Three Presents Your Thoroughbred Wants. No. Requires.


Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas in your personal life, studies show that 73% of American horse-owners take pictures of their horse wearing a humiliating piece of headwear (including, but not limited to, Santa hats, elf hats, or reindeer antlers) and a whopping 97% of American horse-owners buy their horses Christmas presents. What studies? STUDIES, STUDIES! I don’t have to source my material, this is a blog.

Horses in hats

The most amazing thing about this image is that it came from MYSPACE.

Anyway, as you would know if you were sitting in my apartment and had observed my undecorated pine tree that has been sitting next to my desk for five days (nothing to see here, just a random pine tree in an apartment), I celebrate a very merry secular Christmas and I have been lamenting the loss of my hang-over-one-ear equine Santa Claus stocking cap for about a week now. I need another one. Where in New York City does one acquire horse hats?

In keeping with the collision of the spirit of the season and the spirit of horsemanship, horse presents are more important than people presents. Horses get their presents first, just like horses get their breakfast first. Break out the organic carrots! Unwrap the sweet-feed-cupcakes! Hang the sleigh bells from the stall door that will annoy everyone else in the barn every time you open it! It’s Christmas in the barn!

Discriminating Thoroughbreds, now, won’t stand for just any kind of gift. These are blood horses, people. They are descended from royalty. Their pedigrees go back further than yours, that’s for sure. What are you going to buy to impress that special retired racehorse in your life?

Here are three recommendations your Thoroughbred wanted me to tell you about. These are just things I like: I didn’t get paid or get a free sample (but my ears are pricked if anyone is looking for a celebrity spokeswoman).

A Quillins Halter

Quillins track halter

From the Homeland: A Quillin's halter is hand-made in Paris, Kentucky.

The Quillins halter is The Thoroughbred halter. The track halter is a triple-stitched work of art, but the turn-out halter is beautiful, economical, and great for around the farm, as well. I only use leather halters, and I only use leather halters with brass nameplates, and I only buy them from Quillins. One of my favorite things? The distinctive Roman font on the nameplates. You can always tell a Quillins halter.

The Tapestry Neck Strap from Spursuader

Spursuader's neck strap

Spursuader's ingenious, purpose-made neck strap keeps your horse looking good... with you on top.

You know what looks great on your horse? YOU! So fall off less with a neck strap. We’ve discussed the magic and mystery of neck straps here at Retired Racehorse before: they are like the safety bars in roller coasters (that’s the magic) and they’re impossible to find in any retail store (that’s the mystery). Stirrup leathers… well, you can use a stirrup leather, but it’s awfully wide and hard to grip.

The Tapestry Neck Strap is purpose-made, has elastic insets for a little extra give (which could come in handy if it might otherwise get wrenched from your grasp!) and comes with a d-ring for braiding it into the mane, if that’s your bag.

The OTTB Designs Saddle Pad

OTTB Designs saddle pad

This is a must-have. You may want an extra for emergencies.

File this under: Things You Should Already Have. The OTTB Designs saddle pad is the perfect answer to all those confused people asking you “What sort of amazingly beautiful horse IS this?” Instead, they will ask you, “What the hell does OTTB mean?” And you can educate them. Because you’re an ambassador of Thoroughbred goodness, bringing the good news to the masses: OTTBs rock the party.



Filed under Buying Horse Things

10 responses to “Three Presents Your Thoroughbred Wants. No. Requires.

  1. Quillins halters are the ONLY halter as far as I’m concerned. Gorgeous and so well made, and so well priced. Seriously the best ever. I’ve even got the collars for my dogs and the belts on the waist of any person on my gift list. The pad, well thats a given, a MUST HAVE item for the OTTB lover. The neck strap however, I will be purchasing this year for my “spirited” child, Man That Alarm. Jusssssstttttttt in case I need it. Thanks as always nat for your sage words of wisdom, and always happy to see that great OTTB minds think alike!

    • Isn’t the neck strap great? Remember when we were looking for these, last year or the year before? I love the elastic inset. I have to admit I don’t know that I’d braid it in, because I might want it to travel up and down the neck with me, but I like the idea and I can see why some people might want to do that.

      I have a Quillins halter hanging from my bookshelf 🙂 It’s a broodmare halter for a very gallant old mare.

  2. Where was that neckstrap oh, say about a year and 7 months ago? And yeah, I should already have an OTTB Designs Saddle pad but I have only just begun my English/dressage style career.

    The halter, hm.

    Calabar’s list is growing by the moment.

  3. Kitster

    Those Halters are the best! OTTB Designs makes the best pads, My horse never leaves home without one. Don’t understand the neck strap though, if you need one of those you shouldn’t be riding an OTTB!

    • Hey, no knocking neck straps! Those of us who used to gallop racehorses LOVE them! And they’re useful for field and cross-country riding!

    • Kitster, the Tapestry Neckstrap is a great tool for kids learning to ride and jump. They can hold on to the neckstrap and not balance on the horses/ponies mouth. My daughter loves hers’ especially when she rides bareback out on the trails – she’s got something to hold on to just in case! It’s a great visual tool to help riders with hand placement. You’ve got Olympians like William Fox-Pitt and Hawley Bennet that ride cross country with one all the time.

  4. TBDancer

    All of your gift ideas are SUPER. Neck straps are SO much better than the grab strap on a saddle–and I have one of the OTTB saddle pads and love ALL their stuff. Quillens halters are the BEST and I must dress up my OTTB’s wardrobe–he got a new turnout sheet (no filling) for winters like we’re having here in the Mojave Desert–coolish nights but near 70 during the day. If the wind blows, that puts the temps into the low 60s. And he’s not body clipped this winter.

    I love gift guides ;o)

  5. Just stumbled upon your website!
    I looooove it!!!

    I, too, am a proud owner of an almost 5yr old OTTB mare, I Say Glitter.
    I absolutely love her temperament and her sweet innocent face!
    We didn’t get to ride much this year due to a bowed tendon in early spring, thus the reason she no longer races.

    I am excited to get the ‘all clear’ to begin serious riding in the spring!!!

    Once again, I love your website!