When it comes to gift-giving, sometimes we look at our long list of people to shop for and feel totally overwhelmed. Let this blog post help you with at least one person on your list: your horse trainer. While having your angel horse in the barn is of course a gift in itself, read on to hear (from the perspective of a pro trainer) what they might really want this year…
Non-barn clothing that will still be okay when it ends up at the barn anyway…let’s be honest: even with every intention to keep certain items for “non-barn activities”, most of our clothes end up there anyway. Why not give them something that easily goes both ways with chic style? Fager’s new apparel line satisfies that request exactly. See the Fager Charlie cashmere and merino wool sweater and Fager Nicky long-sleeved shirt as perfect examples.
Something “nice” for our personal horse…our own horses often end up like the cobbler’s children, getting hand-me-down blankets and equipment, last in line for spending on unnecessary items. If you know your trainer’s style or color preferences, or business logo, get them a new “outfit” for their personal horse for the next upcoming season. Offer to help them splurge on a new embroidered rug for their own horse or a matchy-matchy training outfit. Kentucky Horsewear does this kind of thing beautifully.
Taking the cobbler’s children analogy more literally, you could really impress your trainer with gifting by calling your farrier and paying for their horse’s next shoeing - horseshoes can make us cry with joy more than those red-bottomed Louboutins!
Coordinating swag for our dogs...heard of mommy & me outfits? A coordinating belt-and-collar combo for any trainer with a dog-child is always cute! Check out these pretty collars that actually have matching halters (bonus points for both animals!) from SD Design.
A home-cooked meal that we can enjoy in silence at home...even with the best intentions for eating habits, many horse trainers end up on the couch at the end of a long day with a less-than-stellar dinner choice. Surprise them with a fresh meal to take home that they don’t have to cook OR schmooze with clients over at a restaurant.
Riding Gloves. We can never have enough gloves...find out what size glove your trainer wears, and get them another pair (or two). Riding several horses per day makes this item one of the most used and most needed in our wardrobes. We love getting the latest in sport performance styles or lined winter options (see UVEX options,) to have available to replace the very next pair that wears a hole through.
Splurge on the “good stuff” for our leather products…Effax leather care kit to keep our boots and tack soft and useful for as long as possible. Bonus “favorite client” points if you help us clean them! See these great Effax options.
A leather bag that we will always drool over but never buy for ourselves…Tucker Tweed. Gorgeous, horsey, timeless - need I say more? So many options, and not one of them would be wrong.
Don’t leave out our staff who keep everything running behind the scenes…Cash tips, yummy snacks and treats, or even thoughtful small gifts all help our essential grooms and managers and riders feel the appreciation that they truly deserve. When the staff is happy, the trainer is happy.
Horse treats for all the unicorns in our barn...there’s usually a community cookie stash or sugar jar that never goes empty, but it's always nice to get some of that luxury feeling with specialty treats for our horses. Everyone loves pretty things during the holidays, even if they’re short-lived.
At the end of the day, if all else fails, just bring your trainer a strong coffee!!
About the Professional
Lucy Courchaine is a USDF gold, silver and bronze medalist and the owner/trainer of Sapphire Sporthorses in Brewster, New York. She is currently developing her own New Forest Pony to Grand Prix along with training a wide range of horses and humans in the sport of dressage. Find her on Instagram @lucyintheskywithsapphires or at www.sapphiresporthorses.com