Ultimate gift guide for the adventurous equestrian in your life – With Christmas around the corner, we’ve put together the top 20 gifts for horse riders who love adventure.
Looking for the perfect gift for the adventurous equestrian in your life? Your spouse, your sibling, your best friend, or yourself (you deserve it!) We’re excited to share our ultimate gift guide for intrepid horse riders, whether they’ve already booked their bucket-list horse riding holiday, or still looking for their next equestrian adventure. This gift guide covers everything, from stocking stuffers to the ultimate splurge-worthy present for your favourite human. While many of these gifts are based on our highly addictive horse safaris in Africa, they are perfect for any equestrian adventure. 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone – here are a few gift ideas to make sure that 2021 is year filled with epic adventures in the saddle!
Voucher for their upcoming Africa Horse Safari adventure – Money might not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy adventure! This is the perfect gift for your horse-crazy loved one (or even yourself) Our vouchers can be used on any of our incredible horse safaris or horse-riding holidays across Africa. It gives the recipient the ultimate freedom; they decide which ride they want to tick off their bucket list and when they want to travel, and we’ll make it a reality! CLICK HERE
Vouchers for Canvas Prints / Photo Books – the only downside with taking a million photos is that they always end up on a cloud somewhere. How about giving a voucher towards printing out a canvas or photo-book that can be displayed at home – reminding them of their past adventures and inspiring more.
GIFTS TO WEAR ON THEIR NEXT HORSE-RIDING HOLIDAY
Funky riding socks – going on safari means neutral colours to blend into the bush. While it may be practical, we know that everyone loves to add a splash of colour and personality to their outfit. Riding socks are always a winning stocking stuffer or smaller gift. Pick socks with natural fibres such as bamboo, cotton or wool which are super comfy, long-wearing, naturally odourless, and above all, fun!
Buff – these are incredibly functional for any safari (and a must for while Covid still lingers) They keep you warm on chilly mornings, protect your neck from the African sun and keep the dust out of your mouth when you’re grinning from ear to ear during an epic desert canter. (Bonus: if you buy an African Horse Safaris voucher over £500, we’ll gift you one of our branded buffs to use on your next trip!)
Hat / Cap – with an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day, a hat is an essential travel item for any trip to Africa. This is also something you can have a bit of fun with, getting something that fits their personality but is practical too (it also hides the riding helmet hair!) If you get a fedora or sunhat style, remember they will likely need to wear it on the plane. A bonus is being able to squash it into a backpack without it losing shape.
Kikoi – if you don’t already have one of these in your cupboard, add it to the top of your own Christmas Wishlist. These are traditional colourful East African cotton sarongs which are incredibly versatile – they can be used as a towel, beach wrap, or scarf. Plus they are the coverup for a post-lunch siesta in the shade.
Base Layers / Outdoor Shirts –there are a few key elements to think about here: style, fabric and colour. Some riders love fitted base layers while others prefer the looser fit of a button-up shirt. We recommend long sleeves and collars, which add extra sun protection plus give that authentic cowgirl flair. Go for natural or technical fabrics that breathe, are easy wearing, don’t absorb smells and dry quickly – UV protection is a bonus. When choosing clothing specifically for safari, pick neutrals such as shades of greens, creams, browns, greys and blues. If you’re not sure they’ll love it – buy a gift voucher instead and make a day of the shopping experience. Brands we love: Ariat, Asmar Equestrian, Aztec Diamond, Le Mieux, Equestrian Stockholm, Columbia, Orvis, The Safari Store etc.
Riding Jodhpurs / Breeches or Riding Tights – this is a more personal one and you’ll need to get the sizing right for these, or at least know the return policy. While many riders still prefer riding in traditional jodhpurs or breeches, riding tights have become super popular recently. They tend to be thinner material which is great for warmer weather and often have a handy thigh pocket. However, they might not be as long-wearing as breeches. Think neutral colours like beige, browns, greens, blues, greys, and black but more importantly, buy these a few months in advance so they have time to wear them in and give them a few good washes before heading out on safari. Brands we love: Ariat, Asmar Equestrian, Aztec Diamond, Le Mieux, Equestrian Stockholm, Dublin, Kerrits, TuffRider, Iredeon, etc.
Seat Saver – many rides will already provide these, but if your equestrian friend is heading out on an epic expedition ride, they might be very grateful to have their own. Fleece or sheepskin seat savers add an extra layer of comfort and are a great choice for long days in the saddle – they’ll be eternally grateful if they are heading out on a multi-day horseback adventure.
