Gifts that Make Memories

Making Memories

The best gifts are so much more than wrapping paper and ribbon. They’re an expression of love that transforms an ordinary moment into a memory that lasts a lifetime.

To celebrate the start of the holiday season, we thought we’d share some of our memories with you. Use them as inspiration for your holiday shopping or email them as “hints” for your friend, parent or spouse.
Do you have a holiday memory you’d like to share? Post it in the comments or on our Facebook wall – we’d love to hear from you!


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Pony

Team Member: Jessica, Marketing

The Memory: “I’ll never forget the year my grandfather gave me a Shetland pony. He brought the pony right into the house Christmas morning! His name was Dexter, and he started my lifelong love of horses!”

Our Top Pick: A SmartPak Gift Certificate – It’s the perfect gift for the rider who has it all (or the rider who needs it all)!


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Helmet

Team Member: Jen, SmartPak Store

The Memory: “I had been begging for riding lessons all year, but my parents said it was too expensive. When I came downstairs Christmas morning, there was a helmet under the tree with a note that said ‘Saddle Up!’ I took my first lesson the very next day.”

Our Top Pick: Charles Owen AYR8 Helmet – Give the gift of style and safety with one of the most popular helmets on the market.


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Saddle

Team Member: Claire, Customer Care

The Memory: “My parents were always very careful to buy my sister and I the same number of gifts because they didn’t want one of us to run out before the other. One Christmas, my sister ended up with way more presents than me. Just when I was certain it meant that my parents loved her more, they pulled a brand new saddle out from behind the tree! I was
completely speechless.”

Our Top Pick: Spooner by Antares – This gorgeous, luxurious and elegant saddle is sure to leave your favorite rider speechless on Christmas morning.


The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Grooming Tote

Team Member: Elizabeth, Customer Care

The Memory: “One Christmas, my parents gave me a grooming box full of brushes. At the time I was convinced that somehow this gift also included a horse, and kept asking my parents where it was. Alas it was another 15 years before I bought my first horse, but he was worth the wait. And I still use the grooming box (and some of the brushes) today!”

Our Top Pick: SmartPink or SmartBlue Deluxe Grooming Set – This set includes all the basics and more in a cute and durable preppy plaid tote!


The Gift that Made the Memory: Breeches

Team Member: Sarah, Marketing

The Memory: “When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a ‘real rider.’ When my mom asked what I meant, I said, ‘real riders wear stretchy pants!’ Apparently, I was a very fashion-conscious six year old. That Christmas, Santa brought me breeches!”

Our Top Pick: Piper Breeches – These customer favorite breeches come in fun colors at a great price, so there’s something for every rider on your list!


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Stall Guard

Team Member: Laura, Customer Care

The Memory: “I suppose it’s no shock, but my most memorable gift was the year that I got my horse for Christmas. I had been leasing him for years but desperately wanted him to be mine for real. On Christmas morning, after all the gifts were unwrapped, my mother pulled out a little wrapped box and handed it to me. Inside, I found a picture of Sonny and I and a note that said, ‘Love me, I’m yours.’ When I got to the barn, there was a new stall guard on his door with my name on it!”

Our Top Pick: Kensington Stall Guard – This classic and durable stall guard comes in five fun plaid colors, so you can choose the one that looks best with your horse!


The Gift that Made the Memory:
Tall Boots

Team Member: Renee, Merchandising

The Memory: “Between my huge feet and tall skinny calves, I’ve always had to settle for awkward-looking tall boots. One year, my boyfriend surprised me with a pair of custom tall boots that fit like a glove. Six years later, I still love my boots (I still love the guy, too – we’re married now!).”

Our Top Pick: Der Dau Custom Field Boots – For a truly one-of-a-kind gift, pick this custom made pair.



The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Turnout Blanket

Team Member: Sara, Creative

The Memory: “Some of the best gifts are the ones you give your horse. The first Christmas I owned Diem, I got him a new blanket. After the first snowfall, I bundled him up and turned him out for a run in the fresh snow. I’m not sure who loved it more – him or me!”

Our Top Pick: SmartPak Classic Turnout Blanket – Classic style at an awesome price. Designed for our horses, it’s sure to be loved by yours.




The Gift that Made the Memory: Treats

Team Member: Nazera, Customer Care

The Memory: “When I was younger, I would always decorate Christmas stockings for my favorite horses with glittery gel and drawings of each horse. I filled the stockings with treats and a coupon for a free ‘royal treatment’ grooming. The horses loved me!”

