Before you order trophies for your awards night, schooling series, or fun show, ask yourself: Do your riders really want another item collecting dust in their tack rooms? Probably not.
Instead of trophies this year, consider some novel alternatives. To provide a little food for thought, Stable Management rounded up eight useful, customizable items from $4 to $40 that are sure to bring a sincere smile to your award winners’ faces. All it takes is a trip to your local trophy store or 30 minutes of online shopping to be known as the best awards-giver on your side of the Mississippi.
1. Key Rings
Useful? Think about how many collections of keys you carry: car keys, house keys, office keys, and tack-trunk keys, for starters. Your award winners can unlock their equine belongings while proudly displaying their accomplishment of High Point Fun Show Rider or Volunteer of the Season. For that, you need something more classy than those cheesy plastic key rings you get when purchasing a used car. We’re talking about engraved silver- and brass-plated key rings, available in many shapes and sizes starting at $3. Garden Spot Ribbons and Awards offers a polished silver key ring with an engravable insert for $3.75 plus shipping. The key rings measure 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” and come individually boxed. Visit www.gardenspotribbonaw.com or call 1-888-834-6222.
An attractive bookmark shows your competitors are as smart off a horse as they are on one. Small and inexpensive, engraved bookmarks remind riders of their accomplishments every time they pick up their favorite read. Personalized metal-toned bookmarks range from $3 to $20. Monogrammed Gifts carries a six-inch-long rectangular silver-plated bookmark with a tassel for $10. Visit www.monogrammedgifts.com or call 1-888-734-4617 for the bookworms in your barn.
3. Travel Mug
Groan! Another travel mug? Yes—because a travel mug commemorating an accomplishment is one riders will happily show off to co-workers and fellow boarders. The 16-ounce Ergo Travel Mug from Hodges Badge Company is available in red, blue, clear, or green and can be imprinted with Hodges’ stock designs and lettering in one or two colors. At $10 each, there is a one-case minimum (36 mugs), so this award is great for fun shows and awards of recognition. This is one that will not be forgotten and left behind at a horse show or at the barn. Visit www.hodgesbadge.com or call 1-800-556-2440.
4. Pocket Knife
Every horse person has at least three pocket knives in her car, her grooming box, and her jeans pocket. You never know when you’re going to need to open a hay bale or slice off a piece of your apple for your equine friend. Multi-function pocket knives are favorites, especially ones with corkscrews for those overnight horse-show stays.
Personalized pocket knives start at $7. One, an engravable 13-function stainless steel army knife, comes gift-boxed from Blue Chopsticks for $16 plus shipping. There’s room for two lines of engraving with 15 characters each—just enough space for “Trot Along Farm Award Winner” or “2006 IDS First Level Champion.” Visit www.bluechopsticks.com or call
5. Jewelry Box
Attractive keepsake jewelry boxes in wood, pewter, and crystal range from $11 to $100. They’re handy around the house for keeping jewelry as well as small items such as stock-tie pins and extra buttons for show clothes. A 3-1/2” square silver-plated jewelry box from Gift World Collection goes for $25. Four lines of engraving with 16 characters per line gives you room to commemorate your riders’ accomplishments. Visit www.gift-world-collection.com or call (704) 573-3103.
6. Pitcher and Glasses Set
After a long day in the saddle, riders need an item they can just go home and relax with. Etched glass-and-pitcher sets are attractive and useful reminders of hard work paid off. The Mario Iced Tea Set ($32)?from Ouachita Etched Glass Awards features one pitcher and two glasses personalized with a stock design and ten characters. The company is rooted in providing horse-show awards, so its equine-related stock designs are plentiful. You can add your logo for a $40 one-time setup fee, and additional letters are available for $0.10 each. The minimum order is $100. Visit www.ouachita-artglass.com or call 1-888-394-5424.
7. Crystal Vase
When people speak of family heirlooms, “my great grandmother’s vase” is often part of the discussion. Give your riders something they can display proudly and one day pass on. You’ll pay $9 for small bud vases, up to $40 for larger vases. Lasting Sentiments offers a seven-inch-tall hourglass-shaped crystal vase engraved with four lines of up to 20 characters each ($22.85). The Erika Crystal Vase, engraved with a club or barn logo, costs $23.10. Visit www.lastingsentiments.com or call (908) 464-9288.
8. Picture Frame
Picture frames, especially engraved ones, are awards that recipients will hold onto for a long time. Frames are available from 3” x 5” to 11” x 14”. Team up with your show photographer to offer a special package. This is one trophy that won’t end up in storage.
Metal-toned frames are elegant, but for something completely different, consider personalized wood frames. For example:?1st Frame offers the You Create wooden frame with fold-out easel. The top, bottom, and sides are engravable with text and clip art. You can even add your own logo or artwork for a $10 setup fee. The 8” x 10” frame is $36; 5 x 7 is $33; 4 x 6, $32; and 3 x 5, $30; 1stFrame offers discounts for bulk orders. Visit www.1stframe.com or call (734) 854-8551.
Take these eight ideas and add a few of your own to develop a useful and creative award collection for your competitions this year. Not only will your competitors have a lasting memento of their outing, but your barn name will survive beyond a box of ribbons.