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Christmas rides into town

POULSBO — In a tale that could only come true during the holiday season, an unused saddle was given new life to make one child’s Christmas wish come true.

Jill Camby, who works at the John L. Scott real estate office in Poulsbo, heard about the girl’s request and set out to make her dream come true.

“When I started, I didn’t know anything about saddles,” Camby said, noting that now she knows some of the different styles and sizes of saddles.

As a member of the board of directors for Compassionate Care, which is a licensed foster care agency, Camby said the Christmas requests she and her coworkers at John L. Scott receive never cease to amaze her.

“We encourage them to say what they really want and she wrote the saddle,” she said.

Once word of the search for a saddle got around to the local horse community, Monica and her 13-year-old daughter, MacKenzie, contacted Camby with questions about the size and style of saddle the girl wanted. (Monica’s and MacKenzie’s last names were withheld at there request).

“The horse world is really small and we heard through the grapevine someone needed a saddle,” Monica explained.

As fate would have it, Monica and MacKenzie had a leftover saddle, which was the first one the family bought at a garage sale before MacKenzie even started riding.

“We would put it on the arm of the couch and she would practice riding,” Monica said. “It was the only saddle that would fit and the only one we had leftover.”

Now seven years after buying a saddle with dreams of riding, MacKenzie bought her first horse in July and with her quest coming full circle, she is glad to be able to help another rider.

“I feel really good because it means someone else is going to have a saddle to ride,” MacKenzie said.

As she reflects on the journey that began with a heartfelt request, Camby still gets teary-eyed.

“This builds hope instead of crushes hope and I’m so excited for her,” she said. “This could only happen at Christmas.”

For Bill Kettenring, executive director of Compassionate Care, the saddle is a symbol of local residents’ willingness to give.

“This is extraordinary and I’m always amazed at the generosity of the community,” Kettenring said.

Even though Monica, MacKenzie and Camby won’t be there tomorrow to see the smile on the girl’s face, all three will be there in spirit.

“I wish I could see her face,” MacKenzie said, as she prepared to load the saddle for its journey to its final destination.

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