I had a great time at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts last weekend.
Several members of our group stopped by at the Trafalgar Books booth to say hi and have me sign their copies of Riders of a Certain Age. It was great to put faces to names.
Equine Affaire has a massive vendors area. Probably close to 500 booths selling everything: tack, clothing, supplements, feeding and watering systems, saddles, horse treats, jewelry, boots, and accessories. Others were informational about college equestrian programs, rescue and adoption organizations, riding clubs, and equine travel companies.
I spent time wandering through this wonderland and found several booths selling unique things that would make nice gifts. These are all independently owned – no corporations. Here’s what I found!
Best Horse Gifts from Small Businesses
Zero Proof Horse Treats
Inspired by Kentucky’s iconic drinks (but without alcohol), the treats are made with distillers’ grain, oats, alfalfa, and flavored with mint (for the mint julep treat) or orange and cherry (for Old Fashion). No chemicals. They also make Barn Dog Bites, including crunchy cheese puff treats and chewy chicken pot pie. Check out their online store.
Made with essential oils, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, and neem, Virtue Soap bars work up to a rich lather that cleans without stripping the coat of its oils and is easy to rinse. The bars come in palm-sized mesh bags so they are easy to use. The other killer-cool fantastic product is the Brush Blaster. Drop this cube into a bucket of water with your grungy brushes, and it fizzes away all the gunk, including the crud that accumulates at the top of the bristles. There’s also a line of dog soaps made with equally skin-friendly ingredients. And in the same mesh bag which reduces the waste from liquid dog soaps.
Nice, high-quality backpacks, boot bags, totes, belt bags, and belts designed for equestrians. Veltri Sports used their own experiences to figure out what riders needed to stash quickly and efficiently and developed this line. The backpack – probably my favorite item — holds your helmet, crop, and other saddle-essential items. Everything is water-resistant and largely made with recycled materials.
Two very neat things here. First, the end to the frustration of rolling leg wraps. This nifty device, Wrapstar, solves the problem. Insert one end into the roller and wind up the wrap. Poof! Done!
For trail riders who want to be seen, these LED light extensions are great. One is a brow band. The other attaches to the croup and hangs down the tail. Bright blue LED (or other colors) shine and let anyone coming from behind to see you well. The photos doesn’t really show it well.
The Bent Nail
Oh, the imagination to create wonderful jewelry from horseshoe nails! Designed by a self-proclaimed ‘horse crazy’ gal in New Hampshire, these are classic and unique necklaces, bracelets, ornaments, key rings, and sculptures. Visit her website for her complete collection.
In addition to being perhaps the largest seller of horse-oriented books in the country, Taborton also sells horse-related goodies. And since many of us struggle to remember the difference between a pastern and a poll (and feel a little silly asking), check out this lovely, large, laminated Points of the Horse poster. And browse the rest of the lovely, get-lost-in-the-pages catalog!