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The COTH Christmas Story by AnneFS

Once again, I need to post this - I love this little true story by our own AnneFS, and I admit, I used it (with her permission, of course!) as the basis for a chapter in my novel (also a ss in its own right.) And, I think her son must now be around… 18 now?! :winkgrin:

Merry Christmas to all!

The Stables At Midnight by Anne Flyzik Schaefer

I have a true story to tell about midnight on Christmas.

It happened in 1991 or '92. My marriage had ended, and I was leasing a farm as a boarding stable. I had around 20 horses at Christmas that year.

My son was then 5 or 6 years old and knew the Thomas Hardy poem about all the animals kneeling down at midnight on Christmas Eve. He begged and begged to go to the stable at midnight, but I put him off, not wanting to disappoint him in this year of so many disappointments.

You see, I had a lot of horses that did not like to lie down even in the wee hours of the night, including two mares whose owners told me they’d had those two for years and had yet to even see them off their feet. A number of the others would lie down, but would immediately get up when someone entered the barn or came near them.

Well, that Christmas Eve, Conor woke up at 11:30 and begged to go to the stable to see if it was true. My heart was a little heavy as we went down.

It was 11:59. We entered the barn at midnight, flashlight in hand.

EVERY horse was kneeling. We walked down one side and back the other. Every horse was kneeling; none got up.

None were flat on their sides, not even the yearling. And the two mystery mares were also kneeling; so were the track lay-ups who always jumped to their feet when people approached: every single one of them.

It was so hushed and quiet and beautiful.

The faith of a child…

Conor is 13 now and stands 5’10. He still says to me, “Remember that Christmas Eve when we went down to the barn to see if the horses were kneeling?”

It’s one of my most special lifetime memories.

(edited by Dianna Robin Dennis)
© 2002 by Anne Flysick Shaeffer All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission of the Author

I loved it! Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to see who will volunteer to check our barn at midnight!

I love that story. Thanks again for posting it.

Fantastic story :slight_smile: Thank you for posting.

Thanks for reposting that. How cool.

I usually work Christmas Eve, so that people with family nearby can have it off. One of these years though, I’m going to be out there at midnight to see if they are kneeling or talking.

Somewhat worried, if they do talk… :uhoh: :lol:

I got chills reading that. What a beautiful story!

What a beautiful story…thank you for posting it.

As the mother of a nearly 20-month-old Connor, it also gave me goosebumps. We might just have to make that a Christmas tradition of our own. Thank you for sharing :slight_smile:

Before I met my future ex-in laws, I spoke to the Wisconsin whole dairy farming family on the phone one Christmas eve. I told that story to my future ex-husband’s 5-year-old nephew. He insisted on counting the cows, dogs, and cats. I don’t think they were all kneeling tho.


It is a tradition cause I know I’ve enjoyed reading it at least once, if not twice, before.

Thanks for posting. This truly makes my Christmas.

Thank you. I enjoyed this story.

I love this story, too. Thanks for sharing it again.

What a wonderful story, thanks so much for posting it!!! I shall head to my stable at midnight Christmas eve!


Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for re-posting that. It has been a favorite Christmas story for me ever since I read in on COTH. I look forward to telling that story to my new son.

Merry Christmas

awww…that makes me all weepy. I hope everyone has a Christmas miracle like that at some point in their life!!

I’m in tears, thank you for sharing.

BOY did I need that right now… just got a big dose of CHRISTmas spirit! THANK YOU and boy, will be heading out to my barn on Christmas eve!


Thank you so much for posting that lovely story.

I need a Christmas miracle this year myself.

I would like to e-mail it to some good horsey friends of mine. Would that be OK, please?