Our Top Pick: Cantering Chef Horse Treats – Delicious rolled oats and molasses with three fun flavors – pick Peppermint for a true taste of the season.


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Halter

Team Member: Jenn, Customer Care

The Memory: “Walking into the barn one Christmas, I saw that my favorite horse Gizmo had a brand new halter and a huge red bow around his neck. A sign in the back of his stall that said he was mine to lease for the year! I still treasure every minute of our time together.”

Our Top Pick: Wellfleet Fancy Stitch Padded Halter by SmartPak – When he wears this halter, your horse will know how much you love him, and so will everyone else!




The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Saddle Pad

Team Member: Emily, Accounting

The Memory: “My favorite childhood Christmas was the one where everything under the tree was for my horse—a new halter, saddle pad, brushes, treats – the saddle pad even had her name embroidered on it! I was so excited that I made my parents drive me to the barn on Christmas day so I could try all the new stuff on my horse.”

Our Top Pick: SmartPak Medium Diamond Deluxe AP Saddle Pad – With classic equestrian style and undeniable quality, this pad is sure to please!



The Gift that Made the Memory: A Saddle

Team Member: Marie, Customer Care

The Memory: “My favorite Christmas memory was receiving my saddle. I was 14 years old and was riding a lot, so I really wanted a saddle of my own. I woke up on Christmas morning and there was my Wintec saddle with a huge bow on it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so surprised!”

Our Top Pick: Wintec Isabell Dressage Saddle – This durable and easy-care saddle will provide a comfortable ride for years to come.


The Gift that Made the Memory: Treats

Team Member: Autumn, Merchandising

The Memory: “My best friend, Jill, and I would decorate our horses stalls (that were conveniently next to each other) every year. We would spend hours covering the doors with wrapping paper and ribbon to make them look like presents. We would hang stockings, ornaments and wreathes until the two doors were totally cluttered with Christmas stuff. Then we would end the day with taking picture of our very patient horses in Santa hats and reindeer antlers (we bribed them with treats to ensure cooperation). Molly and Colorado were troopers and thankfully well behaved enough not to try to eat the fake wreathes and decorations on their doors (probably because they’d had too many treats!). As I was cleaning out my parents basement before they moved recently, I came across all the decorations we used to use and I am seriously considering revisiting my childhood this year!”

Our Top Pick: Hilton Herballs – This tasty treats are all-natural and flavored with herbs like mint and rosemary, so you can feel good about feeding them!


The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Horse

Team Member: Veronica, Customer Care

The Memory: “When I was 7 years old I begged Santa to buy me a horse at the barn that I was absolutely in love with. He was a 3-year-old Palomino Quarter Horse named Buster. Come Christmas morning, there was no horse under my tree. Naturally, I cried for hours. Later in the afternoon when I went over to the barn to give Buster his Christmas treats, I got the best Christmas surprise in history. There was Christmas music playing in the barn and Buster was in his stall with a huge red bow tied around him. On the front of the stall was a big note from Buster that read:
‘Dear Santa, I have been a very good horse this year. Please send me a little girl named Veronica to love and care for me. XOXO, Buster’
I still have the sign, the bow, and of course Buster. He is now a happy 21 year old and follows me everywhere.”

Our Top Pick: A SmartPak Gift Certificate – Sometimes the perfect gift is the one they pick for themselves. Our Gift Certificates make perfect stocking stuffers!


The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Bridle

Team Member: Melissa, Merchandising

The Memory: “I’m lucky that my husband is supportive of my horse addiction, but he doesn’t know a thing about riding. You can imagine my surprise when he gave me a new bridle for Christmas. I didn’t even know he knew what a bridle was! His secret to success…yes, you guessed it. He called SmartPak. The call went something like this:
Jason: “I’d like to get my wife a new bridle for Christmas.”
Laura: “Sure Jason, we’d be happy to help you find the perfect bridle for Melissa and Ellie. Do you want a bridle that she can use for showing or schooling?”
Jason: “Uhm, I don’t know what that means. All I know is that Ellie is big and brown and that there are pictures all over our house of her jumping over jumps.”
Laura: “That is a good start! I know that Ellie and Melissa compete in the Adult Eq and Hunters so let me help you choose the right bridle for them…”
Lucky for me SmartPak and Ellie are well acquainted so Laura was easily able to help Jason find the right bridle in the right size. The most amazing part is that they both somehow kept it a secret from me. I opened that box on Christmas morning and smelled the leather before I tore through the tissue paper. I thought, leather jacket? Wrong…so much better! Jason earned serious brownie points for that gift!”