ODDS AND ENDS FOR THEIR HORSE-RIDING ADVENTURE
Diary – it’s amazing how quickly a week in the bush flies by! Taking the time to write down the highlights of their day will help keep them grounded in the moment and ensures they capture all those little details. A diary is also a great place to write down contact details for newfound friends and campfire recipes to recreate back home.
Reusable water bottle – We highly recommend travelling with a refillable water bottle to reduce plastic bottle waste when travelling, whether you’re heading out for a week of riding, hiking, mountain biking or just walking around a new city. For horse riding, we recommend insulated metal or BPA free plastic bottles that can be opened with one hand, are easy to drink out of on the move and conveniently slip into a saddlebag. There are some great eco-friendly and sustainable bottles on the market which last for years.
Books / Kindle / Audible Subscription – A good book goes hand-in-hand with an African Horse Safari. Whether it acts to whet the appetite and build excitement before you set out on your adventure; pass the time in the airport or enjoy in those quiet moments when you have stepped down from the saddle and are absorbing the serenity of the African bush. While one of our favourites will always be One Hundred and Four Horses, you can find a few more great reads in our Top 11 Books for your African Horse Safari blog.
Pop sockets / Phone ring/grip/loop – While on safari, about 90% of photos are taken with a rider’s phone, so the last thing they will want to do is drop it mid-canter. Anyone that has been on horseback knows that it’s a bit of an art taking good photos with the reins in one hand and your phone in the other. These cheap little gadgets help keep your phone safe and make it easy to keep your it stable for epic between the ears pictures and videos. Some can also act as a mini tripod for those group photos around the swimming pool or to capture the perfect sundowner shot.
Microfibre Towel – these are brilliant for any adventure and are something that we all have in our travel kits. They take up the same amount of space as a pair of socks, dry quickly and come in some funky colours. While not necessary for a lodge-based ride, they are great for point to point riding holidays or if they plan on extending the trip to include other destinations such as Victoria Falls or Cape Town.
GADGETS FOR A HORSE-RIDING HOLIDAY
Head Lamp – if they’re planning on heading out on one of our epic expeditions, then this is a must-pack item. A headlamp comes in handy when you’re sleeping out under the stars and the loo is a short walk away. It’s also really reassuring to have next to your bed if you wake up a little disorientated at night especially if this is your first adventure to Africa.
Power Bank – While lodges come with the normal mod-cons you’re used to at home, many camps run on solar power or generators so there aren’t always charging points in induvial tents or rooms. There might be charging points in the communal areas, or in the case of a mobile safari, phones and cameras can be charged in the vehicles. This is where having a Power Bank comes in, it can be charged in the communal area/vehicle and generally holds 2-4 charges for your devices to make sure they’re always ready to capture those perfect moments.
Stick for GoPro / Gimbal – If they already have a Go Pro (or if you’re ready to splurge on one for them!) how about gifting them a stick or gimbal to help with their photography? These are brilliant to ride with (if they’ve used them before!) and can capture some great angles while filming on horseback. Plus they can be used for loads of other future adventures, so are worth the investment.
PACKING AND TRAVELLING ACCESSORIES
Moon bag / Bum Bag / Fanny Pack – whatever you want to call it, these are a great addition to any riders’ wardrobe (we’re pretty chuffed they came back into fashion!) While most saddles have fitted saddlebags, having a small bag on your waist means you have a convenient pouch for your phone and any small items such as lip balm, tissues and eye drops that come in handy when you’re spending hours in the saddle.
Luggage Tag / Accessories – a luggage tag might be a small thing, but it makes life a lot easier when you’re travelling to a foreign country, especially when flying solo. Luggage tags make bags easily identifiable at the airport carousel, cutting down the time you nervously look around waiting for your bag to appear and means getting out of the airport quicker. We also highly recommend having locks to secure luggage and avoid it being tampered with en-route to their safari destination – there’s nothing like losing your favourite pair of jods en-route.
Waterproof bags / Dry sack – these little wonders are essential for any outdoor adventure and come in a variety of sizes and colours. We often use a bigger dry sack for our DSLR camera, while a small one is useful for keeping smartphones and other valuables dry and secure during travel. They also protect your phone and essentials when you’re enjoying a splashy canter in the Okavango Delta, swimming on horseback in Mozambique, or riding in the Summer months when you may have the odd downpour.
Oh there are so many more incredible gifts out there but we narrowed it down to just 20 (for now!) We’ll be adding some more ideas along the way and if you have any must-have travel accessories for the horse safari enthusiast, pop me an email at [email protected] with the subject “Gift Guide” and we’ll add it to the list.
See you in Africa – The AHS Team