Appaloosa Journal

DEC 2018

Appaloosa Journal is the official publication of the Appaloosa Horse Club, the international registry for the Appaloosa horse.

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Page 84 of 126

80 Appaloosa Journal December 2018 out & about A True Story of Christmas By Cheryl S. Black I t's not your usual Christmas story, but a unique and true one. It started a long time ago during the late evening when Peaches, my husband's Appaloosa mare, gave birth to her first foal. It was a hard time for Peaches, but she managed to see her foal born — a healthy baby girl who was named U.S. Christ- mas. She was a red roan bay with a small white stripe on her forehead and nose. Peaches was proud. As Christmas started her new life with Peaches, she was taught all the normal things a mare passes on to her foal. Unfortunately, Peaches became ill when Christmas was six weeks old and passed away. Christmas was an orphan but not alone. I paired Christmas with CC High Adventure, a Saddlebred foal, for company and to learn to eat foal pellets and drink milk to keep her healthy. She adapted quickly and bonded with her new friend. As she grew, Christmas learned to be handled ev- eryday, brushed, clipped, haltered and to have her feet picked up. She eventually graduated to lungeing, trailering and being bathed. Christmas enjoyed all the attention and her personality grew rapidly. She was happy, courageous, playful and loving as she grew into a healthy 2-year-old. When Christmas reached her second birthday, she was car- rying a saddle, skillful at all ground work and enjoyed workouts. She stood at 15 hands, with lightening speed and quick stop- ping. It was clear, Christmas had inherited her mothers natural "cow" instinct. As the days passed, I became ill and was not able to take care of Christmas. My husband decided to sell her so we could focus on my health. The individual purchasing Christmas agreed to give us first buy-back rights should she decide to sell in the future. This person also guaranteed Christmas was going to a kind and loving home, and I believed her as she came highly recommended. As time went on I regained my health and it had been more than three years since Christmas left us. I soon learned from a phone call that Christmas was not with the per- son we sold her to. I set out to find Christmas and possibly bring her home. I contacted the person who bought her. She was not receptive to speaking with me, but informed me Christmas was donated to an equine therapy facility. I began an extensive search through local and statewide equine therapy facilities with no results. I advertised locally and nationally to find her. I worried about what had happened to her and if she was still alive. The search encompassed California, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Oklahoma. I searched more than eight years for my little girl. It was hard and sad for me. I knew I needed to bring her home if possible. As time ticked by I never gave up, but ran out of ideas. What else could I to do? On U.S. Christmas's birthday, I was looking on a national website and found her just by her photo. I knew it was her. I jumped up from my chair with exuberance and joy telling my husband that I had finally found her — She was for sale. Excitement surged through my soul and tears of happiness fell on my cheeks. I called repeatedly with no response and worried she was already sold. By the grace of God, the seller contacted me two days later. We talked for hours about Christmas, her life and how she was. The seller informed me she had two people coming to look at her that weekend. I suddenly burst into tears feeling I got so close, but the seller was very kind and understanding. She

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