One Day Helmet Sale! – Tips on Selecting a Helmet You Will Love

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Today is International Helmet Awareness Day and to celebrate we are offering up to 20% off all our non-custom helmets! Your helmet is arguably the most important piece of riding apparel or tack you use, so make sure you are utilizing one every time you get on a horse. If you’ve been meaning to replace your aging helmet, dreaming of a new style with the latest technology, or ready to make your very first helmet purchase, today is the day for you!
Take a look at some of the high-quality brands that are discounted for today’s special sale:

But before you make your selection, here are 5 tips on what to watch out for to ensure you select a helmet that you’ll love.

  1. Size:  If a helmet doesn’t fit, it’s not filling its purpose. Start about an inch above your eyebrows, around over the top of your ears, and across the widest part of the back of your head to get an accurate measurement. If you have thick hair that you wear up in your helmet, you may need to go up one size.
  2. Shape:  Some people have rounder heads, while others have long ovals, and different brands are geared more towards one of these two shapes. Riders with a round head are likely to have more luck with GPA’s and Troxel, while riders with long oval shaped heads will do better with Charles Owen’s and IRH’s.
  3. Adjustments:  Many manufactures offer padding systems to adjust fit, thereby making sure a helmet will sit as securely and perfectly as possible on your head. Some helmets also have adjustments to tighten fit that can be made on the back.
  4. Technology:  Helmet manufactures are always looking to improve their products. Keep an eye out for new features that may not be present in your current helmet. Some helmets have ventilation to allow air flow and keep you from overheating, others utilize flexible or detachable visors that will give or break off in a fall.
  5. Standard Approval:  Most competitions and equestrian events require you to wear an approved helmet that meets standards. The most common approvals that you will need are ASTM/SEI certification. It is always a good idea to check for the SEI label in any protective helmet you purchase. All Dover’s protective helmet brands carry the ASTM/SEI certification.

Happy Helmet Shopping!

Cleaning Her Way to the Top of Her Pony

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11-year-old Taylor McFall, whose mom is Rolex eventer Jen McFall, has a dream – the same dream as many of us – she yearns to own her favorite pony. Taylor has been leasing Kilbarry Prince, a 14 year old Connemara pony with a hunting background that makes him a fearless eventer, and the pair’s time is almost up. Taylor was told by her parents that they don’t have the budget to purchase the pony, and when the lease ends in November he will likely move on to a new home. Not to be dissuaded, Taylor said that she would like to purchase Prince herself because she didn’t want to lose him.

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So how does an 11-year-old buy a $15,000 pony? With a sense of responsibility, a lot of drive, and the help of those who have been in her child sized shoes dreaming before. Taylor has come up with 2 services and 1 product to offer as fundraisers at horse shows for her pony-fund: Tack Cleaning, Truck Washing, and “Pony Puffs” horse treats. A true entrepreneur, she considered what people might be in need of at a busy show and aims to provide those services, thus saving people time and adding to her savings for Prince. For those of you who are not going to encounter Taylor at a show, you can still donate here and receive Pony Puffs by mail.

We love a hard working, young rider who’s passionate about her pony. Therefore, we wanted to help make sure Taylor had everything she needed to provide the tack cleaning services she wants to, and get her closer to a future with Prince.

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We hope backing your fundraising business with this tack cleaning kit makes reaching your goals even easier, Taylor!
Good luck from all of us here at Dover Saddlery!
Get that pony!

Helmet Care: Maintain, Clean, Protect in 7 Steps

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As the most important piece of equipment you will use when riding, your riding helmet does a lot of work for you, so make sure you return the favor and keep it protected and in perfect working condition. Helmet care and maintenance isn’t hard, but it is important. Follow these 7 steps to help ensure your helmet is there for you when you need it.

