By Chris, Five Star Ranch Staff Writer
The holiday season is approaching and that means parents and friends of horsey kids are looking for gift ideas. Since all my relatives know me as a horse fanatic and am therefore suppose to know “all things horsey,” I frequently get asked for horse related gift ideas.
I thought I would share some of what I tell my friends and relatives. Here is a list of kid friendly horse lover gift ideas.
1. Horse books
You can’t go wrong with a good horse book and there are tons of horse books out there for all ages of horse lovers. Books can deepen a child’s understanding of their best friend as well as entertain. If you want some suggestions on horse books, I wrote another article on horse books that I personally recommend. I’m a big fan of giving books as gifts. While computer games are all the rage, there is still a place for a horse book
for your favorite horse lover.
2. Computer Horse games
Horse games to play on the computer are numerous. There is a large assortment of online horse games. However, if you want something to wrap , the Barbie Adventure game is a winner.
3. Horse board games and other noncomputer horse games
There are a number of horse board games related to horses. Monopoly even has a horsey version call Horse Opoly. I keep a copy it at our cabin where all the kids gather in the summer. I purposely don’t have a TV in the cabin to encourage the kids to interact. You’d be surprised how much better the kids get along without the TV. This past summer Horse-Opoly was a big hit with my younger relatives.
One horse board game called Herd Your Horses teaches kids about running a ranch. I haven’t played it yet, but I ordered it for my nephew for Christmas this year after looking on Amazon and seeing five stars with nearly 60 positive reviews. I’ll update this article after we meet at Christmas and I get to play it with the kids first hand.
Cards and Jigsaw puzzles of prancing horses or colorful rainbow unicorns are also child pleasers.
4. Horse crafts
Horse lovers adore all things equine. Craft oriented kids might love paint by number horse pictures. Breyer has horse toys that you can paint to match your favorite horse. My daughter had it and painted it to match her horse.
5. Horse toys
When I was a little girl, Breyer horses were the rage. I remember saving my money to buy the latest Breyer horse. Breyer has added many new horses to the collection since I was a little girl. One thing I like is that they have a series of horses that are modeled off well known horss. For example Breyer offers a Black Beauty horse (and book set if you want to make it a now and later gift) and a Big Chex to Cash horse. For those of you who don’t know Big Chex to Cash, he was a very famous reining horse that won several national reining championships. If your little horse lover is into reining horses, they will know this horse.
Another horse toy that is very popular is the My Little Pony horses that allow girls to comb and braid the horses manes and tails.
Perhaps my all time favorite toys are PlayMobils and there is a Playmobil Pony Ranch Horse Farm that is as cute as could be. If you aren’t familiar with Playmobils, you need to visit a toy store and get acquainted. They are pricey, but they are well made and hold up well. And all the sets are interchangeable, so you can get different sets and mix them together.
Be aware Playmobils have small pieces so they wouldn’t be appropriate for a child under four, but for kids past the stage of putting things in their mouths, Playmobils are fantastic.
Another good thing about Playmobils they have a large selection of toys that appeal to little boys as well as little girls.
6. Riding Lessons
When I was growing up, my father was convinced that my mania for horses was a short term interest. Boy was he wrong. However, he did something that looking back, was very smart. He made me take riding lessons for two years before he would consider investing in a horse. By the time I actually had my own horse, I was a reasonably accomplished rider, knew how to care for the horse, and had saved up my allowance to buy a few cool horse accessories.
I strongly recommend any parent to have their kid take some riding lessons at least for six months before they get a horse. The horse they need when they start learning will be too pokey for them six months later after. It’s the way it is with riding. As you get more accomplished, you want an increasingly more challenging equine.
The gift of riding lessons isn’t a cheap gift, but if you have a horse lover, it is a gift that would increase their safety and enjoyment around horses. If you’re thinking about doing this, go watch the perspective instructor give a lesson. Do they have good rapport with the kids? Are the mounts they use in lessons suitable and safe? Do the kids in the lessons seem to be enjoying themselves? Riding lessons should be fun as well as educational. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $45 an hour for riding lessons depending on the area.
7. Horse DVD or horse training Videos
If your horse crazed child is a serious horse enthusiast, they might enjoy a good horse training video. These are less expensive than riding lessons and can greatly expand their equine knowledge base. There are many to chose from that target all ages and skill levels.
One of my favorite horse training videos is Clinton Anderson’s Round penning DVD. Clinton is down to earth and practical. The nice thing about a DVD is that you can go back and play parts of it over and over till you understand it. Also, seeing something demonstrated often makes a bigger impact than just reading something.
8. A gift for their favorite horse
A tack store can be better than a toy store if your child is a horse nut. If you can find a present for their horse, the child will be in heaven. Getting a bright colored saddle pad or halter could turn out to be a child’s favorite gift. Another popular gift if you have time is to get a halter personalized with the horse’s name on it. If you go the halter route, be sure to get a matching lead line to complete the look.
One other word of advice – many kids like to coordinate their horse’s color. You might check to see if they already have a hot pink saddle pad. If so, that might dictate the color scheme you go for future horse items.
9. Horse art
There are different levels of horse art. Kids may be happy with a horse poster, while an older horse nut may want to invest in serious horse art. Horse wall art or horse statues are popular forms of art for the horse enthusiast.