Desirai Schild

Schild

Halters, blankets, saddles, bridles and bits may seem pretty generic and interchangeable to the outside observer, but horse owners have very specific ideas about how to outfit their equine companions.

Even treats and supplements tend to be carefully chosen to address the specific needs of their animal. Today’s treats are formulated to contain joint supplements for older horses, low carb for hefty horses, some that add coat shine and some that are just the horse’s preferred taste. The important thing to remember is that these things are very personal to horse and owner.

One all-purpose gift I’m recommending this year is the horse first-aid kit. They run about $50 and offer items that every horse owner would be grateful for. They are great to take on trail rides and wonderful for the tack room at home.

The kit should come with a comprehensive first-aid book, antiseptics, various wraps, a tourniquet, thermometer, scissors, gauzes, cold pack, syringe and gloves. The kits are readily available at all major tack stores and online.

Speaking of tack stores, I don’t know a single horse owner who would not be delighted with a gift card for their favorite store. My husband once worried that a gift card was too impersonal. I was able to demonstrate with my day-after-Christmas run to my favorite store that the gift card was better than perfect.

Giving a gift card from a favorite shopping spot is not impersonal. It shows that you know where the recipient shops and care enough about their judgment to let them select their own items. They probably have some treasure there they’ve been longing for but didn’t have the funds … until receipt of your perfect gift.

There is never something a horse lover doesn’t want from a tack store.

Riding arena passes are also a great way to demonstrate you understand and support the recipient’s chosen activity. Idaho winters make outdoor riding iffy so many riders move their activities inside for the cold months.

Most arenas offer riding pass deals that give a certain number of riding hours at a discounted rate for buying a full set at a time. Many riders are already visiting the arena of their choice so it’s easy to know where they want to go. This is important because particular arenas tend to attract certain styles of riders. Some appeal more to Western-style riders while others are more attractive to English or dressage riders. Some mix very well together but it’s vital to know your rider’s choice of location before buying a gift packet.

Horse lovers are always seeking more information about equine-related care. If there is a magazine your horse lover often buys, a subscription might be just the thing.

Horse owners are always seeking more and better ways to interact with their equine companions. Recognizing their passion with a nonspecific gift will probably be just what Santa ordered.

Desirai Schild has been involved in raising, breeding and showing gaited horses in eastern Idaho for more than 20 years. She may be reached at freditor@post register.com.