Our Top Pick: Harwich Padded Fancy Stitch Bridle by SmartPak – With an innovative padded comfort crown, this bridle not only looks great, it’s comfortable for your horse.


The Gift that Made the Memory:
Treats

Team Member: Laura, Web Marketing

The Memory: “My favorite memory was always going around the barn on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, giving all the horses candy canes and peppermints. (Before I could drive I would make my parents stop by on our way to wherever we were going.) It was always so quiet and peaceful, and the horses loved it, obviously! I also loved getting stockings for the horses and keeping them full of treats.”

Our Top Pick: Paddock Cake Treats – These delicious, chewy treats are handmade because your horse deserves the best! Choose the peppermint flavor for a sweet holiday treat.


The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Stall Sign

Team Member: Sam, Customer Care

The Memory: “As you can imagine, all I EVER wanted for Christmas was a pony. That is literally ALL I ever asked for each and every year. You can imagine my excitement one Christmas morning when I woke up to noise in my dad’s garage. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I was only seven years old at the time. I walked out to find a stall homemade out of plywood. I could not believe my eyes. Santa had brought me a 4-year-old, gorgeous welsh cob mare named Apryl’s Pendance (not sure what Santa was thinking bringing a young green pony…). There was even a gorgeous engraved stall nameplate – I’ll never forget how magical it all felt. I was beyond delighted to see, smell, and touch this gorgeous creature in my own backyard. Best Christmas ever!”

Our Top Pick: Stall Nameplate – No stall is complete without an engraved nameplate.


The Gift that Made the Memory: Tall Boots

Team Member: Susan, Barn Programs

The Memory: “I have the most vivid memory of my parents giving me a pair of tall field boots one year for Christmas. I remember every detail so clearly. I’d just started taking lessons again as a freshman in college, and the whole family was gathered in the living room, even Amos, our basset hound. I literally cried when I opened them – they were shiny and black and perfect. I was so touched that my mom knew how badly I needed boots, even though I never would ask for them.”

Our Top Pick: Tredstep da Vinci Field Boots – Classic design meets modern performance in these gorgeous and ultra-comfortable boots.


The Gift that Made the Memory: A Pony

Team Member: Liz, Customer Care

The Memory: “When I was 13 years old my parents and I were searching for a new pony. We finally found the perfect guy for me, but it was already late November and my parents really hoped to have him home in time for Christmas. Sure enough, he was in our barn by mid December. I named him Justintime because I got him ‘just in time’ for Christmas!”

Our Top Pick: A SmartPak Gift Certificate – If you know someone who got a new horse or pony, you know they’re going to need a lot of new gear. Help them get exactly what they want – let them pick it out!


The Gift that Made the Memory:
A Carriage Ride

Team Member: Brett, SmartPak Pharmacy

The Memory: “I was telling my fiancé, Anthony, that in my 24 years of living, I’ve never been on a carriage ride before. Crazy since I have been riding and competing with horses for over 15 years! Last Christmas, he surprised me! He drove me into Boston’s North End on Christmas Eve for what he said was a nice dinner. After we got out of the car, a white horse & carriage pulled up! They had roses, champagne and a blanket. They took us on a carriage ride all over Boston and it started to snow. It was picture perfect!”

The Gift that Made the Memory:
We can’t describe it, you have to read her story!

Team Member: Alexa, Assistant Store Manager

The Memory: “As a child, we often spent our Christmas Holidays with my grandparents in South Carolina. Every year, without fail, I (like every other young girl) asked Santa for a pony. As I got older, that request was redirected to my parents and a instead of a pony I was hoping for a horse. One Christmas, my cousin, who was showing on the QH circuit at the time, was showered with horse related gifts – show halters, bridles, saddles and all the accessories – you name it, it was under the tree with her name on it. As the day wore on it became ever more apparent that another year was going to go by without a horse under the tree. When we were through opening gifts, I opened the front door for some fresh air and there, standing on the front lawn were 3 beautiful horses. Of course, I assumed there was one for myself, one for my sister and one for my cousin, and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was. I ran back inside, shouting thank you and throwing hugs. I quickly grabbed all the horsey related tack my cousin had acquired and ran back outside to catch the horses. You should have seen the looks on my family’s face – they were as shocked as I was – they hadn’t bought any one of us a horse! It turned out, the three rascals standing in the front yard had escaped from the farm up the street and stopped in our yard for a quick bite of grass.”


