Procrastination happens, especially to horse people. Between work and the barn and everything else you’re trying with varying degrees of success to juggle in your life, you have approximately seven minutes to yourself at the end of day, which is just enough time for not much at all.
Unfortunately — and we hate to be the ones to drop this bomb on you — Christmas is just around the corner. So the time to wrap up that shopping you’ve been putting off is now.
Still stumped on what to get that special trainer/farrier/vet/eventing buddy in your life? Here are a few places to turn for fast, easy and inexpensive yet awesome last-minute gift ideas.
The Liquor Store
Nothing says “thanks for putting up with my crap all year” like a bottle of good old-fashioned alcohol. Conveniently, several widely-distributed wine brands feature horses on the label: Wild Horse, Dark Horse, Leaping Horse, Firesteed and 14 Hands are all widely available, modestly priced and good-tasting.
My pick: the 14 Hands “Hot to Trot” Red Blend. It’s polished and bright with aromas of cherry, ripe berries and plum, a well-rounded wine that’s perfect for both special occasions (“Hey! I made the Olympic team!”), or for no real reason at all (“Hey! I didn’t fall off in my lesson this week!”)
The Drug Store
The neighborhood Walgreens or CVS is an annual destination for crunch-time holiday shoppers looking to dazzle their loved ones with some “as seen on TV” gadget and a singing Hallmark card. With a little thought and creativity, you can make it work for your 11th hour horsey gifting needs as well.
How about an abscess kit for a barnmate? Epsom salts, diapers, scissors and of course some crazy-print duct tape … all that fun stuff you can never find when you need it.
The Grocery Store
Bake up a batch of homemade horse cookies, bag ’em up, and sneak them into your barn mates’ tack trucks. Boom! Christmas. Amanda Uechi Ronan compiled a list of recipes for Horse Nation here. Banana-glazed apple, apple and oat chewies, oatmeal carrot crunchies … they sound good enough to eat yourself.
Ain’t got time for baking? No horse ever complained about receiving a gift bag of carrots, apples and peppermints.
Not only are SmartPak gift cards quick and easy (click here, fill out a few details and … voila!), you can have them emailed straight to the recipient’s inbox. They arrive the same day, which is handy in the event that it’s Dec. 25 at 10 p.m. and you suddenly realize you forgot someone on your horsey gift-giving list.
They’re available in any amount from $10 to $1,000 and you can even add a thoughtful message, like, “Of course I didn’t forget your Christmas present! You’re the best farrier in the world! (p.s. Esprit lost a shoe if you wouldn’t mind tacking that back on tomorrow.)”
A Good Cause
Make a donation to a local horse rescue or other organization in their honor. These days most 501(c)(3)s accept donations online and will happily send your recipient a personalized greeting card acknowledging the gift. No matter how much or little you are able to give, it will be greatly appreciated. Bonus points if you donate to a cause that is meaningful to the giftee, like an OTTB rescue for the owner of a Thoroughbred.
Go Shopping (like, right now).