Their love may be priceless, but when it comes to our four-legged family members, many American pet owners spend big bucks. According to the American Pet Products Association, spending on pets increases every year, hitting close to $63 billion in 2016 and predicted to be even higher this year.
Although horses are viewed as pets by some, others think of them as work partners, hobbies or investments. Those who consider their horses part of the family definitely treat them as such, and that includes buying them gifts—especially at Christmas.
Treats are best-sellers when it comes to horse gifts, notes Marti Haught, owner of the Tack Shack of Ocala.
“I think the treats are more for the people because it makes them happy to see their horses happy. We even have treats in stockings and candy cane tubes,” says Marti.
“We sell a lot of Santa, elf and reindeer hats for horses. People have fun with those and like to dress up their horses,” she says, adding that glitter you can use to paint horses’ hooves, coats, manes and tails is also popular. “When that glitter came out about 20 years ago, I thought it was crazy, but we’ve been selling it ever since. People use it for parades and rodeos and also kids just wanting to decorate their horses.”
One clever company has created a pet subscription gift box for equestrians. SaddleBox (saddlebox.net) offers regular subscriptions and gift plans, so it’s a great way to spoil your own horse or surprise a horse-loving friend.
Subscribers receive a box every month containing an assortment of items that make it easy to spoil your horse. Each box includes horse treats and several other items, such as grooming tools and products, tack, gear and supplies. As the folks at SaddleBox declare: “You’ll find new ingredients for a happy horse in every box!” There’s always something for the human, as well, such as horse books, decor, accessories, etc.
Of course, some horse-minded gifts can be practical.
“We have people come in and buy someone a gift certificate for hay or pay on a friend or relative’s feed bill,” says Teri Freda, owner of United Hay in Ocala.
That’s actually an excellent idea. Feed and hay are ongoing expenses for horse owners, and if you can catch a break there, you’ll have more money to spend on something fun—like another bottle of glitter and an extra package of horse treats.