California Riding Magazine • November, 2012

On Your Marks, Get Set, Shop!
Tack store tastemakers reveal
top holiday gift picks.

The Halloween sugar rush has not even peaked yet, but everywhere you look the holidays are here. Forget about Thanksgiving, most retailers are onto Christmas already with shelves stocked with wrapping paper, candy canes and, of course, gifts galore!

You can't beat 'em anymore, so why not join 'em and get going on your holiday shopping already!! We asked some of our favorite tack store mavens for out-of-the-ordinary gift ideas for your horsey friends, your trainer and your family members. We'll have more savvy tack store buyers weighing in next issue!

Dione Carsten: Steed Fine Hoarding & Tack

1. Skidmore's Leather Cream:

Dione says: It is the best leather conditioner I have found. Saddles, boots, shoes, belts, wallets, furniture and even wood furniture. It is ridiculous and it's addictive!

Manufacturer says: Skidmore's Leather Cream is an all-purpose leather care product which cleans, conditions, and protects all types of leather. Regular use will build a degree of waterproofing on the leather. Use on saddles, tack, chaps, shoes & boots, purses, motorcycle leathers, saddlebags, car upholstery, and leather furniture. Our Leather Cream brings dry, curled, cracked leather back to life and protects all leather from the harsh effects of the environment ... sun, wind, dryness, and moisture. Leather is a tough material, but it needs to be cared for ... protect your investment with Skidmore's Leather Cream.

Find it at Steed Fine Hoarding & Tack in the Napa Valley's St. Helena ( or

2. Knots, Hitches and Their Uses, by John Sharp.

Dione says: Cool!

Outfitters Pack Station says: This book is useful for just about anyone who does anything. Knots, Hitches and Their Uses will teach you how to use and create all of the knots, rope halters and other items you might use in packing. It doesn't stop there either. It includes a wealth of knots and hitches acquired through several decades of learning from cowboys who used to work the big ranches.

Find it at Steed or

Tabitha Knaub at LA Saddlery

1. Clever with Leather Padded Snaffle Bit Cuff Bracelet and the Martingale Belt

Tabitha says: These accessories are crafted of beautiful bridle leather and made by a Master saddler in her home studio. They fit nicely into any wardrobe and come in a variety of colors
and options!

Manufacturer says: "Our mission is to give clients brilliant solutions for century-old challenges. The old with a twist of the new, the tradition of the past with a fresh, unexpected hip quality," says Master Saddler Claire Painter. She is the authentic heart of Clever with Leather. With nearly a decade devoted to training in England and apprenticing in the time-honored tradition under a master in Perthshire, Scotland, she established Clever with Leather in Scotland, then brought to the U.S. in 1992.

Find it at LA Saddlery at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center ( or

2. Cowgirls for a Cause "WILD" t-shirt hoodie. 

Tabitha says: "This is made of a super soft cotton in a pretty aqua blue color.  A portion of the proceeds go to horse rescue."

Manufacturer says: Hand screened t-shirts from the photography of Tricia Meteer/EquinoxPhoto and the designs of Wanda Goldberg. This indie brand of apparel comes from our passion for helping horses. A portion of the profits help rescue horses and benefit preserving wild horses.

Find it at: LA Saddlery or

Marian Naumann at Mary's Tack & Feed

1. Harry Hoofs slippers for kids.

Warm feet are happy feet! Soft plush brown horse shaped slippers with 3-D detail. Embroidered. Child Size Small fits size 10-11.

2. For Horse-Crazy Girls Only book.

Mary's website says: Being horse-crazy isn't just a phase, horse-crazy is for life! This 160-page hardcover book contains everything a girl needs to know about a girl's best friend. With more than 130 illustrations and diagrams, For Horse-Crazy Girls Only is crammed full of fun facts, must-know info and pretty much everything you need to know about horses!

3. Stimulite Bath Mitt & SpaCells Facial Sponge by Supracor

Marian says: "Riders know the Supracor name and use the Supracor horse scrubbing mitt, so they love this for themselves."
Mary's website says: "This is the revolutionary new way to give yourself an incredible five-minute facial. Clean with one side and exfoliate with the other using Supracor's exclusive Stimulite honeycomb in two textures. Made of naturally antifungal, antibacterial and allergen free materials, you'll love the soft, smooth, younger-looking skin that will be revealed with daily use. To eliminate toxins, decrease puffiness, and promote cellular regeneration, you can't go wrong with the SpaCells Facial Sponge.

4. Ariat Carry All Tote

Mary's website says: This handsome, stylish polyester tote has contrast trim handles and easily holds your wallet, sunglasses, smart phone or tablet, bottle of water, and an extra jacket. We like the wide dual shoulder straps for comfort. On the front are two exterior slip pockets - perfect for holding hairnets, bands, and other small accessories. An exterior zip pocket on the back is so nice for getting to something fast! Ariat's logo on front of bag. Platform bottom with rubber feet for better stability. Top zip closure. Interior printed lining with two front open pockets and a back wall zip pocket.

5. Western Spur Key Ring

Mary's website says: A beautiful gift, this silver tone Western spur key ring even has engraved sides and a rowel Show your cowgirl (or cowboy) attitude anywhere!

Find all these at

Editor's Pick:

Kim says: Any editor worth their salt deserves a good way to transport the fruits of their labor and Ariat has outdone itself in this department with the Lexington Magazine Tote.

This beautiful bag is part of the equestrian apparel company's new fall handbag collection and it is absolutely lovely. An ideal combination of elegance and practicality, it's the perfect size to carry several copies of California Riding Magazine, along with a laptop computer or tablet. There's a perfect pocket for a cell phone and another for a reporter's notepad, plus a detachable zippered pouch for personal items.

Hand made in New York of Italian calf-skin leather and lined with yummy suede, the bag is beautiful and durable. The straps are fashioned after turn-of the century harness bridles and the hardware features understated equestrian design created with the lost wax carving technique. I don't know exactly what that means, but I do know the bag's look represents my horsey passion but not so much so that my non-horsey boys will be embarrassed when I bring it to the basketball court.

Find it at