The old mustang in the story, Frosty, is based on an actual pony called “Frosted Tip”. This little fellow was delivered to Thunderbird in Vancouver several years ago en route from Wyoming to northern BC. A friend of mine was working at the horse show when the scruffy white pony with frostbitten ears was dropped off. The horse transporter asked if she would mind looking after the pony until he was picked up by his new owner? She was delighted. “Frosty”, as my friend aptly named him, was the cutest, if not homeliest, pony she had ever seen. She hoped to meet his new owner, but her responsibilities kept her as busy in the show ring as they did in the barn, and he was gone before dinner the next day.
I was so taken with the story of Frosted Tip…How did he lose the tips of his ears? What adventures had he lived through? Why buy a frostbitten pony in Wyoming and ship him to northern BC? What made this pony so special?…that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It must have been frightening for the pony to travel all that distance in the care of total strangers. Before I knew it, my imagination took hold and the concept behind “One Frosty Christmas” was born.
The human characters were a little harder to bring to life. The character of Hannah Storey developed out of time spent working as a volunteer with a couple of therapeutic riding associations and by growing up around numerous WWII vets including my Uncle Mac, who was an amputee. Johnny Joe is a composite of several people – my father, a gentle and peaceful man with a great sense of humour and determination, a native boy from Port Alberni who quietly offered to “sing” for my father’s spirit along with his grandmother and aunt’s on their passing, and Walter, one of the camp cooks I worked with while stationed at Fort McKay, Alberta.
To write, one must ask questions. The first step begins with a thought or an event, like a frostbitten old mustang traveling from Wyoming to northern BC, and the rest is up to the writer.