As usual, there is a huge array of gifts being offered for the horse enthusiasts costing from thousands to a few dollars/pounds each for Christmas. In this article, we look at a few which have caught our eye and perhaps provide the hard pressed present donor with some ideas!
The first is books. It is not possible to look at books without going into some detail. As always there are a few biographies published and released just in time to capture the Christmas market, although this year, there are fewer than usual. The one which we looked at was the collaboration between Isabell Werth, the current number one German dressage rider, and journalist Evi Simeoni about the life of Isabell in a biography called “Four legs move my soul”. Her accomplishments would not have been possible without her unique approach to working with the animals she’s loved since childhood. This book gives an insight of her a special ability as a rider and trainer. Readers gain Isabell’s private thoughts and her feelings and experiences and how each has impacted on her life. This appears to be the most interesting biographical offering this time. There are many other new books on offer looking at all manor of different aspects of owning and looking after horses; including the newest “Dummy” publication “ Horses for Dummies” by Audrey Pavia. This, is some way off their usual style which discuss how to use a computer or some technology connected with them,!!! Another book, which we like is full of pretty pictures of horses. “Beautiful Horses” by Liz Wright. It has 40 well photographed images of recent champions throughout the horse sports and racing worlds with short and concisely written pieces on each. With only 112 pages, it is short but pleasing. Another book stuffed with great images is by photographer Gabriel Boiselle, a renowned French equine photographer, particularly concentrating on Arabian Horses. Although not cheap, “The Arabian Horse” is exactly what it says on the tin. The big plus for this book is how the images are posed as Arabs are the most difficult horse to photograph and get it right. As usual, there are loads of other books recently published from how to muck out your horse to how to massage your horse, (not something we would advise unless you are a qualified practitioner) with everything else in between.
There are a few videos/DVDs out for Christmas. These used to be far more common, but with videos being posted on youtube and other social media all the time, videos have rather past their sale by date. However there are a few videos which are up to two hours long on various aspects of training your horse, also depending whether the horse is for dressage or show jumping etc. These videos or should we say DVDs, are aimed at riders of different levels, and if used properly can really help with home training. There are of course the videos teaching the rider a ‘good seat’ and the correct way to ride. These tend to have been made some time ago, bit are no less relevant today than they were when they were made. A perfect gift for an aspiring rider who has difficulty sitting up straight in bed never mind on the back of a horse! The most recent ‘how to ride videos’ is a 20 section series of about 7 minutes each made by Santo Rico published by Twin Musicom showing how a novice rider learned to ride properly. This can also be found on youtube.
There are dozens of web site offering prints or sketches of famous horses throughout time, from the great race horses to the greatest sports horses. There is also a wealth of web sites claiming to be able to turn an image of your own horse into something very special. Generally, these gifts are not too expensive and for the right item matched to the recipient can be really appreciated.
At the expensive end of the gift market, jewellery specially designed for the mainly female horse enthusiast including rings, necklaces, broaches (although these are not worn so much now) and bracelets. With all things, some are beautifully designed and are classy items but others are not, shall we say!! One of the more popular jewellery items over time, is a horse shoe shaped ring. There was a wonderful example of this made in gold with small stones set within the ring made by Garrards. While the rings have lasted, sadly Garrards have not, but there are plenty of good jewellers selling the same type of bling. Other equine gifts are bronzes. The range on offer can be real quality items full of life and beautifully crafted to rather dull, badly made articles which have about as much attraction as a ditch full of stagnant water. The fact is that there are many many ‘equine bronze sculptors on the web, but in truth, there are very few who make a worthwhile product and we believe in the importance of actually seeing and feeling the bronze to ascertain its quality before buying. In the UK Harriet Glen does lovely bronzes of many animals, but her horse sculptures are generally well made and life like which is how they should be. She also designs and sells bespoke jewellery.
Tack is another popular gift, both to give and receive. This sort of gift can be relatively inexpensive for a nice leather head collar to a top of the range saddle costing thousands. There is not a great deal you can do to change the design, say of a stirrup for example, but designers in recent years have ‘blinged’ them with either colour or fake jewels embedded down the side of the stirrup. The same can be said for brow bands – these are now so common they are almost passé in our opinion!!! There are always items which are necessary for the horse rider. Grooming items are always needed, as are travelling boots, tail guards, grooming bags and of course, rugs for all manor of eventualities. These are all readily available on line and from saddlery shops and there are hundreds of makes and designs for all these sorts of items at a relatively reasonable cost up to the ridiculous!
In this article we have rather generalised on ideas of Christmas gifts and think that we have probably covered the most common ones. We hope you agree and if you need a ‘horsey’ gift, this may give you a small amount of inspiration.
The editor Bernard Simpson has been involved with horses and the industry for over 40 years. Together with his wife, he bred many flat racehorses including some which were Royal Ascot winners. He is also experienced in equine media using video, photography and journalism. Bernard currently lives in Wiltshire. He and guest authors now present this blog and hope you like our articles.
If you have any equine ideas you wish to discuss or promote, we are always interested to learn about them. Please email us with your thoughts if you wish, using our contract page. Many thanks.