Christmas is a time of happiness and sharing with friends, so have fun being creative with gifts for your equine companions.
1. Polarfleece quarter sheet. Christmastime means cross-country rides in the snow while you sing carols, and this will keep his bum cozy.
2. Leather show halter with brass nameplate. This will get you psyched up about traveling together next spring. Top it off with white fleece or sheepskin over the nose and behind the ears to prevent rubs in the trailer.
3. Lead shank in your stable colors. You get nice soft web ones, two-colored, with a brass chain at one end and a handy loop at the other end (for hanging up or hanging onto during hand-grazing).
4. Cut up carrots and apples, then mix with sugar cubes. Put it in your horse's feed bucket. Pour molasses over it all. Makes a yummy Christmas dinner.
5. Gift certificate for an equine massage. Your horse will appreciate this after a strenuous event. Make sure that you contact a certified therapist. Your veterinarian may be able to refer you to someone. Also check bulletin boards at tack shops, feed stores and competitions. Some therapists advertise in local equine publications.
6. Gift certificate for a "day of beauty." When a blizzard hits and you're stuck in the barn, get spiffed up! Clip his whiskers, chin, outside the ears and behind his pasterns. Cut off long ergots and pick off excess chestnuts. Pull the mane. And lastly, clean his sheath or her udder.
7. Natural-bristle black soft brush. This is a favorite grooming tool. It puts a real shine on the body, and horses love it on their face.
8. Personalized grooming towels. This is good if you are a seamstress! Purchase some inexpensive hand towels in one of your stable colors. Use the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to "embroider" your horse's name on them (in your other stable color).
9. Grooming/brush box, painted in stable colors. If you're more the handyman type, build a rectangular brush box with a dowel as the carrying handle. Paint in one color. When it's dry, add your horse's name in a second color.
10. Giant blue tarp. This is a bargain as a training tool. If you compete in obstacle trail classes, teach your horse to walk on it as he goes from one side to the other. If you are a jumper or event rider, put it under a vertical or oxer of rails to create a liverpool. Always be sure to secure the edges with ground rails so that it won't blow around and scare your horse.