  1. The most important aspect of your helmet is that it remains in good, working condition. Should you fall off, your helmet needs to be replaced if it touches the ground. This is also often the case if the helmet simply falls or is dropped from a high place while not being worn. Despite appearing undamaged in many occasions, the design of a helmet prevents you from seeing internal damage, which is often caused by an impact.
  2. Whether your helmet has become wet from a hard sweaty ride or an accidental dip in a water element, it should be allowed to air dry out of direct sunlight. Never apply heat or place directly in a heat source, as extreme temperature can damage the integrity of the helmet.
  3. Similarly, helmets should be stored in a dry location with consistent, moderate temperature. Keeping your helmet in a barn without temperature control can harm it, as temperatures will reach both hot and cold extremes throughout the year.
  4. Helmet cleaning starts with keeping the outside sparkling clean- on velvet or velveteen helmets, mud and dirt is best if left to dry and then brushed off with a stiff hard brush. Helmets of this material should never be cleaned with detergent or water on the outside. Microsuede helmets can be wiped with a soft, damp cloth to remove debris. Plastic helmet exteriors will shine up nicely with mild detergent and water.
  5. Make the inside of your helmet just as fresh as the outside by cleaning once a week with a deodorizer and cleaner to remove dirt, hair grease and sweat, as well as kill bacteria. Make sure you use a cleaning product that is specifically designed for helmets so you do not damage the interior. Helmets should never be put in the washing machine or dishwasher to clean.
  6. Those pesky flies chasing you while riding can be annoying, but avoid spraying your helmet with bug spray, as the chemicals can deteriorate the helmet and cause staining.
  7. Make your helmet care job a tad easier by keeping your helmet stored in a protective riding helmet bag, and utilize a protective helmet cover during daily use while schooling. This will keep the daily dust and grim associated with barn life off of your helmet and help it to look new and show ready for as long as possible.

Regardless of routine and careful helmet care, no helmet will last forever. Normal lifetime degradation should be expected, and as a general rule helmets should be replaced every 5 years. Additionally, advancements in helmet technology are always happening, so replacing at the end of your helmet’s life will ensure you have the best of what helmets have to offer.

Helmet Crash Replacements – Save Your Wallet, Too

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Protective helmets are not merely a fashionable accessory while mounted, their use on show grounds is mandated by the U.S.E.F. and the F.E.I . When riding a horse, there is always a chance of a fall for any multitude of reasons, and afterwards there is a lot to think about. Are you ok? Is your horse? Why did the fall happen? Could it have been avoided? What exercises can you work on to lower the chances of a fall again? The last thing you want to be thinking about is, “how can I afford a new helmet to replace this one?”

Helmet manufactures understand this concern and are sympathetic. They also accurately believe and try to enforce that you should never ride again in a helmet that sustained a crash. For this reason, they all have wonderful crash replacement policies to allow you to get a replacement helmet a fraction of the cost in the event of a fall where your helmet is impacted. Generally you will need to send your original receipt, an accident report form or letter explaining the incident, as well as the crashed helmet, but make sure you follow the specifics for each manufacture. We’ve helped to outline differences in helmet ages and contact information for some of our manufactures below, so you know where to start if you find yourself on the ground and needing a replacement.

Let Dover Help You

GPA and Charles Owen helmet crash replacements can be done through Dover if you purchased your helmet with us. Just give us a call or come into one of our stores.

  • GPA:  Helmet must be purchased within the last year.
  • Charles Owen:  Helmet must be purchased within the last 3 years, with age of helmet determining discount on the replacement.
  • Uvex:  Helmet must be purchased within the last 3 years, with age of helmet determining discount on the replacement.

 Contact Manufactures Directly

It’s All About the Fit: Riding Helmet Fitting Guidelines

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A properly fitting helmet is one of the most important purchases you will make. It can help to protect you and instill confidence to aid you in working with your horse. Finding the right one that fits your head best is crucial, so put some time and effort into your new helmet fitting. Start helmet fitting by measuring your head to get an idea for what size you should aim for. A tape measure should be used about one inch above your eyebrows, just above the top of your ears, and around the bump at the back of your head- measuring the widest part of your head. This measurement can then be compared to each brand’s sizing chart.

