Don't Cringe: But It's Time To Think About The Holidays

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Yes, that time of year has arrived again, and even tack stores are brimming with gift ideas for the season. Well, I'm here to suggest that you get practical with your money and avoid the dumb stuff, like another horse trinket. One of our local horse shops is stuffed full of horsey junk that I know will be on sale for 75% off on December 26. That's because the stuff isn't practical, so no one's going to buy it unless they're desperate for a gift. You can think beyond these tempting purchases, if you try. Instead, think useful, such as an inexpensive (but nice) saddle pad rather than another t-shirt with a horse joke on it.? If you?ve only got $5 to spend, consider a pen with horses on it or a journal or a nice new lead rope, maybe one of the newer designs to jazz it up a bit. A person will always use those. Candy and food make great gifts, of course. If you want to do something for both horse and rider, consider?holiday horse treat packets--maybe a festive-package designer brand instead of the everyday stuff or maybe one of the mash mixes with peppermint candies.?You'll make both horse and rider happy. Most of us avoid buying these things for ourselves, but?that doesn't mean we wouldn?t love to receive it! Have you found a great new brush, curry comb or other seemingly simple item that you love using' Chances are that your horse friend might like that, too. In fact, have you used the Ultimate Hoofpick yet' it's a Horse Journal favorite for good reason. It's the type of hoofpick you'd love to buy yourself, but talk? yourself out of it due to the price. But at $15 to $17, depending upon the size you choose, it's at a great small-gift?price. You?don't look too cheap, but you don't break the holiday bank either (www.ultimatehoofpick.com). ?I'm betting your friend will tell you repeatedly how much she likes that hoof pick throughout the year. Of course, I think a subscription to Horse Journal would be just ducky to give, especially since we focus?on saving money and do-it-yourself horse care. Who doesn't need to do that'? Readers have told me countless times over the years that the information they gain in one issue alone pays for the cost of the subscription for the rest of the year. For a temporary time, we're offering a holiday special at two subscriptions for $36. You can extend your own subscription for a year for free when you give your friend a subscription.? However, it's special, so you?ve got to call 800-829-9145 and mention code 71X2F1 in order to take advantage of it. Our website is www.horse-journal.com, but use the phone?this time to place your order and get the deal. Maybe your friend?or trainer would like a new halter with a super personal design. Check out http://www.redhautedesign.com for more halter designs than you can shake a stick at, with the option of a breakaway fuse (the only way to leave a halter on a horse). If you?ve never visited this site, you're in for a treat. I've always been told that one of the nicest gifts you can give?is something a person uses all the time, but just a little more upscale. For instance, if you know your friend is making do with a hairbrush from the dollar store to do manes and tails, she might think the Oster mane and tail brush is great! it's about $10 to $12 at nearly any tack store. Or a whole new grooming set. Most of us use the same brushes year after year without giving a thought to how much easier grooming would be with new tools. I have a $25 soft brush someone gave me that I would have never purchased on my own (too expensive!), but I?would hate to be without it.? (I'd share that brand with you, but sadly, the company went out of business.? Probably because they were trying to sell $25 brushes!) Maybe her shipping boots have seen better days . . . you get the drift. I'm just a practical sort of person, and I think the best gifts are the ones that don't just sit on a shelf, especially when we're all pinching pennies.