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A Horse of Course

A Horse, Of Course
by Don Blazer

Walter, a horse, of course, wants to pull Santa's sleigh.
"Don't be silly," I said. "Reindeer pull Santa's sleigh."
"That's what they'd like you to believe," he said with a sinister grin.
"Well, that's what I do believe," I replied emphatically.
"That's because you're so gullible," he said, walking to the back of his stall and turning his tail to me.
"Haven't you heard of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?" I asked, beginning to feel I was on shaky ground.
He looked at me as if I was the only one in the world who didn't know the truth. "The whole charade is based on rhyme," he said as a first attempt to enlighten me.
"What do you mean?" Asking was my big mistake.
Santa started with a horse, has always had a horse, and will always have a horse, Walter began.
According to Walter, the first horse used by Santa Claus was a Friesian of the Netherlands. He came to that conclusion because Santa Claus is really Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, whose feast day, December 6, is a holiday for Dutch children. Saint Nicholas drove a sleigh pulled by a Friesian.
The Dutch call Saint Nicholas, Saint Nicholas, but the English in New York, many years ago, accepted the spirit of the holiday, but change the Saint's name to Santa Claus. That's when it all got started.
Now picture Santa Claus driving a one-horse sleigh pulled by a Dutch Friesian, the oldest breed of horse in Europe. The scene makes quite a picture. There's Santa in his red suit, with his long white beard, and his red cap, and the snow bright-white all around, and there's the Friesian horse, solid black, as all Friesians are.
Make the scene even more spectacular by adding seven more solid black Friesians to the team.
"So you think you should be able to pull Santa's sleigh because you're black," I asked Walter?
"No, because in all this snow I'm freezin," Walter said.
"The horses weren't 'freezin'," I shot back. "They are a breed, Friesian. And Friesians are better suited to Santa; both Friesians and Santa are known for being of admirable character, docile, willing and of cheerful temperament. That sort of leaves you out."
"Santa has a round face and chubby pink cheeks; Friesians don't," Walter said, "and that didn't leave them out. Actually, Friesians have well-chiseled heads with small ears, shapely necks and exceptionally long manes and tails," he pointed out.
You don't have that look either, I reminded him.
Well, it doesn't matter, he said, because the whole thing is a poetry problem.
"How do you figure?"
"Friesian doesn't rhyme with anything, except sneezing, and that won't do," he said. "And it's too darn hard to sign, "Freddie Friesian and his friends friskily frolicking in the fertile fields." And that's why you've got reindeer instead of horses pulling Santa's sleigh," he concluded.
And you have a plan to correct all this?
"You bet," he said. "Just start singing this ditty."
Walter, the smartest pony,
Knows he has a job to do.
Pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas,
Bringing presents just for you.

Walter is better looking
Than any old' reindeer I've seen;
Let him pull the sleigh for Santa
And you'll see just what I mean.

Walter will put all horses
In our favorite Christmas song,
Friesians, Clydesdales and Walter,
Right where they'll always belong.

Obviously, Walter is correct. Does anyone know Santa's e-mail address?
Get Walter's Coloring Book and enter the Walter Coloring Book contest. All the details are on

Don Blazer
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"A Horse, Of Course"
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by Don Blazer



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