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The 5 things on any equine enthusiast’s 2015 Christmas wish list

What will be in your horse's stocking this year?

December 25 is nearly upon us, which means two things. On the one had, it's a time of togetherness and love, when far-flung families meet up and even strangers greet you with the familiarity and cheer of an old friend. On the other hand, it also means having to rush around like a headless chicken finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

If the clothes make the man, the show rug makes the horse.

It's not just your human friends who will need to be pampered. Your cantering companions should also experience a little Christmas cheer. To make the job a little easier, here are five horse products you might want to consider for your horse's stocking.

1. A brand new show rug

If the clothes make the man, the show rug makes the horse. You might already know your horse is a champion, but you'll want it to look like one too. Whether you haven't got one, or your horse's old show rug is starting to look tatty, spoil your horse with a new, beautiful, custom-tailored show rug that will help it stand out in competitions.

Remember, there's an equine health aspect to this, too: A horse rug in general will protect your horse from being battered by the elements. There are a variety out there, such as the generic turnout rug or the stable rug, but if you don't mind spending a little extra, you could buy a New Zealand rug, made from wool and shipped over from the Pacific country itself.

2. A fun new toy

It's not easy being a horse. Spending countless hours in a stable, particularly on one's own, could drive anyone a little crazy. Cooped up horses without entertainment or companions can develop behavioral tics like stall-walking, head-shaking and wood-chewing, according to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

A toy such as a large horse ball or jolly ball can do wonders to alleviate this boredom, inside and outside the stall. One need only look at a video of a horse playing with one of these toys to see how true this is.

3. A bit warmer

We're all familiar with the terrible feeling of putting on cold clothes in the dead of winter. Spare a thought for your horse, who has to bite onto a freezing, metallic bit every time you take it for a ride in the colder months.

A bit warmer can be a useful item that will improve your horse's comfort when the mercury drops. There are countless types, from corded models that are constantly heated, to the more common cordless versions that require you to put a heat pack in the microwave before applying it to the bit.

4. Beauty products

Christmastime should give you the leeway to spend on horse supplies that you might not otherwise buy, but would make for a pleasant treat. If yours is not a show horse, for instance, you might ordinarily pass on buying the kinds of beauty products that get a steed looking sharp for a show.

Treat your horse this Christmas. Buy a new brush to whip that mane into shape, or get yourself some high foaming shampoo to give your horse healthier skin.

5. Your horse's favorite nibble

Whether it's money or concern about keeping your equine in shape, you might not always buy your horse its favorite tasty treat. But it's Christmas! This one time of the year, you can afford – literally and figuratively – to go out and nab the biggest bag you can of the treat your horse loves best. And don't be stingy – give it a couple extra goodies on Christmas morning.

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