Buckets Full of Holiday Joy


Are you at your wit’s end when it comes to deciding what to give your horsey friends this holiday? Before you collapse with a case of colic, take heart: here are some nifty gifts for your trainer, your riding partners, and even that favorite horse on your list. What’s really great is that you don’t have to wrap these presents. Just stash them inside a colorful feed bucket. Then tie a big bow on the handle, perhaps add some easily removable holiday stickers, and your bucket of joy is ready for presentation!

Trainer treats:

  • A gift certificate to a local restaurant or movie theatereven professionals like to get away from the barn once in a while
  • Baseball cap or visor with the stable’s name embroidered above the brim
  • Set of stable towels (moderately priced hand towels work fine) in the barn’s colors; add monogram
  • Inexpensive work gloves
  • Photo frame that includes a group snapshot of barn clients

For the rider who has everything:

  • Coupons for the local bistro or burger stand so they can grab a quick lunch after a long ride
  • Some boot socks, a pair of boot pulls and a jar of polish
  • Saddle soap and a small sponge
  • Gift certificate, purchased from their instructor, for an extra lesson
  • Maps or road atlas of local freeways and highways for those who do a lot of hauling to shows or trail rides

Happy horse stuff:

  • Gift bag of horse treats (If you’re creative, locate a recipe and make them yourself!)
  • Fly mask and fly spray
  • Hoof dressing in brushtop can
  • Bottle of color-enhancing shampoo, body sponge and sweat scraper
  • Certificate to local feed store

Further Reading
Holiday Horse Fun

The author is Horse Illustrated’s horsey holiday hostess with the mostess.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


  1. I always make a batch of homemade horse treats for my equines for the holidays. Humans can eat them, too, but I don’t recommend it..


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