Helmet fitting, however, is more than just a measurement. Different head shapes call for different helmets, so you may find that the same size fits significantly better in one brand than another. Wear your hair however you will normally wear it with the helmet, try the helmet on, and notice the following:

  • Pivoting in all directions with a shake of your head or sitting low on the eyebrows means the helmet is too large
  • Popping up and sitting more on the top of your head means the helmet is too small; also be conscious of headaches caused after a few minutes of wearing
  • Pressure on the forehead but rocking side to side means the helmet is too round for your head shape
  • Pressure on the sides but rocking front to back means the helmet is too oval for your head shape
  • Ensure the helmet is sitting level on your head, with the brim about two finger’s width above your eyebrows
  • If you try to move the helmet up and down from the brim, the skin on your forehead and eyebrows should move with it if the fit is correct
  • If you bend forward, the helmet should remain securely on your head regardless of the chin strap being fastened

Once you find a helmet that seems to fit properly, the chin strap should be adjusted so it is snug and helps to hold the helmet in place, but not too tight that it inhibits swallowing. You will want to ensure that the option you select during helmet fitting is snug, since the lining will break in over time, and the fit will loosen slightly. A loose helmet can be ineffective, so it’s important that old, loose helmets are brought back to a correct fit with replacements, either with new lining or an entirely new helmet.

Ultimately, there is no shortage of top of the line helmet options for any budget and head shape. Take your time and enjoy the helmet fitting process. If you want assistance, come into one of our retail stores for a complimentary helmet fitting and help finding the perfect helmet for you. Or if you are ready to make your selection now, choose from the many riding helmets we have to offer- you’re sure to find the right fit.

Helmet Awareness Week is Coming!

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Dover Saddlery is excited to once again help support Riders4Helmets in its initiative to promote helmet use by equestrians for International Helmet Awareness Day 2014, on July 12th. This day provides an opportunity to purchase select top-of-the-line helmets at specially discounted prices for one day only. Additionally, Riders4Helmets will be hosting a series of educational webinars featuring leading equestrians and experts in head injuries and helmets.

The first International Helmet Awareness Day was held in 2010, and is geared towards educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing a properly fitting and certified helmet every time they get on a horse. Currently, 16 helmet manufactures and retailers from eight different countries come together to help pass this message on to their customers.

In honor of International Helmet Awareness Day, we will be sharing a variety of helpful and educational helmet related information here on our blog until the day comes. We will also be running a series of contests, so make sure you follow us on Facebook for a chance to win. And of course, don’t forget to come back on July 12th to purchase your dream helmet!

Equestrian Brands We Love: Goode Rider

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Do you have a “barn section” of your closet? Many of us do. The clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty, the ones meant to wear around the barn for ventilation and protection, and certainly not to be mixed with your good daily wear clothes. But what if you didn’t have to separate fashion and function? Goode Rider offers you just that.

Started by two women who were tired of wearing horse-riding clothes that gave no attention to style, Goode Rider focuses on providing clothing that can make the transition from a day spent in the saddle to an evening around town, without sacrificing comfort and functionality. They offer clothing in current fashions with practical features, including four-way stretch material and stain resistance, which we know is necessary at the barn. These exemplary products from the Goode Rider line are a few of our favorites:

  • Pro BreechesGoode Rider’s breeches come in a goode rider pro breechesvariety of styles designed for women who value style. At first glance, these Goode Rider breeches may look like they are purely for fashion, but you may be surprised when you feel just how comfortable they are, and see how well they hold up to the demands of riding. The microfiber stretch material quickly recovers from whatever abuse you throw at it, keeping you looking great at all times. The low-rise waist flatters your figure, while the reinforced knee patches and Velcro ankle closures make them useful in the saddle.
  • goode rider elite shirtElite Shirt: This particular shirt has many of us struggling with whether to wear it to the office or the barn. Looks like a post-work outfit change can be avoided! It is suitable for formal or casual wear, indoors and out, and comes in unique patterns and colors. Sleeve tabs mean that you can wear the sleeves rolled or not, for whichever look you prefer. It’s also made of lightweight cotton with knit stretch panels at the sides for unrestricted movement and to keep you cool in warmer weather.
  • Regal Dressage Show Coat As far as the show ring
    jacketgoes, it’s always important to sport your best equine fashion. For dressage, this means a classic, long-sleeve, black show coat, which unfortunately is not always practical. This coat is both stylish and comfortable to wear, with a soft outer shell that moves and breathes with you to keep you cool, no matter what your competition might be doing. The traditional four-button front styling gives you the classic look that the judges expect. No one will realize you are wearing a piece of high-tech clothing with the benefits that modern fabrics provide.

