Give Thanks—and Gifts

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>> Click here to check out our New Products page and five featured holiday gifts.

The winter-holiday season can be stressful for everyone. Between family obligations and frozen hoses, it’s easy to lose track of time. Don’t let the holidays go by without saying thank you to your clients for making your business what it is. Consider giving one of these 10 gifts this year:

1. Farm logo items

There’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion in the form of a useful holiday gift. On the less-expensive end of the useful-gift spectrum, consider duffel bags or garment bags embroidered with your farm logo or name. If you’d like to spend more, look into jackets and quilted vests. As your clients travel, so will your farm promotion.

2. Horse photography

One thing you can’t have too many of is photos of your horse. If you (or a client or friend) fancy yourself a photographer, snap some candid shots of clients’ horses, print your favorite of each at a local camera shop and frame them as gifts. Start early with this one—you might need a few nice days to get all of the good shots that you need.

3. Edible arrangements

You’ve heard of the company Edible Arrangements, which makes edible “bouquets” of fresh-cut fruit. These are nice, but with a little creativity yourself, you can make an edible arrangement for your equine clients using assorted fruits and vegetables, sugar cubes and hay cubes, arranged in a small bucket.

4. Horse grooming kits

A travel-sized kit of shampoo, detangler and assorted brushes is a useful gift to keep in a horse trailer or show box. Take a look at already assembled kits, such as Aloe Advantage’s pony-themed Grooming Pack, or put together your own.

5. Rider grooming kits

Gift your clients with some pampering products of their own. Burt’s Bees has small-sized kits of lotions, lip balms and soaps made from good-for-you ingredients. These are especially nice to keep in tack trunks, horse trailers and truck glove compartments for riders’ chapped lips and hands.

6. Thank-you clinics

Schedule a free clinic day for your clients. Better yet, schedule two, and let each client sign up for their most convenient day. Make this a low-pressure, high-fun day designed to work on training issues while promoting socializing. This can be just what a client needs to get back into your training or lesson program and can help build camaraderie among riders.

7. Education of another kind

Equine education doesn’t only happen in the barn. Equine experts offer webinars and podcasts on all kinds of topics. Contribute to your clients’ overall horsemanship knowledge by gifting a subscription to a health, nutrition, behavior or grooming series.

8. Discount coupons

Offer 10 or 20 percent off of any one month’s bill. Let your clients choose which month—if you gave everyone 20 percent off of their January bill, your cash flow is going to take a hit, but if you let them pick which month they want to use the discount, they’ll likely not all use the discount at the same time.

9. Gift certificates

If you have a barn of picky clients (Is there a barn without them?), offering a gift certificate to your local tack store is a better bet than trying to choose one item that will suit them all. Unless you have a small client base and you know each client well, going shopping for everyone individually would take all year, and come the week before your barn party, you’d still be scrambling to get the last few gifts.

10. Homemade gifts

Whether made by you or made by someone you know, in today’s world of plastic, disposable items, something handmade is a welcome change. Chances are someone in your circle of friends or clients can put together a great gift—hand-knit wool socks for cold days, a holiday ornament, a wine holder made of horseshoes—that you’d be honored to share with your clients.

Make your gift list now—not in December—and get a jump on expressing appreciation to those who make your business possible.