…because failure to do so could result in an indefinite ‘No Stirrups New Year.’
Coming up with the perfect gift for your trainer can be a real challenge (unless of course you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’ve driven her to drink and should just go with a case of wine and some Advil). In order to aid you on your quest for the perfect gift, I’ve compiled a list of potential ideas to consider.
1. Personalized Jacket
If your trainer is like me, and perpetually freezing this time of year, any sort of jacket is a welcome addition. The fact that it can also be customized is a fun bonus. This particular jacket is the Ultima Soft Shell Jacket which can be found HERE.
This may seem like a random gift but if your trainer spends most of her day sitting in the cold attempting not to freeze while explaining the finer nuances of good riding to the masses, odds are she would appreciate something to keep her coffee or tea hot. The awesome 40oz Thermos pictured below can be purchased HERE.
3. Winter Helmet Cover
I do not currently own one of these, but it looks warm so I probably should! If your trainer has multiple horses to school without the luxury of a heated indoor or the option to winter in Florida, this may just be the perfect gift. Multiple colors and styles available HERE.
4. A Massage/ Spa Package
As equestrians we will spend every last cent to ensure that our four-legged beastlets are feeling their best. We are not so good, however, about keeping ourselves maintained. Look around locally for your best spa and/or massage options. *Note: this is an especially nice gift to give if your beastlet has recently sent your trainer to go play in the arena footing*
Photo: The Idea of Order
5. Custom Saddle Pads
Custom saddle pads are just fun (and seriously, can you ever have too many saddle pads?). These pads are quite reasonably priced and come in a variety of colors with tons of piping and binding options available. You could go with a pad that matches the barn colors are go with something totally fun and random (or insanely obnoxious—whatever you see fit). I personally have a few of these pads and find them to be well made and durable. For more information or to purchase visit the Lucky Pony.
6. (Ridiculously) Blingy Browband
Dressage seems to have taken a nod from the western world and has begun incorporating some bling into their show gear. Some people are cheering while others are apparently weeping for the loss of both tradition and the distinguished look derived from being clad in plain black. Figure out which camp your trainer is in before proceeding. If she’s into the sparkle, these browbands are just stunning and very reasonably priced. They come in virtually every color combination you might want and matching stock pins, fly veils, and spur straps are also available (because if you can’t dazzle the judge with your riding you can always blind them with bling). While Equiture is located in the UK, I found that shipping was very reasonable and fairly quick. To visit their website click HERE or visit their Facebook page HERE.
7. Equestrian Themed Teas:
I like run on caffeine. I bet your trainer does too. These equestrian themed teas come in a fun, decorative tin that can be reused for all sorts of stuff. At the moment Trotting Tea is also offering a holiday discount code on their page. (As an added bonus for your trainer, get one of these teas to go with the Thermos above). For more information visit Trotting Tea.
Photo: Trotting Tea
8. Higher Standards Leather Cleaner
Every trainer can use leather cleaner (or every trainer’s working student can). While some people may liken this to one spouse giving the other a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, (and all the taboo associated with that), I completely disagree. This saddle soap is awesome. Plus, they have a new holiday scent out and some fun gift packs. For more information visit Higher Standards Leather.
Photo: Higher Standards Leather
9. Fully Custom Stock Ties
These are an awesome gift for any dressage trainer. With the aforementioned acceptance of bling going down center line these days, there’s been an increase in the latitude for acceptable show attire. This has opened up many possibilities for putting together the perfect show outfit. Dara James Designs offers pre-made and fully customizable stock ties in multiple styles and in virtually every color option you can imagine. Dara James also specializes in finding vintage stock pins. Gift certificates are available. Visit the Dara James Designs webpage HERE or the Facebook page HERE.
Photo: Dara James Designs
10. Homemade Gifts: Fudge, Ornaments, Photo Collages…
As a somewhat–OK, overtly— consumerist society we often overlook the significance of giving someone something we took the time to make. But giving someone a gift you put valuable time and thought into says quite a lot about the value of your relationship with them. Items such as baked goods, ornaments, hand knitted hats, or even photo collages of memorable times and events spent together are wonderful gifts. If you’re not super crafty or if you’re like me and tend to cook things by setting them on fire, there are various tutorials, recipes, and kits available if you’d like to give that handmade thing a go. You can also use websites like Zazzle.com and CafePress.com to create custom items using personal photos and/or logos (think items like shirts, posters, fleece throws, coffee mugs, etc). If it all falls to pieces you can always resort back to that bottle of wine I mentioned at the start of this list. 😉
Handmade ornaments… better than me setting the kitchen on fire baking. Photo: Morgane Schmidt Gabriel