These are just a few of the well designed clothes the Goode Rider brand has to offer. Browse the entire collection of Goode Rider show shirts, breeches, and tops for men and women and you surely won’t be disappointed. No one combines fashion and function quite like Goode Rider does.

Fight the Flies! – 5 Ways to Help Your Equine Friend Avoid Annoyance.

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With spring leaving us and summer weather settling in, barnyard insect pests are out in full force. The armies of horse flies, black flies, house flies and all other flies invading your horse’s personal space can seem overwhelming and are irritating for both you and your mount. Help keep the summer invasion under control with these fly control tactics.

  1. Keep Stable Grounds Clean:  Removing items of attraction for flies is the first step to insect control around your barn.  Ensure that manure is being removed from stalls and paddocks throughout the day, and that grassy areas around the barn are kept trimmed. For manure that cannot be removed regularly, Fly Predators is a natural way to stop pest flies where they start. Insects are also drawn to standing water as it serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the like, so emptying any unused water tubs overnight can help. Additionally, make sure grain is secured in containers that won’t let water in, and will keep feed fresh while keeping bugs out.
  2. Fly Free with Air Flow:  Stagnant or stale air holds in barn scents and moisture, which attract flies. By keeping air circulating throughout your barn, you help to keep a fresh environment where flies and other insects don’t see the appeal. Installing some fans throughout your stable can help keep the interior environment more comfortable for everyone.
  3. Shield Your Horse with a Fly Sheet:  A fly sheet can be great armor against flies and other biting insects that pester your horse during turnout. Since flies are typically a problem in summer months, it’s important that your fly sheet is lightweight and allows maximum air flow to keep your horse cool while protecting him from flies. Weatherbeeta’s Airflow fly sheet does just this and if your horse is particularly sensitive to flies, the detachable neck cover is a great add on to this fly sheet to reduce bites on the neck as well.
  4. Add Additional Armor:  Fly sheets are not the only means of defense. A fly mask like the Airflow by Weaterbeeta, will shield your horse’s eyes and ears from nagging insects. Protecting these sensitive and vulnerable areas is important and helps to reduce the stress your horse feels from having to shake off pestering bugs. Additionally, fly leg wraps can lessen continuous stomping while turned out or in a stall.
  5. Spray Them All Away:  Of course the most common and widely used fly control is fly spray. The wide array of fly control products available allows you to choose the perfect product for you, your horse, and what you will be doing. Fly spray should be liberally sprayed on the horse before turnout, before being ridden, and after any bathing or rinsing off so that they have a fresh coating.

Utilizing these strategies should give you a one up on the flies, and will certainly help to make your horse happier. Outfitting your horse in a fly sheet and fly mask has the added benefits of protecting him from the harmful UV sun rays. Avoiding sunburns on light areas of the coat will help keep your horse looking their best all season long. Feeling free from flies is the start to a wonderful summer with your four legged partner.

5 Tips to Keep Your Fleece Saddle Pad and Girth Cover Pristine

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High-quality saddle pads and girth covers not only ensure your horse’s comfort, they also help to protect an expensive saddle. Horse tack and equipment that’s intended to last for years is an investment. If you want a new fleece saddle pad or girth cover to provide your horse with the comfort and protection it needs for an extended period of time, you must take proper care of it. Use this guide to clean and maintain your fleece tack, and ensure your favorite items ride the distance with you.

After Every Ride:

  1. Shake or brush the fleece. Dirt and moisture get into the fleece fibers during each ride. Since over-washing isn’t good for it, shake and brush your fleece tack in an open area to loosen and remove dirt, while also fluffing up the dampened fibers. Using a face and leg curry comb is a great trick to loosen the hair and dirt that is stuck to the pad, particularly in the hotter summer months when your horse has been sweating. A brisk brush with a stiff hard brush after will clear the pad of hairs and dirt left behind.
  2. Protect from sweat and moisture. Allowing the fleece saddle pad and girth cover to completely air dry is important. Place them with the damp fleece-side-up in a location that’s out of direct sunlight and away from any other heat sources that could dry out the fibers or cause shrinkage.
  3. Store properly. Between uses, it’s important to store a fleece saddle pad or girth cover in a dry location. If longer amounts of time will pass between uses, you can store the saddle pad in an airtight container after it’s properly dried. This will keep it clean and protect it from pests.

