Here are a few ideas to help you find just the right item for that hard-to-buy-for friend, or spark your own great-gift brainstorming.
Giftmeister: Karen Banister, an American Paint Horse Association, Pinto Horse Association of America, Inc., and National Snaffle Bit Association judge. Karen trains youth, amateur, and novice all-around riders at her Brighton, Colorado, farm, where most of the world champions her clients ride are born and raised.
Most Indispensable Item: Cable ties, those sure-hold plastic loops for joining things together. "It seems we cable tie everything nowadays! We've progressed over the years from twine to duct tape to cable ties, " says Karen. Find these handy gadgets in a variety of sizes and lengths at your local home improvement store .
Best Makes-Life-Easier Treasure: "A huge blessing to us is extra help. Those who take a day off their regular jobs and catch horses, wash tails, saddle, get lunch_they make my job so much easier," says the trainer.
Most Unique Gift Given or Received: "All 83 of my customers together bought me a mammoth 18-foot flag pole. It has a new eight-foot American flag and my own farm flag. One client even trenched electricity for lights! I really treasure it." Karen also favors "anything custom--chaps, saddle, blankets, coats, etc., in favorite colors and/or monogrammed."
Giftmeister: Kara Baker of Baker Training Stables in Olympia, Washington. With her mother, Patty Baker, Kara maintains a small clientele of open, non-pro, and youth horses on the Appaloosa circuit, and has led them to numerous national and world titles.
Most Indispensable Gadget: Neoprene saddle pads and girths. "They make riding 10 horses a day more comfortable for all of us!" laughs Kara.
Best Makes-Life-Easier Treasure: "A Pacelite electric scooter. It's easy to operate and a huge time saver, and has made my life at horse shows much easier."
Most Unique Gift Given or Received: "A client who sold designer eyewear gifted me the choice of any sunglasses from her huge selection. It was fun to try so many on and pick out my favorite." Kara also says Rios of Mercedes boots "fit wonderfully and are classy."
Giftmeister: Eitan Beth-Halachmy of Grass Valley, California. Renowned for merging classical dressage and Western performance, Eitan provides training and clinic services, and can be seen showing Morgan horses in top show venues nationwide.
Most Indispensable Gadget: "A good, reliable sweet-iron snaffle," he says.
Best Makes-Life-Easier Treasure: "Quality humane spurs," from Myler by Toklat.
Most Unique Gift Given or Received: "A new Sawtooth custom saddle," says Eitan.