Animal Blessings on Boxing Day

Traditionally, in Austria we have animal (or rather horse) blessings on boxing day (due to St. Stephen's). Originally, these blessings go back to the time when horses were used more in agriculture to protect them from injuries during work and keep them healthy.
Hafl nicely decorated - snowflakes everywhere ;)
Where is the breaaaaad?
Being nasty while waiting...

 These days, horses are nicely prepared and ridden to a church where they are blessed from a priest accompanied by traditional music and many spectators. In case it is possible, you also ride around the church like I used to do when I was still a child: in walk, trot and canter a herd of super fresh horses was ridden on pretty difficult paths (cobblestone, grassland, ice or snow) around the church of my hometown.

Singers and the priest
Where I am living right now, we have the blessing right in our outdoor arena. One of the cross country fences is a copy of the village's church and it is placed right into the center of the arena to imitate the riding around the church.

Look how handsome he is!
Unfortunately, this year it was raining pretty much so that we decided to take the horses into (our pretty small) indoor arena. Still, I could not resist to decorate Hafl like in the last years. This year's motto: snowflakes ;)



Give me bread - NOW!
Find here some more input on horse blessings - but these are on another horse patron's day in another region of Austria:


Next year hopefully in the saddle again!

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