Somewhere along the way, it became impossible to shop for Christmas in my family. One of us would see what we wanted, and then we’d just buy it, with no thought to how difficult we’d make life for our loved ones come the holidays. It doesn’t help that we have such specialized sports and interests, and picky tastes. However, if I say so myself, being an equestrian makes buying gifts a lot more easy because there’s no shortage of things we need. And want. And omg-I-have-to-have-it. Here are those things for 2016.


The Obvious


Let’s get the foremost item out of the way first. It doesn’t matter if we have zero ponies, or three, an equestrian is always going to want more ponies. I’m one of the incredibly lucky ones that has gotten a pony (ok, really a 17.1 hand jumper… so definitely not a pony) for Christmas, and all I can say is #worthit.


Christmas, 2001. All that’s missing is the bow. Somehow, I managed to get chaps over those jeans, too.


This particular gift takes a lot of coordination with your trainer, your vet, and your equestrian, so it’s not really a great surprise per se, but a horse for the holidays is the ultimate gift.


For the rest of us, there’s no shortage of – ahem – more affordable options.


The Trend Setter


Does your rider always manage to show up to the barn or a competition wearing something, and then a month later, you see everyone else wearing it around, too? These are the gifts that will instantly be trotted out.


I saw this new company called ColorTACK over on Sport Horse Lifestyle the other day and the urge for bronze stirrups is strong. Spurs in every color? They have that too. Oh, the possibilities!


Don’t be fooled by the fact that G/Fore is a golf company. Their gloves are so soft and come in every color imaginable.


Available here:


The Hacked Horse is all about making sure you know what’s happening on the Colorado circuit first. Every trendsetter needs one of our logo t-shirts first, then.


Available right here, December 8.


If there aren’t pics, or video, it didn’t happen. A Cambox Helmet Cam is the perfect gift to capture all those in-the-saddle moments.


There are even ones with crystals over on the website, to match her Samshield. Available here:


The Practical Horseman


There are plenty of things that every rider needs. Things break, wear out, or run out. Here are the items everyone has to have, with some detailing that make them perfect for gift giving.


All I care about is horses and cupcakes, but I need 3 wines, 6 horses, and like 12 million dollars. The adorable t-shirts over at 20×60 are perfect for weekend hacks, and running errands after.

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Get them here: https://shop.20×


I have a lot of thoughts on socks. They should be comfortable, not too thick, and also hold up to hours under a tallboot. Socks should also be fun. Stuff their stockings with these snappy options:


Lots of other hilarious socks at




Who doesn’t love a spa day? Gifts that will clean and soothe after a long day of competition are pretty and practical.


Coat spray, lip balm, or heal quick balms at


Sometimes all you want is beautiful tack, and halters shouldn’t be an exception. More than utilitarian, the Vienna padded leather halter, also over at 20×60, fits the bill.


Oh-so-gorg https://shop.20×


The Traditionalist


Leave the flashy colors, and pay homage to the roots of our sport with these gift options for someone who likes updated classics.


Personally, I could get lost in Cindy Lay’s Exceptional Equestrian rabbit hole of lovely things. The FITS Kallie knee patch breech at ExEq has some great detailing without being over-the-top.



Order these from


We tend to carry around a lot of stuff at shows, and in general. A bag that is useful is nice. A bag that’s useful and stylish is perfect.


Orange Bits Zipper tote at Paul and Lydia:


If pink spurs aren’t exactly what you can picture gift-receiver wearing, but they’ve wanted a unique touch to their everyday wear, Mane Jane spur straps are a must. I mean, just look at these.





That’s it and happy shopping! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some things to go buy.




January 7, 2017

The Denver Radisson Southeast

3155 S. Vaughn Way

Aurora, CO 80014

TICKET PRICES are $52.00 (cash bar)

Check in starts at 5:30pm with Hors d’oeuvres and Dinner during the extended cocktail hour featuring the CHJF Silent Auction. Call to tables will be at 7:45pm with Dessert served at the tables when the awards begin at 8pm.

Food Stations will include Appetizers and Dinner.

Brie with Crackers and Fruit, Smoked Salmon Mouse and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms. Cheese Raviolis with tomato sauce, Garlic Pierced Prime Rib, Roasted Turkey, with potato wedges, grilled vegetables, and a Spinach Salad.


Any questions please contact Franci at 303-570-4402


RSVP DEADLINE is December 22th, 2016

This year marked a new experience for my daughter, Katie, her horse Rock Star, aka Caspian, and me.  Katie’s performance at Regionals qualified her for the 2016 ASPCA Maclay Finals in Kentucky.  So many junior riders today dream of qualifying to compete at Finals, whether it is in the USET, Pessoa, Maclay, or Washington, but the road to Finals is long.


