brains to go with that beauty though, and will challenge you with her “what’s in it for me?” personality. Her western pleasure jog and rocking horse canter are a dream to ride.

On the 10th Day of Christmas…


We are thankful for:


Originally wild off the plains of North Dakota, Tanka is our much-beloved Nokota mustang. His natural instincts are sharper than most from his time in the wild, which means he is a cautious boy when he first meets someone. He warms right up though, especially if you have a cookie! Nokotas are known for being incredibly intelligent, sensitive, and loyal companions, and this describes our Tanka to a “t”.