This Christmas, you’re likely pondering what to get for the horsey person in your life who has every bit of tack known to mankind (and then some).
A few years back one of our most popular pre-Christmas articles was our (mostly) tongue-in-cheek top 11 “stocking stuffers”. While some — such as the horse-themed special edition Rolls Royce — would not exactly fit in a stocking, the article gave a few ideas on what was out there for the hard-to-buy-for.
Some of the items are no longer available, but others remain on the market, proving their durability.
You may not want to go as far as the $US295 Hermes hoofpick (which, incidentally, is sized to fit in a Christmas stocking), but there are some other ideas to get you thinking (or to send to your loved ones for inspiration).
But remaining at the top of our list for the horse person who has everything is the fabulous Shake’N Fork.
This will always be in our top 10 of any list for sheer usefulness and stylishness. The Shake’N Fork is a manure fork with vibrating tines that separates the sawdust from the dung. These retail for $US229 — and the maker, Equi-Tee Mfg, has also introduced new handle options, and a smaller basket option for mini-horse owners. Impress your fellow pooper scoopers at the barn!
Cosmetics – especially for riders
Looking for something a little more personal? Cosmetics company Equilibre has launched its first line of skincare products, just for horse riders. How is that, you ask? Well, the body lotion, face cream, and hand cream were developed with horses in mind; as well as a non-greasy feel, they are lightly scented with organic essences from lavender and rose geranium. Lavender is scientifically proven to provide a calming effect for both humans and equines.
We’ve been giving the face cream a try, and can give it our big tick of approval, in terms of feel and aroma. The Equilibre products are vegan and cruelty-free, and the company, founded by long-time equestrian Tara Kassey-Kedzia, donates a percentage of profits to equine rescues and charities. Each product’s packaging displays a sticker showing which organization is supported by that purchase.
Active ingredients across the range include meadowfoam seed oil, extracts from Tara tree fruit and red algae, Squalane derived from olive oil, refined oil from macadamia nuts, and butter extracted from cocoa beans.
Yes, the products smell as good as they sound!
If you don’t see the Equilibre products in your nearest tack store, go to Equilibre online to find out where to buy.
World Horse Welfare also offers a range of cards, festive items and stationery, as well as several special items, such as “Christmas Dinner” for horses in need, and the “Christmas Treatment“, which will provide emergency veterinary treatment for a horse in crisis at one of the charity’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres.
The Blue Cross has a range of animal-themed gifts, including stocking fillers, “warm-hearted gifts”,and collectibles.
Spana’s range of Christmas goodies includes cards, edibles, as well as “gifts of health and happiness“, which include mobile IV units, water trough filling, feed, bitting, veterinary supplies, and more.
Redwings has a huge range of items in its shop, from Christmas items to cards, puzzles, stationery, toys and puzzles, and adoption gifts.
Edited by Anouska Jones, Spirit: A Book of Happiness for Horse Lovers is a book of few words, but they are powerful words indeed. It offers 157 pages of beautiful, full-colour pictures alongside an inspiring — or amusing — quote from the horse world.
Some are by famous people including the likes of Winston Churchill, Dale Carnegie, and Shakespeare, while others are by the not-so-famous, or unknown, or legendary. Some quotes are philosophical, others humourous, but you will be able to relate to them!
Here’s one from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.”
In the words of a horse
Siglavy was a regal soul, and the book is written in his own words by Lisbeth Asay. Over a period of seven days, Siglavy reflects on his journey in life and those he has shared it with, particularly his owner Margaret Gill.
Siglavy’s voice is imagined as deeply philosophical and wise.
“I often sense people are wrapped in a shroud of former happenings. Here I must insist we are more skillful. They cannot shake off the past like we can. We can walk away from it and into the new moment, which is always waiting, beckoning.”
Siglavy’s is a valuable perspective on the horse-human relationship, and we could all benefit from putting ourselves into the shoes of our horses.
For the younger equestrian
Popular author Stacy Gregg has a new book out, just in time for the festive season. As with all of Stacy’s previous books, Prince of Ponies is based on real events, and this time readers are transported across time to World War 2 Germany and Poland, and back to the present day.
During World War II Hitler appointed his ‘Master of Horses’, Gustav Rau, to undertake a systematic seizure of the best stallions and mares – Lipizzaners, Polish Arabians and French Warmbloods. Kept at secret stud farms, their offspring branded with the Reich’s mark – an H with a dagger through it – these horses were intended to become the ultimate German warhorses.
But as the Russians closed in on the stud farms the risk of losing the horses to the Red Army, many of the horses, including 200 of the Vienna Riding School’s famous Lipizzaners, were rescued at the 11th hour with the aid of US General Patton. That story has been immortalised in several books and documentaries.
The equine star of Prince of Ponies hails from the famous Janow Podlaski stud farm, which was occupied by the Nazis. The human protagonists are Mira, a Syrian refugee girl living in modern-day Berlin, and Zofia, a young Polish girl.
Prince of Ponies is available in book stores or online through Amazon.
Fancy a cowboy this festive season?
We mean a cowboy book (or two). If you’re sick of gushy fiction and want to read something with horses, cowboys, the wild west, and a few plot twists, then Gary L. Stuart is the author for you. His “Angus series” features a cowboy in the 1880s, who keeps to himself and doesn’t have much time for conversation with anyone other than his horse, Tucson.
The first in the series, Ten Shoes Up, has our hero, Angus, riding in the high country on the New Mexico- Colorado border looking for outlaws. After getting back into civilisation in 1881, Angus takes on an undercover job as a US Marshall, and we’re taken along on his adventures stalking the baddies in the backcountry. A spade is a spade, and Angus does not suffer fools gladly.
The second book in the series, The Valles Caldera, is set two years later and has Angus heading to the Rio Grande in New Mexico, seeking out Mendoza Mendoza and his men, with the help of his trusty steed No Más.
The third in the series is The Last Stage To Bosque Redondo, which tells the true story of the USA’s first all-Indian concentration camp.
Some 9000 survivors of a “scorched earth campaign” on ancestral, aboriginal lands in northwestern New Mexico and Arizona, were marched 350 miles from Fort Defiance in Arizona to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. Today, it’s known as the “Navajo Long Walk.” Marshal Angus leads a stage coach, commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute, along the same route known as the Navajo Long Walk. “The passengers on The Last Stage to Bosque Redondo have a story to tell. This is it.”