You waited until the last minute, didn't you?
Hey, that's okay. I'm not judging.
In the spirit of Christmas (and helping you keep your dignity intact), here are 8 last-minute, inexpensive, mostly practical gifts for equestrians.
1. Gift card to your local feed store
Hear me out on this one. I know gift cards may feel like a cop out to some, but speaking as a totally objective third-party observer, horses are EXPENSIVE. A $20 gift card to Tractor Supply would go a long way. From bagged feed to hay to supplements to equipment and literally anything else the feed store has on their shelves, this would be the handiest, most appreciated gift card you'll ever give.
More importantly, a gift card to the feed store shows that you understand your friend. To equestrians, our horses are our babies. They are the #1 most important things in our lives. This emotional connection we have with our horses can only truly be understood by other people who also have horses. A gift card to the feed store (and not, like, Starbucks or Walmart or something) shows that you at least understand that our horses mean the world to us and you're trying to help us care for our babies.
Trust me, this is one gift card you should seriously consider this year.
2. Gift basket
When in doubt, gift basket. A lot of us equestrians like to color coordinate, so if you know your friend's horse's colors, then you can opt for a super simple gift basket. Go to Tractor Supply/Russell Feed/your local feed store, pick up a few small grooming supplies (like a brush, hoof pick, etc.), throw in a cheap bag of carrots (the big ones) or mints (the small ones), wrap it up nice and pretty, and voila! Gift basket.
If you're a tenacious gift wrapper, head to Michael's/Hobby Lobby/another craft or party store and pick up the plastic gift bags that you can shrink wrap with your hair dryer. They're super cheap and they make for an incredible gift visually.
3. Bridle charms
For you crafty types, a bridle charm could be a great option. They're small and relatively easy to make, especially if you've got experience with jewelry. The only real requirement for these is figuring out what your friend's horse's colors are so you can match them. Or, since they're also relatively inexpensive to make depending on which materials you use, you could make some in several different colors so your friend can change them out to match different outfits.
All you've got to do is go to Michael's/Hobby Lobby/another store that carries jewelry supplies and pick up a pack of small lobster claw clips, beading wire, clamps, beads in the appropriate color (optional), and a charm. Check out Pinterest for inspiration, too.
4. Boot socks + hand warmers + foot warmers
If you live somewhere where it gets stupid cold (I'm looking at you, New England states), then pick your friend up some good quality, winter weight boot socks and throw in some hand and foot warmers. Barn chores don't stop just because it's cold and wet outside, so help your friend stay cozy and comfy this winter while they're mucking stalls and busting ice out of water troughs.
5. Gift a massage
This is a great gift idea if you know your friend suffers from chronic aches and pains as a result of being slammed into the ground repeatedly. I don't know about the rest of the equestrian world, but while I'm, eh, okay during the summer, the winter months are especially rough thanks to the cold aggravating my achy joints. I'd give my left arm for a trip to a proper massage therapist, especially if they could work out the knot that's been under my shoulder since 2007.
6. Coffee/hot cocoa/hot tea/literally anything hot to drink
Drinking something hot when you're freezing is a great way to warm up, so give your friend the gift of thaw this year with a cute gift set. Lots of stores sell them, but I find my favorites at places like Target and Big Lots (though Walmart has been coming through this year). Or put together your own gift set with your friend's favorites.
Don't know whether your friend prefers coffee or tea? Go with hot cocoa. You can't go wrong there. (Marshmallows! Sprinkles! Whipped cream! The possibilities are endless!)
7. Magazine subscription
There are a ton of equestrian magazines out there, making a magazine subscription another great idea. From major publications like Practical Horseman and Dressage Today to smaller digital mags like Style Reins and my forthcoming equestrian entertainment mag, there are plenty of options.
Just make sure you know what discipline your friend rides so you know whether to get Practical Horseman or Western Horseman.
8. Horse treats
If you're a baker or even just sort of know your way around the kitchen, you can bake some homemade treats for your friend's horses. Pinterest has a bunch of great recipes for horse treats. Or, if you're not good in the kitchen (or short on time), run to the store and get a bag of carrots and some Starlight mints. We equestrians love to spoil our horses. Make it easy on us.
Hopefully these ideas will help you figure out the perfect last-minute gift for your horse-loving friends. If you've got any other awesome last-minute ideas, drop them in the comments below!