Well-meaning significant others might be showering their equestrians today with hoof picks and lead ropes and new saddle pads… but if you’re intimidated by tack catalogs or your equestrian already seems to have it all, here a few alternative suggestions.
Let me preface this by stating that you can celebrate Valentine’s Day any way you choose — whether you’re planning on showering your true love with rose petals and lighting a million scented candles throughout your house, or boycotting the holiday entirely, how you spend the day is 100% up to you.
For the niche group of horse people who are practical-minded but don’t want to let the day pass by totally unmarked, here a few suggestions for ways you can make February 14 special.
1. Make a donation to a favorite equine charity.
If you need a little help finding a charity that you like, we recommend taking a spin through our Standing Ovation column: we recognize an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world every Friday, and there are plenty of deserving organizations listed there ranging from rescues to therapeutic riding centers.
Donations don’t have to be in cash, either — if you have gently-used tack, riding apparel or barn supplies and equipment, many organizations would welcome that donation as well. You can also consider giving your time, whether you want to spend an afternoon grooming rescue horses, sidewalking at a therapeutic barn or donating your expertise in marketing, office skills or fence repair. What better way to show your love than by giving back?
2. A handwritten voucher for video/photo services at the barn or horse show.
Let’s be real: for the social media age, most of us love having photos or videos to share of our horses in action. It’s also really hard to selfie over a fence or mid sliding-stop, so this means a lot of press-ganging our friends and barn buddies into manning the camera for us. If you’ve got a couple of good thumbs, a smartphone and some time to spare (and maybe endless amounts of patience as your photo subject makes sure you get all the right angles) this can be a really useful and appreciated gift.
And if you really want to splurge, hire a professional photographer for a session to take some beauty shots of said horse and rider.
3. A contribution towards a major investment.
Saving up for a new truck or trailer? Major horse show on the goal list for this year? Big repairs or installations needed on the home property? Yes, little things like a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates are always a sweet gesture, but for the truly practical equestrian, a bonus contribution towards a big-ticket item is a vote of support for that major goal.
4. A reminder that your equestrian has your support for all 365 days of the year.
While equestrians might spend most of their time seemingly off in a totally un-self-aware horse-obsessed state, rest assured: most of us are self-aware enough to know that we can be difficult to love. We spend massive amounts of time and money on a passion that calls for lots of physical labor and little tangible reward; our equine schedules dictate the rest of our lives. How you choose to profess this support, we’ll leave up to your imagination, but knowing that the significant others in our lives support this passion can be all the validation we need to receive on this largely-commercial holiday.