Getting A Pony For Christmas

A boy and his pony. WIKKI COMMONS OWN WORKS

When I was seven, I asked my mom for a pony for Christmas. We lived in base housing on McChord Air Force Base. My elementary school was only a five-minute walk through oak trees and an enormous open field, the perfect place to keep a pony. I would feed her acorns, braid her mane and we would ride to the other end of base housing.

Mom said no.

But there are people who did get a pony for Christmas … whether or not they wanted one!

Sarah Meyer-Paterson was pretty young when she got one from her grandad.

Sarah as a toddler with her sister Beth and their new pony, Angie. CREDIT SARAH MEYER-PATERSON

“Granddaddy grew tobacco,” Meyer-Paterson recalls. “He was retired Navy and settled in east Tennessee. He raised beef, hay and tobacco. The money he made from tobacco was given as Christmas cash to the adults. Us kids got savings bonds. When you’re little you don’t appreciate savings bonds so when we went to grandad’s for Christmas it was like, ‘Oh great… going to grandpa’s.’ But one year when I was four, I remember being confused because we didn’t get savings bonds and instead he told us to bundle up and head outside to see what Santa brought. Then we see this pony. I immediately wanted on her! My sister was less than enthused. She wasn’t much of a horseman. Beth really had no interest in horses at all, but I loved her! I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house and every minute I was on Angie or brushing her.”

Meyer-Paterson said Angie was a Shetland pony known for being cantankerous and ornery .

“I think she tolerated me. I think ponies in general just tolerate people because we’re the ones that feed them,” Meyer-Paterson says. “I remember sitting on her back and you could kick her and kick her to make her move. She would just lie her ears flat and not budge an inch. I remember just sitting on her a lot. She was a pretty little thing and lived out her life on the farm.”

Lindsey Keesling Hoffart says this is her mom and Prince after a few years of consistent handling! None with the kids though because he still nips at hair when he gets annoyed. CREDIT LINDSEY KEESLING HOFFART


I noticed a theme of grandparents giving ponies. Lindsey Keesling Hoffart says it was her parent’s idea three years ago.

“They’d recently bought a farm and thought a pony would be a great way to get the grandkids involved, maybe even some riding lessons.  The pony, who the kids named Prince Caspian, behaved as if he’d been abused and didn’t really like being touched or paid attention to at all!  No hope of riding lessons there. We do love him, though, and working with him to the point that he allows contact has been a good lesson in patience and understanding – and the value of love and food! My parents still keep him as he’s good lawn control and free fertilizer.”

Joanna Zattiero, who lives in New Mexico and grew up in southwest Idaho, said her mom suggested getting a pony.

“My family has raised and trained horses (in Idaho) for over 40 years, so horses are basically in our blood,” she said.

Here’s Butterfly my with Mom, Nancy Malmberg and her husband, Bruce. The farm is in SW Idaho. CREDIT JOANNA ZATTIERO

“When my daughter was two, my mom said she was ‘Getting Vi a pony.’  I was confused, because we had our own horses by then and honestly didn’t have space for more. We also lived almost six hours from the farm, so really had no way to see the pony (actually a miniature horse) regularly. My Mom suggested that my daughter name the pony and that the pony could simply stay at the farm rather than go home with us. So now “Butterfly” still lives on the farm and every time we visit, we see her.”

Seems like a pretty good deal when the grandparents keep the ponies or mini horses for you. But what if you’re gifted a cow?

Ryanne Shay told us through Facebook that she grew up on a ranch and didn’t realize her pony was for Christmas. Probably because she was only a year old.

“We had that pony forever,” Shay wrote. “She was mean, but she loved me and I think I rode her almost every day. My mom would put me on her starting when I was one. She would just let me sit on her all afternoon while she worked around the yard or house. The pony was awesome. We eventually bred her and she had a baby – then the neighbors gave us their pony that they didn’t like.”

Shay also said she was gifted a Holstein/Jersey cross when she was 13.

“My best friend’s dad gave her to me. He was a feed salesman for livestock, and I assume someone gave the calf to him as some kind of deal,” Shay said. “I love cows and I had a Holstein named Hannah. So he gave me the cross for Christmas. I named her Holly.”

It was wise of my mom to say no to my Christmas pony wish. But going with the theme of this story, my mother might buy her grandkids a pony … whether or not they want it!

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