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12 Gifts Barn Owners, Managers & Workers Will Actually Love

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Written by Annabelle A.

Barn gifts help say thanks to those who keep your horse safe, healthy, and happy all year long

Between the long hours spent at the barn and shared passion for horses and riding, the staff at your barn really can start to feel like part of your family. They are right alongside you on your equestrian journey–for the big moments when you win your first blue ribbon, sail over a bigger jump, and for the daily grind of cleaning, feeding, and training.

A thoughtful gift can be a great way to show your appreciation for the people who support you and your horse daily. In this article, we walk you through the top 12 gifts for barn staff, including:

Ponder Before You Purchase

Like any good gift, start by considering the personality and wants or needs of the person you’re shopping for–not what YOU would want to receive.

While a personalized coffee mug might be a great gift for your coffee-addicted trainer who has to be at horse shows bright and early, it might not be a great fit for the owner who is trying to cut down on caffeine.

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that show you were paying attention.

If you notice there aren’t enough hooks to hang each horse’s bridle separately, or the pitchfork they use has seen better days, those are perfect gift ideas. Keep your eyes and ears open throughout the year.

horse barn staff

Photo Credit: Brittney Chambers

There are also staple items that every horse person uses constantly and can never have enough of (e.g. Mane ‘n Tail hand lotion), items that wear out but aren’t always replaced quickly (e.g. pitchfork heads), and convenience items that might not be in the budget (e.g. heated boot insoles).

When shopping for barn staff, keep in mind that they have probably collected lots of little horse themed gifts over the years, so they may appreciate gifts that are more practical or sentimental than “collectible.”

The Best Barn Gift Ideas

SmartWool Boot Socks

Working at a barn means you spend a lot of time outside and on your feet. During the winter months or early mornings, a nice pair of cushy, warm socks can make a huge difference in how comfortable you are.

Click to see them on Amazon

Don’t skimp on quality either. Brands like SmartWool are well worth every penny, and they’ll hold up for years.

Why They’ll Love It:
  • High quality material will survive long days and heavy use
  • Thick enough to keep warm, but not too thick for under boots
  • Wick away moisture to keep feet dry
  • Cushioned to keep feet comfortable
  • Add in some foot warming insoles for bonus points!

Shop for this gift on Amazon

Higher Standards Saddle Soap and Leather Balm

This handmade leather care brand has made a name for itself with riders from entry-level competitors to professional riders. Each product is named after a special horse, and the scent options win rave reviews.

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Click to see it on Etsy

Between schooling tack and horses of their own, most barn staff go through plenty of leather care products–it never hurts to have extra!

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Why They’ll Love It:
  • No sticky residue on tack
  • Leaves a nice shine to leather perfect for the show ring
  • Scent options are varied and enjoyable

Shop for this gift on Etsy

Custom Horse Portrait

Getting a custom portrait of that special horse or pony can be very meaningful. Art makes great decor for the tack room, barn, or home and will be appreciated for years to come.

barn-manager-gift-portrait

Click to see it on Etsy

There are a variety of artists to choose from in various styles and price points, so you can always find the perfect fit.

Why They’ll Love It:
  • Personalized decor for the house or barn
  • A unique gift that they most likely do not own already
  • Shows you pay attention to their favorite animals
  • Can be painted/drawn from a photo you snap at the barn
  • A one-of-a-kind keepsake

Shop for this gift on Etsy

Personalized HydroFlask

With long days at the barn and horse shows, a high quality, insulated tumbler for water or coffee is a great gift.

barn-manager-gift-custom-hydroflask

Click to see it on Etsy

You can take it up a notch by getting the barn logo or name custom engraved. People love representing our favorite barn with branded swag.

Why They’ll Love It:
  • Practical, functional gift
  • Represents their facility

Shop for this gift on Etsy

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Custom Photo Book

Chances are, your barn staff is personally invested in every rider, parent, and horse that calls their barn home.

Horse people can be a sentimental bunch, and many owners, managers, and trainers would love to get their hands on photos of their team over the years.

Click to see it on Etsy

If you’ve been at your barn for a while, putting together photos from lessons, shows, and major events over the span of several years can be a great gift. Get your barn friends together to include as many different people, horses, and events as possible!

Why They’ll Love It:
  • Unique gift that was personalized for them
  • Great memories of their barn family through the years
  • Perfect coffee table addition for guests and visitors
  • Helps remind them of the impact they’ve made over time

Shop for this gift on Etsy

A Warm Jacket or Vest

During the winter months, a good barn jacket and layers are essential. Most of us like to have designated barn outerwear that we don’t mind getting dirty and smelly.

barn-coat

Click to see it on State Line Tack

But, that also means many barn staff haven’t gotten a nice jacket or vest in years.

Why They’ll Love It:
  • Practical gift that will get used
  • Lots of options to fit their style
  • Helps them stay comfortable at work and out about town
  • Higher-quality item that lasts for years

Shop for this gift on State Line Tack

Dog Coat

Many barns have a signature pooch or two running around.

