Stuck on what to give the horse people in your life this holiday season? Here are some creative gift ideas for every budget.
Ah, the holiday season. When our thoughts turn to spending time with family and friends, enjoying fun traditions, tasty food – and holiday shopping and gift giving.
’Tis the Season
With the holidays becoming increasingly commercialized and pushed on us sooner and sooner every year (think holiday displays in stores alongside Halloween decorations), what is supposed to be a pleasant time can turn into nothing short of stressful madness.
I love giving people creative, unique and thoughtful gifts – some I have purchased or commissioned, and others I have made from scratch. So far they have all been well received!
What to Get?
Some of the most difficult people to gift are the horse people in my life – whether it be coaches, trainers or barn owners/ managers. And while it may seem obvious – “just get them something horse related!” – it is rarely that simple. We horse people seem to obtain and accumulate an awful lot of “horse stuff” over the years, and usually when we see something we want or need, we buy it (because really, it’s unlikely that your non-horsey husband is going to get you those splint boots in the correct size and color, no matter how well meaning he is).
So, here is a list of gift ideas to suit every budget – from doit- yourself to “let the professionals handle it”!
A Gift Horse
• Stall signs can range from your basic brass stall plate, to a pedigree plaque, to a more elaborate graphic creation like those from Saucy Piaffe (saucypiaffe.com).
• Halter plates (perhaps with a nice halter to accompany them) are always well received. Halters frequently get mislaid in large barns, or lost in paddocks, and a halter plate helps with ID. Plus it looks snazzy! Rossi Pet Tags has a large selection of fonts and symbols to create fun personal plates for halters and saddles, and tags for bridles (rossipettags.com).
• Bridle charms are a neat way to display a bit of personality without being too flashy or unacceptable in the show ring – you can get them with stones, crystals and/ or symbols and charms.
• Custom embroidery on saddlepads, show sheets, polos and coolers, or jackets, hats and vests, ensures no one mistakes your equipment for their own. It also allows you to display your horse, barn and accomplishments.
• Unless we are showing on a regular basis or have a photo-happy friend, we never seem to get many photos of ourselves with our horses. Consider gifting someone with a photo session with his or her horse. If you are handy with a camera, you could play photographer, or find an equine photographer in your area.
• We all love to display our horses in our homes and work areas, and a portrait can be a great way to do this. You can do the drawing or painting yourself, if you’re artistic, or send a photo of the horse to a local equine artist.
• Gift cards always come in handy. Horses (and horse people) are always in need of something – equipment sometimes breaks, truck/trailer rigs use a ton of fuel, and coffee runs are a necessity in the winter.
• Creative gift baskets are fun to make – you can either include some of the recipient’s favorite things, or focus on a theme like “show survival kit”, or “day at the spa”.
• Homemade treats for horses and people are always a hit! Package them in a nice box, jar or tin.
• Those who run a barn or have horses at home rarely get away from the farm. A night on the town – whether you offer to farmsit, and/or provide gift certificates for a restaurant – is always welcome! • If someone has a great photo from their riding or show season, have it enlarged and find a nice frame for it.
• If you have video footage of the recipient’s riding over the past year, create a nice video for them – it’s easy to do these days with basic video editing programs. • Consider giving someone a lesson with his or her favorite coach; auditor passes to see a good clinician coming to the area; or tickets to an equine event.
• Grooming supplies always seem to wander. A personalized hoofpick or nice brush makes a great gift idea.
• Many people could use a new riding journal to record their upcoming year’s adventures.
• Magazine subscriptions keep on giving throughout the year – how about Equine Wellness!
•If you have a number of photos of someone from the past year, consider having a calendar or photo book done – most photo processing centers will do them for a reasonable fee.
Whatever you give your horse-loving friends this holiday season, remember that it truly is the thought that counts. Some of my favorite gifts have been personalized items, or the notes or cards of thanks and appreciation that accompanied the gifts – I still pull many of these out every year to read again. Happy holidays!