All year long, our equine service providers go above and beyond to keep our horses living the best life possible. Emergency calls, coming out for pulled shoes, or just taking the few extra moments to return a phone call and answer questions, good providers are, in my opinion, worth their weight in gold. Not many of us can actually pay that (let’s face it, all our funds go directly back into the horses we love so much,) but there are a few things we can provide to say “Thank You” and “We appreciate you”.
1) I have yet to meet a service provider of any kind who does not enjoy home-baked goodies. Cookies, muffins, breads, brownies- it seems a sweet tooth lives in many of them. For others, if you happen to have a food dehydrator and a bit of kitchen know-how, jerky you made is a great gift for a quick boost while they are on the run. (All too often, they just don’t have enough time between calls to eat properly, and eating too much and then bending over to work on hooves can be quite uncomfortable.)
2) Speaking of bending over, ALL of the equine services are very physically demanding jobs. Finding a good sports massage therapist and providing a gift certificate for a session is priceless. (There is a difference between a sports massage therapist and that in a spa setting. Trust me- go with the sports provider. Your farrier, vet, etc will thank you.)
3) A gift basket is a great way to be creative and provide some essentials. You can customize it easily, and add in items specific to their needs. For example, farriers hands take a beating in all types of weather, so a basket geared towards hand care with some heavy duty hand cream, band-aids, a warm pair of gloves, and some epsom salts specifically designed for muscle soaks will bring a smile. If your farm has a logo, you can tuck in some soft towels, a hat or shirt embroidered with your logo. Don’t have a farm logo? No problem- you can put a funny saying or a picture of your horse on there!
4) This next one might be a shocker, but I can’t tell you how many times we would show up in the heat of summer when the fly population is at its peak and out for serious blood, and no one had fly spray. Attempting to work on the hooves of a horse who is busy dancing away from fly torment is a good way for someone to get hurt- unfortunately, the injured party is more often than not your hoof care provider. A couple quarts of really good fly spray is a wonderful and thoughtful gift.
5) All-weather gear is another good idea. Some warm socks for the frigid months, a warm fleece pullover (another spot to put on your logo!), or even some hand warmers to tuck into pockets or in their boots is fantastic too.
6) A good quality multi-tool is a day-saver at times. There are many options available in price range and size, and many of them come complete with a carrying pouch that easily attaches to a belt.
7) Last but not least, a couple of extra hoof picks. If there is one tool that gets left behind or forgotten, it is the oh-so-important hoof pick. (These make great gifts for fellow barn mates, too!)
There you go- a few ideas for last moment gift ideas for the fellow horse folks and providers that make our lives, and those of our beloved horses, so much better! Happy gifting, everyone!