They love to roll in the mud (and manure!) and get into messes all day. Keeping their fur covered in the cooler months not only keeps them warm, but it also makes it easy to peel off a layer before they come inside covered in muck.

dog-blanket

Click to see it on State Line Tack

A dog coat is one of those items that always get compliments, and it makes a fun gift for horse and hound lovers.

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Why They’ll Love It:
  • Unique gift that pampers their favorite pup
  • Helps keep dogs from tracking barn mess into the truck and house
  • Allows dogs to continue coming to the barn in inclement weather

Shop for this gift on State Line Tack

A Massage

Working in the horse industry usually means long days, plenty of physical labor, and pouring a lot of yourself into others.

spafinder

Click to see it on SpaFinder

Barn staff are typically selfless, hardworking people who deserve a break, so give them a chance to relax and pamper themselves with a luxurious massage.

You can purchase a gift card for a local business or give them a more versatile gift card so they can choose their own practitioner.

Shop for this gift at SpaFinder

Gift Cards or Cash

Barn owners and trainers are constantly putting their own money into the barn for gear they love, safety equipment, treats for the horses, gas for horse shows and lessons, etc.

Click to shop Amazon gift cards

A gift card from a local tack shop, a major online retailer like State Line Tack or Amazon, or some money to put toward things they need is always appreciated.

Shop for Amazon gift cards or State Line Tack gift cards

Larger Group Gift

If it’s a major holiday or birthday, and your barn has a large group of students and boarders who would be willing to chip in on one big gift, you will have even more options available.

A portable liverpool jump makes a great group gift!

You could get a new banner to hang in the facility with the barn logo, a cool jump that can be used in lessons and shows, a repair or upgrade to something in the facility that needs fixing… get creative!

While it’s not the best gift for a holiday or special occasion, passing on that helmet you don’t need any more or those boots that are a little too tight will mean a lot to your barn team.

Or pick up a nice starter helmet to donate to the lesson program on Amazon

Many students come into riding without the equipment that they need to take lessons, and parents often expect to be able to borrow gear for the first few lessons. Your facility may also offer lessons to lower income students who can’t afford what they need to get started.

Having basic gear and apparel in a variety of sizes helps keep riding lessons accessible to new students and people who may not otherwise be able to participate.

It’s an expense that many owners take on themselves, so contributions are always appreciated.

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Your Time

Owning and running a barn is hard work. Any time you can lend a helping hand around the barn, you have the chance to make the staff’s life a little easier.

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Offering a helping hand around the barn is always… helpful!

Maybe you can help a new student tack up their horse while your trainer finishes the previous lesson. Consider offering to come by for a couple hours on the weekend to help groom horses, clean tack, re-organize the tack room, or feed and water horses.

Bring your trainer a hot cup of coffee or lunch when they don’t have time for a break. There’s almost always something you can do to make the barn run a little smoother!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the best gifts for barn friends?

Shopping for your barn buddies is fun! You don’t need to spend a ton of money to put smiles on their faces either. Here are some of our favorite ideas for barn friends: 

Q: What are some good gifts for pickup truck owners?

We love this question… almost as much as we love pickup trucks! Here are some of our favorite gift ideas for truck lovers:

Q: What are the best custom horse gifts?

Custom horse portraits

are top of our list. We love being able to customize the size, style, and medium, plus supporting small artists on Etsy always feels good. 

Want to celebrate your equestrians favorite horse in a different way? Consider commissioning a Breyer model painted like their favorite horse. These gifts are truly one of a kind.

online horse courses

Q: Are custom horse portraits a good gift?

It depends. (We know, annoying answer!) If you’re buying for a busy barn manager or worker, they may prefer something more useful — or even something that isn’t horse related. 

A gift certificate to a nice local restaurant, spa, or the movies is a great way to reward someone who works hard at the barn and deserves a break. 

That said, if there is a special horse in their lives — and they love riding — a custom horse portrait is a beautiful gift they’ll cherish.

Q: Where can you get personalized apparel horse gifts?

The easiest place to order personalized horse apparel is on Etsy. From cute tees to cozy hoodies, you can find plenty of customizable gifts they’ll love.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Whether it’s a typical gift-giving occasion or a just-because gift, thinking outside the box and grabbing a less “obvious” gift will really stand out among the many horse mugs, t-shirts, and keychains barn staff have likely collected over the years.

Pick up some horsey thank you cards, and handwrite a note!

But, don’t stress–any gift will be appreciated and well received. Barn staff never expects to receive presents, so the thought really does count!

No matter what gift you decide to buy to show your appreciation, make sure to include a handwritten card or note.

Our barn families make such a positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to write down why you appreciate them and what it means to you will be more meaningful than anything you could buy.

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About the author

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Annabelle A.

My parents owned a boarding facility and ran a lesson program throughout my childhood, so I was quite literally raised in a barn! As an adult, I've owned and shown two horses and now love watching my own children learn to ride. I also loved watching my sisters show on their college equestrian teams.