Besides the difficulty of qualifying, the decision to go was almost as difficult. So many things were factored in to making our decision: the financial expense, the pressure, whether to take our very green horse, and Katie missing school being just a few of the concerns.  Ultimately, we decided to make the trek out to the Kentucky Horse Park to see how things worked at the Maclay Finals.


To say that just getting to compete was the experience of a lifetime would be an understatement.  So many kids show all year, trying to qualify for the Finals, and still will never have the opportunity to get there.  Katie took her young horse, knowing it would be a learning experience for both of them, rather than leasing a horse that was seasoned and already there.  Neither of us regret that choice.  Both Katie and Caspian learned a lot.  The Finals did not go as well as Katie would have liked, we all learned so many things for the future, making the trip worth every penny we spent.


I took a moment when I returned to highlight just some of the things I learned while I was there, in hopes that we will return next year.


  1. While every big-name rider/trainer in the business was at this show, they all have to put their pants on one leg at a time.  Everyone we met was friendly and professional.
  2. The Kentucky Horse Park was a fantastic place to horse show.  I would go back anytime, but next time I am bringing my own horse to ride around on the show grounds.  I was very jealous when the kids got to hack out on the cross-country course.
  3. I should have been in the race horse business.  The thoroughbred industry in Lexington was beyond amazing.  The thoroughbred farms and Keeneland Race Track were showplaces.  We were lucky enough to get to look at some famous stallions and Hill and Dale. What an amazing experience – I’m so glad we took the time to explore outside of the horse show.
  4. The riding times for the kids at the Maclay brought back memories of competing at the Stock Show when the schooling times were crazy.  Schooling at five in the morning, then riding again at ten or eleven at night is hard for everyone, including the horses.
  5. The pressure of  was tough.  I have stood at the in-gate at competitions ranging from schooling shows to IEA and IHSA Nationals.  Nothing compared to the intensity of standing there looking at that course as my child walked through the in-gate.
  6. I think I learned more from hanging out in the warm-up ring and watching other professionals ride and teach than anywhere else I have been.  To say we are isolated in Colorado is a true statement.  As trainers, we need to work harder for more opportunities to learn. I brought back a plethora of exercises to set at home and told my riders to be prepared! We have set a few already and I am seeing a huge improvement in our work at home.
  7. We absolutely need to push our equitation riders by challenging them with tougher and more technical courses daily, both at home and at the shows.  What we see here locally is not enough to prepare our riders for other opportunities.


Although it took me a few days to recover, I have to say I would do it all over again.  I know that Katie is already planning (and hoping) for a trip back for next year, and working on plans for her collegiate riding career.  I have come home with a lot of ideas to help improve my program and to push our CHJA riders into the next generation of competition.


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USHJA Expands Jumper Championships to 1.20/1.25m and 1.30/1.35m Junior and Amateur Jumper Competitors


After four successful years, the United States Hunter Jumper Association is expanding its Children’s and Adult Amateur Jumper Championships to include 1.20/1.25m Junior and Amateur Jumper, as well as 1.30/1.35m Junior and Amateur Jumper sections across the country. This Nations Cup-style format offers competitors experience that could otherwise only be gained through high-performance show jumping competition.

Riders must apply and qualify for the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, which provide them with a competitive team experience and an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year points in their respective jumper sections.

Our zone will be paired with Zone 7, and we will share more information about our specific championships soon.

USHJA will open rider applications by February 2017. Interested riders must complete an application by May 1 and earn a minimum of 20 points (or $20 money won) in their respective sections at USEF-licensed competitions held at the designated fence heights prior to June 1. After the initial point deadline, riders continue to accumulate points, which are used to determine their placement on a team for the Championships, until 60 days prior to the date of their zone’s championships. For more information

Welcome 2017 Zone Committee Members!

The USHJA is pleased to welcome and introduce the new Zone 8 Committee that was recently seated. Committee members will serve our zone from December 2016 to November 2020.

New Zone 8 Committee Members

Chair Tracye Ferguson

Vice Chair Laurie Grayson

Treasurer Jenny Paisley

JJ Atkinson

Betty Beran

Nancy Britt

Betsy Checchia

Chris Collman

Cindy Cruciotti

Michael Dennehy

Lisa Hooper

Beth Nielsen

Danine Summers

Allison Wicks-Swift

Committees are made up of six members elected by the Zone 8 membership, four members from the top four affiliate organizations in each zone and five presidential appointments. Thank you to all our members who helped elect new committee members!