Deep-Clean Your Fleece Saddle Pad:

  1. Remove excess sweat, soil, and dirt. Occasionally, you’ll need to give your fleece saddle pad and girth cover a deeper cleaning. Always use cold water to do this and a gentle cleansing solution. Washing the fleece saddle pad and girth cover in the washing machine on the gentle cycle is fine, just double check that they are in fact fleece and not sheepskin.
  2. Dry properly. It may take a bit longer to hang-dry a fleece saddle pad, but you’ll extend the life of it by doing so. Heat from the dryer or the sun can damage the fibers and cause shrinkage, leading to an ill-fitting pad. Always hang-dry the saddle pad in a shady, cool area until it’s completely dry.

Getting the Most from Your Investment
Both you and your horse profit when proper care is taken of fleece tack items. A clean, fluffy, fleece saddle pad protects your horse from rubbing, chafing, and painful pressure that can affect him during training or performance. Additionally, proper saddle pad care also prevents the development of bacteria that can lead to irritating skin conditions.

It’s much easier to get into a routine of cleaning and caring for a fleece saddle pad and girth cover than it is to try to remove several weeks’ worth of sweat and grime. Make the short process of cleaning and drying your fleece saddle pad part of every post-ride routine. With the right products and processes, it’s an easy task to complete.

From Horse Shampoo to Sweat Scraper- Bathing Kit Essentials

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Regular bathing and grooming sessions are essential components of horse care, ensuring your horse’s hooves, skin, and coat are in healthy condition, while providing important bonding time for the two of you. Additionally, because grooming allows you to go over every inch of your horse, you’ll often be able to tell if something is amiss during these sessions. Horse shampoo isn’t the only thing you need to get your equine friend clean- get the most out of the time you spend bathing and grooming by having these essentials on hand.

Bathing Kit Essentials for Horses

  • Horse Shampoo: There is a wide range of horse shampoo options to select from, so choose a horse shampoo that suits your horse’s individual skin and coat needs. Horse shampoo made with natural ingredients and herbs can help soothe soreness, relieve skin sensitivity, and result in a shiny coat.
  • Various-Sized SpongesHave both large and small sponges, made with natural or synthetic materials, for applying horse shampoo. Use the smaller sponges to wash the face and genital area where you need to be gentler. Keep in mind that it’s important to use sponges only for your horse, as sharing bathing essentials can spread skin conditions.
  • Hand Mitt: Mitts made of plastic, sheepskin, soft rubber, and other materials are effective for gentle scrubbing and dirt removal. Mitts are often useful for removing sweat stains and dirt on your horse’s legs.wash brush
  • Combo Tools: Combination tools, such as the Wash Brush are effective for efficient horse bathing. The short bristles and absorbent sponge reduce time without decreasing the quality of the grooming session.
  • Sweat Scraper: A sweat scraper aids the drying process by removing excess water from your horse’s coat. They come in all different colors and are ergonomically designed for easier grooming.

Tips for Enhancing Your Horse’s Coat

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  • Color-Enhancing Shampoo: Horse shampoo that contains color-enhancing additives can help bring out the natural color of your horse’s coat.
  • Conditioner: Conditioning your horse’s coat and skin is essential to getting that healthy gloss. Follow the shampoo with conditioner to replenish the oils and moisture lost during the cleansing process.
  • Show Sheen: Use Show Sheen or other hair polish to enhance the appearance of your horse’s mane or tail. The silicone in these products makes the hair slippery, so it’s not something that should be used in places where tack goes — but it can add to your horse’s appearance at show time.

A Great Bath is Better than Frequent Bathing
Daily bathing strips necessary oils from your horse’s coat and skin, so it’s more important to bathe thoroughly, rather than frequently. Even in the warmer months of spring and summer, it’s best to rinse off sweat and mud without giving a full bath every time. To ensure your horse is reaping the full benefits of a good bath, make sure you have a good bathing kit full of essential items to helps your horse look beautiful, while maintaining health and well-being.