Kay Conklin - Contributing Columnist

When you have a horse farm, the horses come and go all the time. You could have 15 horses that need a new home and because you can make room for them, you take them in. Or, you can have one person who needs to find a new home for just one horse. Who could say “no” to such a needy situation? Whether it’s 15 or only 1, there is always a

story about how they came to need your barns. For the sake of a Christmas story, I will choose the one about the one horse needing a new home. This horse used to be a Standardbred racehorse that had become a horse for riding. It came to us under a sad situation when its owner had to give it up and knew that George may be able to find it a good home.

That’s what everyone wants when they have a horse to give away. They don’t want to part with it, and will do everything they can to find it a good home. It wasn’t for us to keep. She wanted her horse, named Jazz, to be given to a young person, who would take the best care of it and love to ride it.

So, you begin the hunt. Let 2 or 3 people hear the news, and people come out of the woodwork to tell you why they may want it, or can’t take it. Luckily this story is a Christmas story, so you can see where I’m going with it. George knew of someone who was friends of someone who wanted a horse just like the horse we had.

She wanted a big black horse. And, this one fit the bill. It was big and black.

So, the phone calls began. Would it work out to give this horse to the friend of a friend? Sure! But, is this horse ready to be ridden? So, that’s when Sarah comes into the picture and ‘test rides’ it several times, and it’s looking good. Then the phone calls start up again and finally the plan is made.

Since it’s getting close to Christmas, the man who wants the horse for his 12-year-old daughter, comes into the picture. However, he doesn’t have his barn ready for a horse to live in, as well as the fact that fences need to be built in order for the horse to ever get to go outside said barn.

Lots of discussion back and forth about how the horse would be perfect, but he wouldn’t be able to have his barn ready by Christmas day. Hmmm, so close. Well, if you are reading this, and know George, you can see it coming that he will keep the horse at our farm until the necessary work is done on the barn, and also that the fences and gates are built as well. So, that’s the plan. Sarah is still ‘test riding’ it to make sure it can be ridden by a young rider.

The dad of the girl who is to get the horse for a Christmas present, gets busy on his barn and fences. The horse is happy to be where he is, but little does he know what is waiting for him down the road.

As Christmas Day dawned, a big sign is attached to the door of the stall where the big black horse is stabled at our barn. The sign has the name of the horse, Jazz, and the name of the girl who will find out that she owns it, as soon as she gets to our farm. The excitement spreads to everyone who knows what’s going on. I was very excited and I’m not a even a horse person.

The new owner-to-be is supposed to come to the farm in the afternoon. That could be anywhere from 1-5 p.m., since we want the surprise to take place before dark. When you have a stable of horses, feeding time is the busiest time of the day. Somehow, feeding time came and went, but no sign of the girl or her dad and step-mother. But, sure enough, just in time, there they were. They came up the driveway and parked their truck very close to the front of the back barn.

And just that quickly, the girl was out of the truck and into the barn and on in the stall to see the horse. And just that fast, I learned that she hadn’t read the sign on the outside of the stall door. The sign said something like, “My name is Jazz, and I belong to Madelyn.” It was a big sign and had color lettering and I may have even seen some bows and balloons. She was inside the stall, brushing and patting and hugging the horse and had no idea that it’s her horse.

Her dad tried to get her to leave the stall to go out in the aisle and read the sign, but she just wanted to be near the horse. Not wanting to actually tell her the surprise, she was coaxed out into the aisle to read the words on the sign. And what a great surprise it was for her to read it. She was a little speechless and overwhelmed with the meaning of those 9 little words.

It took only a few seconds for her to know she was the new owner of that big black horse named Jazz. Then the logistics of what to do with it set in. It would have to stay at our farm until their barn was ready She couldn’t take her wonderful gift home with her that Christmas evening. Eventually the fences were built and the barn was ready, and she got to take the horse home.

That all happened two Christmases ago. Since then, the previous owner was told that Jazz had been adopted by a wonderful 12 year old girl whose dream it was to have a big black horse.

And she is happy to know now that Jazz has a very nice home. Since then Jazz has won ribbons at horse shows, and, of course, Madelyn was the rider. It was the perfect Christmas gift found in a barn on Christmas day.

Kay Conklin

Contributing Columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.