USHJA extends a special thank you to the members who have served on the Zone 8 Committee for their service and commitment. Their efforts have brought about a positive change for the USHJA and the hunter/jumper industry as a whole. Without dedicated volunteers, the USHJA and the sport cannot advance.

For more information about the election process, visit

Fast Forward To Now

By : Jessie Koerner

For the past 20 years, my brother has been a sponsored runner. I’ve always envied the technical fabrics, Gore-Tex and sweat-wicking shirts, especially on summer days (remember riding in Jean shorts and chaps? Just me?). While I definitely took advantage of the discounted products he got, I just couldn’t understand why our sport was stuck in the Stone Age of wool and polyester. Runners’ styles are very…er… different from our own.

Fast forward to now, and we have *finally* caught up. Not only do we get sport centric fabric and materials, but it pays homage to the traditional and beautiful look none of us want to give up. Maybe it’s just me, but I love the respect we pay our sport with our dress; it drives me nuts to see other sports players and coaches on the sidelines wearing torn up sweats.

Some of my favorite items for hacking include must-have ice fill shirts, and the long sleeve Asmar tees. I drool over the easy-to-layer or wear alone Cavalliera lace polos that @zintapolo always wears on her Instagram. In Colorado, we’ve got to be able to layer up or down, sometimes  in the same ride. Fior Da Liso sweaters, with their pretty details are so easy for after work hacks or early morning schooling rings.


SmartPak Piper breeches and Horseware’s Nina breech are all I wear these days (sorry Tailored Sportsman). If I could afford Le Fash’s City Breech, I’d probably wear those every day.


LeFash City Breech

Which brings me to the point: being an equestrian is expensive as hell, so how do you look the part without fully committing to a liquid diet after the Ramen noodle budget dries up? I love our local vendors, but sometimes my paycheck cries when I check the price tag.


Here are some tips from a cheap-ass rider: 


1) Patience, grasshoppers.

Boot laces (and sometimes zippers…) break, gloves get holes, and an emergency trip to the tack store or on-location trailer is necessary. But blankets, sheets, show shirts, and other lovely things we covet require planning ahead. There are great sales to be had, even in the horse world, the trick is knowing when to buy, and where to buy. Blankets and sheets are least expensive at the end of the season when you need them. In Colorado, that means watching the Weather Channel for what happens in normal states, but typically around March or April while we’re getting pummeled, vendors across the country are seeing birds chirping and flowers sprouting. Fly sheets go on deep discount end of August/September. Foxcreek has their annual 20% off sale every spring. Dover’s tent sale is in July. Exceptional Equestrian always has some sort of sale rack with amazing things. The trick is stocking up when you can save big. That way you can budget for a full-price sheet, then when you score on-sale stuff, you can add some gloves or new socks to the cart.


2) My mama told me “you better shop around”

I know, I know, you see something gorgeous and you have to have it. But that’s a good way to only buy one thing you covet when you could get more. Some of my favorite people at my favorite stores (ExEq, Foxcreek) will price match – keep that in mind before you fill in your shipping information. If you simply spend some time Googling while you’re in line at Wild Willy’s instead of just checking the usual websites you remember, you can save a ton of money. I ordered a German martingale from a store having a closeout in North Carolina for literally $200 less than I would have spent anywhere else. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes the difference is free shipping (recommended when local dealers don’t have what you need). But hey, $7 saved in shipping is $7 you can spend on a Frito pie!


3) I’m only going to say this once: Never pay for shipping

Seriously. Paying for shipping is cray. If the retailer doesn’t offer it off the bat, search or the Google machine for coupon codes. If, like our dear friends at Dover whom I love and adore but abhor their shipping policy, they charge by how much you spend… run. There is no reason to ever pay $15 shipping for a $150 shirt. It’s a shirt. That’s insane. If you’re accessible to Dover in Parker, you can go in and they’ll ship it for you for free. Again, this may take some planning on when you’ll be at the Horse Park showing. Otherwise, Google, Google, Google. Just don’t pay for shipping.


4) Sign up for email lists

Some places will give you a 10-15% discount for your first purchase. Others will send email-list only sale notifications. I know, they’re irritating because most of the time you just end up deleting them every damn day. But when you get that notification that Piper breeches are 25% off at SmartPak this weekend only? That’s some serious heart-in-throat shopping excitement.

Sometimes the savings will only be a few dollars. Sometimes, it’ll be like the Beval spring clearance sale and you’ll get a Rambo blanket for $70; or you’ll waffle on the decision too long and someone else will get that Rambo blanket for $70, but that’s not the point. Things are expensive. We should support our local businesses. But sometimes it’s not always possible to hand over the credit card, guilt free, and buy that gorgeous Fior da Liso button down full price.