Nobody rides for the awards, but everyone appreciates them. Coming up with the right idea at the right price is an ongoing challenge. I plumbed years' worth of discussions on social media to learn about riders' favorites. Here are 91 ideas, from old standbys to the downright bizarre, to get your juices flowing.
These days, it's easier than ever to have your ride logo embroidered, engraved, or printed on just about anything. Riders love a "branded" award that keeps the happy memories alive. For bonus points, include the date and location -- bearing in mind, of course, that doing so could limit carryover of extras to next year. Riders cited these items among their favorites:
In reviewing years' worth of comments on the subject, I reached the [decidedly unscientific] conclusion that more riders give tees the thumbs-up than the thumbs-down. Variations on the theme get extra appreciation. Tank tops, long-sleeved shirts, and UPF fabrics are especially popular. Sweatshirts take it up another level entirely!
Many riders report that practical items -- the things they keep in their cars or barns or living rooms and keep using for years -- are their favorites.
Some riders really like traditional awards that carry emotional significance. Ride photos are always a hit. Some managers get especially creative in making unique trophies, buckles, plaques, or certificates to commemorate riders' accomplishments.
Distance Riders of Manitoba president Darice Whyte spent the year snapping photos of riders, then had the best ones printed on metal for the club's division winners. They turned out gorgeous! Here are a few more examples:
Crafts by Local Artists
Some ride managers excel at sniffing out local talent, and artists can be amazingly generous when it comes to handcrafted awards. From potholders to pottery, horseshoe art to painted rocks, artisan soaps to quilts, you can't go wrong with something this special.
Just for Juniors
Who doesn't enjoy seeing juniors get some extra love at the end of a ride? Many rides offer extras for our youngest riders. Some reported favorites include:
Former junior rider Kelly William Stehman now sponsors juniors herself. She suggests awarding "things that would be good for juniors to add to their saddle bags or something that would help them become better riders. Things like scoops, sponges, stethoscopes, quality multi use tools. Maybe some sort of GPS unit to help them learn pacing or some hoof boots as a big award."
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Thanks for dropping by! I'm an endurance rider in the northwest region of the United States. This blog is about the practicalities of distance riding and the practice of being my best self for my horse. I hope you'll come along for the ride.
The Sweaty Equestrian