Want more gift ideas? Check out the SmartPak Gift Guide! We’ve got gifts for everyone on your list, from your trainer to your horse, with prices for every budget!

Posted in Stories & Adventures

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7 comments on “Gifts that Make Memories
  1. Hi, this is a great post! Thanks..

  2. myhorsestride says:

    These stories are so amazing!!! I want my own horse so badly :)

  3. Eve says:

    That last story with the 3 horses was just so sad. Funny but sad. I can only imagine the disappointment after finding out that none of the horses were Christmas presents.

  4. f0xldy says:

    We’re all in this crazy horse club together so of course it was great to read each and every story! My earliest favorite memory of a horse at Christmas was a black china horse sticking out of my stocking…I was only maybe 5 or 6 but just the fact that Santa had answered ANY attempt to “bring me a horse” suited me! This one is still in my collection and obviously cherished! I can still remember first seeing it and how in love I was!

  5. anna oaks says:

    when i was 5 years old i was taken out of my home to be placed in another. i was being badly abused, and needed to be in another place so i could learn that not all people are bad. i love horses, and dogs. they were my life! as i spent time with my new family, it became apparent to them that my heart was closed. that’s when my new mother asked me if i could feel her love that she had for me.. i told her “no”. this was sad and heart breaking for both me and my mother. as time went on they had come to realize that i was not about to give up on wanting to have a horse. with the low income we had at the time, it was not possible. on my 6th birthday, (which is Christmas day), i was given the best gift i could have! i got a stick horse! he was a golden sorrel color with a strip of white on it’s head. i named him Goldy! oh how he shined a golden color in the light! he was my best friend! because school was out for Christmas vacation i road him 24/7, but just a few days before school started again i had a tragic experience. my little Goldy had his cane break in 3 places and in addition his head tore that held the base of the cane firmly into his head. i had my heart brake in more pieces then my Goldy was. for days i cried. school started again and the winter break was over, so still crying, i had to be send to school. when i came home after school i was still in tears. my parents had a funny smile on their faces that i could not under stand. thats when they turned to me and said they had something for me in the garage. as i walked over still sniffling, my dad handed my Goldy to me. my dear mother had spent all that day sewing by hand my little stick horse. she wanted to repair it for me because that was the stick horse i loved. my dad had spent all that day working in the garage. he had cut a long pole from an old broom stick to make for a cane, carefully measuring it to the height i wound need. he also found some wood and made a plaque to be fitted into the bottom of the my stick horse’s head. both my mother and father made sure it was never going to break again, because they knew i loved it. when i saw and heard all of this i was overjoyed!! i was so happy, i hopped onto my little Goldy’s back, better and stronger then ever to go for a lighting ride up and down my parent hallway, even though “NO RUNNING” upstairs was a rule we should not break. my parents were happy and laughing seeing the joy and excitement on my face, thats when i felt a change in my little closed up heart. i realized they had just spent many hours, working to repair a badly broken little toy they were never going to use. they could have bough a new one, would have been less work and maybe even easier to do. they repaired this toy because i loved it, but mostly, because THEY LOVED ME!!! my heart opened to the love they had for me, i still and even now can feel my wonderful parents love that they have for me and know, they want me to be happy. it will be 20 years this Christmas since i was given my little stick horse. with tufts of hair being worn of and looking kinda sad, i still have my little Goldy. so to this day when i look at him all scruffy, i smile and remember the most valuable lesson i could have ever learned. i learned how to give and receive love. i am glad my wonderful parents gave him to me, i will cherish him for the rest of my life. this is the beautiful memory of my lifetime!i love because my parents showed my how, and i laugh, because that darned old stick horse has not been broke or fallen apart since!!!

  6. Joslin Pezalla says:

    what pretty horses you have. and the breeds are outstanding

  7. Cindi Moravec says:

    Thank you Smartpak for this holiday post. My heart is full after reading these stories. My favorite was Veronica and Buster’s letter to Santa. So sweet, what special parents.

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Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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