I still have my client gift from 1999 and I anticipate I will have it forever It is simply a photo of my horse looking out of his stall on a sunny day with his always smile-y face, mounted onto a piece of painted carved wood with a hook - ornament. It is about 4x5" total, so the photo is only a few inches each direction. I miss that horse every day and it is a treat to pull out that ornament and see him looking out and saying hi.
I also like logo-embroidered items; plus, they serve as advertising for your barn. a 1/4 zip microfleece top is something that I'm guessing most horse people in the north could use... probably in the south too, for those cooler mornings & evenings.
Last year we all received Stubben glycerin saddle soap (it comes in a round tin and smells heavenly), a bottle of neatsfoot oil, 2 tack sponges and a small terry cloth towel. All of this was in a small bucket just the perfect size for tack cleaning. It was a great gift and very useful. It's doubtful that it came to $50.
He did take us all out (including SOs) for drinks and dinner, too.
Barn logos get another vote from me :-) id love a pullover, polo, or long sleeve shirt with my barns logo on it! Or even a tote bag (even something smaller like the size of a reusable grocery bag would get plenty of use from me). Hats are OK too so long as they're dark colors (hide the grime better!) A scarf in barn colors is great too! Individual names of the boarders isn't necessary but can be a nice extra touch.
I also love the stablemates bracelets that dover and other stores have, with the horse's name in brass. I'm hoping to get one of those for Christmas myself :-)
(A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
(he does listen!)
My head trainer is getting everyone natural bristle brushes with their horse and name painted on them. I know everyone will go ga-ga over them Last year everyone got a hat with her logo and their name on the back.
Last few years: Grooming halter with nameplate of horse, lead shank with name of owner, jacket with client name and farm logo, wrap bag for the stall fronts at shows in barn colors. Very generous trainer and all were appreciated.
My barn did barn calendars. Clients could submit a photo of themselves and their horse and a calendar was made (groups of photos for every month) and each month also showed the shows that we were attending. It was fabulous!
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!