November 2015 - Gift Guide
Written by Kim F. Miller & Alicia Anthony
Sunday, 01 November 2015 06:15

Manager Kelly Meehan, left, with staff members at Dover Saddlery in Laguna Hills. Photo by Kim F. Miller

Bringing you the gift of ideas!

by Kim F. Miller & Alicia Anthony

We did a little in-person reconnaissance work at local tack stores to check on gift ideas. Dover Saddlery Laguna Hills manager Kelly Meehan reports that business has been booming since their grand opening in August. A graduate of the St. Andrews University equestrian business and MBA program, Kelly is an East Coast native who had worked for Dover for some time before taking on management of the company’s first California retail outlet. She explained that Dover, based in Massachusets and best known for its huge catalog business, liked the Orange County spot because it’s a relatively short drive (one hour if the traffic gods are smiling) to both Los Angeles and San Diego, and in the middle of the thriving Orange County equestrian scene.

No shortage of gift ideas at Dover Saddlery’s Laguna Hills location. And, they’re opening another retail outlet in the East Bay Area’s Moraga just in time for the holidays.

As for hot holiday gift suggestions, Kelly predicted that Breyer’s American Pharoah model and tree ornaments would be very popular. Employees had to put in special orders if they wanted one because they were sure inventory would sell out fast. As for more practical gifts, she says saddle pads are always popular. “You always need them and they come in so many fun colors and with fun stitching, etc.”

Coming from the East Coast, she was surprised to see how popular “boredom breaker” horse products are out West. On the East Coast where horses more often have access to long hours in pasture, they’re not such hot sellers. Gift certificates are always favorites and they can be used for anything in the Dover catalog, too, if the store doesn’t have desired color or size in stock.

Breyer horse models are also perennial favorites at American Horse Products in San Juan Capistrano, where a shelf that runs the length of the store is devoted to these models. The store’s vast inventory, from the practical to the fanciful, makes it a great place for those in need of inspiration for horsey gifts. Especially with the staff’s friendly expertise, there is no way you could leave without something for the horse fan on your list—or, even better, yourself.

So, here’s a round-up of things we think would make great gift ideas.


Get Organized & Get On!

The Rolltack from SaddleLockers is a tidy way to transport a saddle around the barn or in the car. A compartment under the saddle rack is perfect place to stow a helmet and a few other items. When you get where you’re going, it doubles as a mounting block. In any usage, the Rolltack is easily pulled along like a roller-mounted suitcase.

The SaddleLockers line also includes lockable saddle racks, which, unfortunately, are not a bad idea amidst relatively frequent reports of saddle theft these days.

Price: $249. More info:

Rebecca Ray Designs

Belts are a great way to personalize show outfits that otherwise have to be pretty conservative. One of our favorites is the new line of two-inch wide suede belts from Rebecca Ray. Available in seven sizes and 14 colors, from fun azure and bright berry to discreet oyster, these belts feature bridle-stitch designs and look awesome whether riding or not. $89.99

Also new from RR are Swap Out Suede Bridle Stitch Bit Belts. A full belt is $79.99, and each different-colored back is $59.99.

If belts aren’t your thing, Rebecca Ray has handbags, totes, jewelry and other accessories, all of it with tasteful equestrian themes that work well anywhere.

More info:

Valegro Champion Horse

Valegro is nothing short of a world-wide phenomenon, a horse who has taken the sporting world by storm. In an unprecedented career, he has gone from rejection to concurrent Olympic, World and European Gold and a World No 1 ranking - leaving a trail of broken World records in his wake.

From gangly youngster to ‘the best the world has seen,’ this is the heart-warming story of the horse that revolutionized a centuries-old sport and won the hearts of equestrian and sports fans everywhere. Voted the Nation’s favorite horse, he has achieved international fame and admiration and has a character and intelligence that the public clearly adores.

This modern-day Black Beauty story is told by his owner and trainer, Carl Hester, who had the vision to bring together the potential of a young rider - Charlotte Dujardin - with a horse whose outstanding ability has proved that dreams can still come true. With honesty, humor and contributions from leading lights across the equestrian world, this book is an inspiring and indispensable must-have for equestriennes, sports fans and anybody interested in achieving success against the odds.



Get Hooked!

Retired jockey James Corral makes the most of authentic used horseshoes. Picture frames, bridle, coat and ribbon racks and commemorative pieces are a few examples of the custom artwork he’s created with old shoes, under the name If These Shoes Could Talk.

James learned to ride at Galway Downs in Temecula and had a successful career until injuries forced him to quit. Curiosity about how things worked led him to examine used shoes, which led him to polishing them up and pairing them with his passion for woodworking. The possibilities are endless and the results are beautiful.

For more information, call 562-756-5580 or visit


Horse Coin Jewelry

Nancy Louie of Horse Coin Jewelry is a regular on the hunter/jumper and dressage circuits and can always be counted on for an irresistible array of necklaces, pendants, earrings and charms. Visiting can be dangerous: she accepts credit cards!!


PonyUp! Purses

Also in the repurposing department, PonyUp! Purses offer equestrian fashion with purpose and passion. PonyUp! Kentucky handbags feature leather straps and brass fittings from real horse halters. Made in the USA, with all profits benefiting horse rescue.

Visit us at

LeFash Shirts

These shirts have been all the rage on the hunter/jumper circuit for some time, but you don’t have to be a competitor to love them. Styled for snug, flattering fit and super comfort, the shirts combine high quality cotton fronts, with side panels made of bamboo. The bamboo is a natural, stretchy fabric that creates the snug, flattering fit. The fabric is also famous for breathability, making it a great choice for hot days. The pallette of colors and patterns is super appealing.

California stores that carry LeFash include Dover, Laguna Beach, LA Saddlery and Mary’s Tack & Feed. For more information: www.lefash.ny.

Warm Buns

They say winter really is coming, and for riders in California’s colder climates, Stickyseat’s new line of Wind Pro riding pants may be the ticket. This is a tightly knit, abrasion, wind, water-resistant, low profile fleece breech. The fleece is made by Polartec, and the Power Stretch fabric has a flat face with the “loftier fuzzy brushed interior,” says the company. “It’s like riding in your PJs,” except not slippery thanks to the inner-thigh grip fabric this California company is famous for.

Stickyseat breeches are made in the USA, as always, and the company donates 10% of its net proceeds to horses in need. We like that!