Trainer holiday gifts

I always try to get a little something at the holidays for barn friends, barn help, trainers, etc. Not really to say Happy Holidays necessarily… more like “Thanks for putting up with all my bullshit this year without stabbing me in the eye”.

I’ve almost always been at a barn with a resident trainer, and in those situations everyone has tended to pool their money to buy one bigger gift – new stall curtains for shows, a nice wooden bench for the barn aisle, really nice breeches, etc.

This year is one of the few where I’ve found myself at a barn with no resident trainer. I’ve worked with a few trainers throughout the year, although one in particular bore the brunt of my general tomfoolery and about 10 million text messages. Bobby and I split her gift (poor woman, she has to put up with him too) and it’s already on order. Of course, I can’t really share it here yet because sometimes she pops in here to read my blubbering in an attempt to figure out why the hell I’m so weird.

I went back and forth for a while before I ordered it… it’s hard to pick a good trainer gift. I wanted something that was a) affordable b) useable c) personal, not just a generic gift card or something d) from a small business. No one wants to choose wrong, but if you’re like me you feel like it’s important and want to put some thought into it. Granted, I overthink EVERYTHING, especially presents… I spent 3 hours researching stereos before I bought one of the SO’s presents. So I might just be insane in general.

Do you get your trainer a gift? If so, what’s your tactic – do you go for the pretty thing, the practical thing, the edible/drinkable thing, or the fun thing? What did you get your trainer this year?


26 thoughts on “Trainer holiday gifts

  1. I tend to buy stuff for people at my barn (friends who hauled me places before i got my trailer, friends who talk me down when i am freaking out about something at an event etc.) those are pretty easy but the bigger stuff for trainers etc is HARD to figure out. So perfect timing here for the holidays. 🙂 Since i just moved to my new barn where my actual trainer is and runs it I want to find the right gift this year. So i look forward to people responding! 🙂

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  2. I just started riding with a trainer 2 months ago and we’ve really clicked so I went with pretty & practical & small business. It gets bloody cold here in NJ so I found an infinity scarf on Etsy in her fav color with a running horse pattern on it. And I bring her chocolate from work. A lot. ‘cos she has to put up with the weeny whining of a timid adult student.


  3. I usually go with practical, although if I can make practical and small business work, all the better. This year I scored $15 quarter zip fleeces from Lands End, so I got several of them as ‘horse people’ gifts.


  4. I didn’t have a trainer this year, but I got my trainer some items from Alaska one year, a framed picture of me on one of his horses that I borrowed another year and a gift card to a local restaurant he likes another year.

    I’m planning to move my horse for the winter just before Christmas and I’d really like to get the BO a gift, but I have no idea what to get her. I have a feeling she’s one of those people who buys everything she wants.


  5. Back at my old barn we would always pool money together to get the Trainer/BO a gift. One year it was 3 personalized, nice quality saddle pads for her to use at shows. Last year it was personalized, super nice saddle covers for her two saddles. Since I just moved barns and just got a new trainer, I won’t be really participating in gift giving. I did pick up a box of imported German cookies for the new BO, but other than that, nothing.


  6. I made a 2016 calendar for her on Shutterfly with photos from all her horse trials this year (she competes three different horses so there were plenty of pictures to pick from).


  7. Some years we have pitched in together to get a larger gift that is not related to the horses. Last year it was a subscription to the Vodka of the month club. This year she has decided that we should pick a horse charity and donate to them instead of exchanging gifts. I’ll still probably get her something small, and I make my own sparkly Christmas ornaments that everyone gets, but I don’t really consider them a gift.


  8. I don’t do a great job at this- I’m a terrible gift giver. I don’t know my trainer super well and hardly spend much time with her outside of lessons since I don’t show and don’t own the horse I ride. I usually just pay her double or triple lesson fee on my last lesson of the year- it’s impersonal, I know, but it is a way to say “thank you” all the same. My other favorite thing to do is sneak random things in and leave them at the barn for general use, horse boots, girths, whips, saddle pads, brushes, etc… they just “appear” throughout the year and everyone can benefit!


  9. I was thrilled to learn that my H/J barn pooled for birthday gifts for our trainers… but horrified when I realized we were all on our own for the holidays… 😦 Since my trainer had to endure… A. Lot. with the last mare I usually went with the “I’m sorry” gift of some, semi-trendy H/J accessory that she could use but wouldn’t buy herself.. This year its a Noel Asmar scarf I found on sale. I spend more at this barn than I EVER have previously, but she puts up with a lot more crap 🙂 Also, I loved the Heels Down Mag Holiday gift guide. it was free and broke ideas down into different price categories… LIFE SAVER


  10. I usually give my mentor a little gift every year, but it’s gonna be hart to beat last years present! Me and two other riders went together to buy her a new shadbelly, and she was over the moon! Going for a nice fleece jacket and the classic wine and chocolate!


  11. Since I’m crafty and poor & she already has everything you could ever want, I’m painting a “mural”esque type thing for my trainer. It will be a dressage horse head with “EME” for our name and call it a day. Shhh, dont tell


    1. Great minds think similarly… I strongly considered buying and painting a brush box with trainer’s barn logo, because I’m also poor and sometimes crafty. Alas, laziness won out.


  12. I got my trainer a Starbucks gift card bc she loves Starbucks and I knew it was practical and she would use it.

    I also bought brushes for all of our barn friends and let my oldest decorate them special for each person and gave those to everyone 🙂


  13. Australian Red Wine.
    My trainer has a rule that if you fall off you owe her a bottle of wine 😉 Even though I’ve given her my fair share of bottles it’s fun to find different ones with cool names and give them to her- as long as they’re Australian Red hahaha!!!


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