Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sleigh Bells Ring

Half-Arab Pulling Sleigh Although the temperature today - our first day of 2009 - wasn’t too cold, the wind was pretty sharp but that didn’t deter us from heading out to the barn to hook my mare up to the cutter for a repeat of last Friday’s fun when we went dashing through the snow. This time I even remembered to bring the sleigh bells!

Arab Mare Pulling CutterAs much fun as we had last week, the jingle bells added just that much more to the enjoyment - even the horse seemed more perky with the lovely chiming matching her hoofsteps.

We have two sets of bells, one that my husband bought for me on a trip we had made to Missouri a number of years ago and the other is an antique set that my father-in-law,"Papa," used when he had driving horses.

Papa had told me many stories driving his team of horses "back in the day," but I think my favorite was when he told me how he would hitch the horses to a bobsled, putting an old-time pump organ on the back. While my mother-in-law played the organ, he and a sled-load of friends would go caroling before Christmas.

New Year's Day Sleigh RideRecently a friend of mine was reminiscing about spending time with her Grandmother and hearing stories of going to church on Sunday by sleigh during the winters. All of the church-goers' teams wore bells and could tell who was coming just by the various tones of the ringing bells.

Historically, medieval knights would hang bells on their warhorses as a sign of wealth and also for show. It was believed that the bells would bring good luck and stave off evil and poor health. One Horse Open Sleigh In later times
drivers used bells on their sleighs for the practical reason of warning others that they were coming, both pedestrians and other drivers. The sleigh is not as easy to stop as a wagon.

Today, the jingle bells served no purpose other than to add to the holiday spirit...and there is nothing like sleigh bells ringing on a one-horse open sleigh!

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