3 Tips for Organizing a Barn

Spring has arrived (at last!) in many regions of the country. If you’re like most riders, you’re enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and the warmth of the sun as you ride. Spring is also a time for organizing your barn. Tack and riding equipment have a funny way or piling up and getting disheveled during long, cold winter months, and the thaw of Spring is a perfect reason to tidy up the barn.

Here are a few tips to help you organize your barn for Spring:

1. Remove out-of-season items from the barn

Winter riding apparel and heavy fleece coolers should be cleaned and packed away. A large tack trunk is perfect for stowing away winter gear during spring and summer months. You can use the same trunk to store summer riding gear and equipment when cool weather returns in the fall. Look for a sturdy trunk or rodent-proof bin.

2. Clean and store horse blankets

That heavy-weight turnout blanket you used all winter? Stow it away! Bulky winter horse clothing takes up space; clean horse blankets and store them in an air-tight container. Products like Nikwax Rug Wash™ are ideal for use on waterproof horse clothing. You can also search for a professional horse cleaner in your area.

3. Add cedar blocks to tack trunks to deter pests

Nothing is more frustrating than taking seasonal horse gear out of storage and discovering it’s full of holes. Rodents, moths, and other pests can wreak havoc on your horse tack and riding apparel – gear you’ve spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on. Protect your gear by placing a cedar block inside your tack trunk and securing the lid tightly before stashing it away for the summer.

Organizing a barn for spring can be a tedious, time-consuming chore, but it’s worth it. You’ll extend the life of your tack and spend less time rummaging through clutter when it’s time to ride.

Equestrian Brands We Love: Weatherbeeta

One of the most popular horse blanket brands at Dover is Weatherbeeta. Weatherbeeta has been in the horse blanket business for over 35 years. They’re known for their strong, durable fabrics and breathability, as well as their computer stitching technologies that ensure high-strength seam construction. All of their turnout seams are sealed to ensure the ultimate waterproofing and protection. They offer three main lines of blankets that range in features and pricing.

Weatherbeeta Features a Range of Horse Blankets Styles

The Weatherbeeta Freestyle Turnout Blanket line is the ultimate in freedom, comfort, and protection. These horse blankets are built for durability with tough outer fabrics, waterproof & breathable outers, rust resistant gun metal fittings, and quick clip front closures. The comfort features for your horse include a cupped shoulder darts, forward positioned gussets, wither relief, a comfort cuff, and a full wrap tail flap. Available in Pony, Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

Weatherbeeta Winter Horse Blankets

There’s nothing like an original, and the Weatherbeeta Original line is no exception. The line offers superior quality, traditional styling, with mid-price affordability. The durability features of the Original line include a tough outer fabric that’s waterproof and breathable, plus adjustable twin chest straps for easy on/off. The comfort features for your horse include traditional side gussets and a large tail flap. Available in Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

The Weatherbeeta Genero line offers Weatherbeeta quality for Equestrians on a budget. The durability features of the Genero Line include a tough outer fabric that’s waterproof and breathable, plus adjustable twin chest straps and removable leg straps. Other features include low cross surcingles with rubber stoppers for a secure fit that resists coming undone. Available in Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

Year-Round Comfort: Weatherbeeta Blankets for Every Type of Horse

The Weatherbeeta Freestyle 1680D Detach-A-Neck Medium Weight Turnout Blanket offers a 3-in-1 system to layer your horse based on current condition. Comes in a medium weight or a heavy weight option. The medium weight version includes a removable 120 gram liner with a 100 gram outer shell provides versatility. The heavy weight turnout option has the same 100 gram versatile outer shell plus a 300 gram liner.

Weatherbeeta Freestyle TurnoutFor a premium quality turnout that stands tough against horseplay and wet, muddy conditions, the WeatherBeeta® Freestyle 1200D Turnout Sheet is hard to beat. Waterproof, high denier triple weave shell is breathable and lined with mesh to encourage air flow.

Looking for a pony blanket? You’d be hard pressed to beat the Weatherbeeta Orican Freestyle 1200D Detach-a-Neck Medium Pony Turnout, which features a 1200 denier outer shell with 220 grams of poly fill insulation.

A mid price option that’s waterproof, breathable, and Weatherbeeta quality, the Weatherbeeta 1200D Standard Neck-Medium Weight Blanket will keep your horse comfortable all winter. It’s available in Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

The Weatherbeeta Genero Turnout Sheet is a great basic turnout sheet at an affordable price. Waterproof and breathable, this horse sheet has a 1200 denier ripstop outer shell and a 210 denier hygienic nylon lining. Available in Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

The Genero line also offers a medium weight turnout. The Weatherbeeta Genero Standard Neck Medium Weight Turnout Blanket is both waterproof and breathable. This mid-weight winter horse blanket has a durable 1200 denier ripstop outer shell, 220 grams of poly fill for warmth and a hygienic 210 denier nylon lining. Comes in Cob, Horse, and Oversize options.

To view Dover’s full selection of Weatherbeeta horse clothing, visit our horse blankets page. And don’t forget to check out our tips for blanketing a horse.

Turnout Blanket vs. Turnout Sheet: TIps for Blanketing a Horse

In our recent posts, we shared tips to help equestrians stay warm when riding in winter. A good pair of winter breeches and winter riding boots are essential for winter horseback riding. But what about keeping your horse warm?

To blanket or not to blanket? That is always the question. Horses with thick, fluffy coats that are seldom ridden in winter may not need a blanket at all. These horses do well with natural protection, and may only need a mid-weight blanket to put on for extra cold or wet weather. Other horses will strongly benefit from the regular use of winter blankets. These include horses that are ridden in the winter months, clipped horses, older horses or horses that have trouble keeping on weight.

All horses turned out in wet or windy weather will certainly appreciate the protection a good winter turnout blanket can provide. We get a lot of questions about horse blankets, so we thought we’d share a few tips on blanketing a horse.

What Type of Winter Horse Blanket Should I Buy?

There are two main styles of horse blankets designed for your horse to wear in the winter. Turnout Blankets are waterproof and durable articles of horse clothing that are made to stand up to the elements. Stable Blankets are designed for use in and around the stable and under supervision, rather than for the rigors of turnout. They provide warmth in the barn at night and are great for layering. Stable blankets are typically water repellent to resist urine or manure stains, but are not waterproof.

What Determines the Warmth of a Horse Blanket?

Blanket warmth is determined by grams of fill. The more fill or “weight” a blanket has, the more insulation it offers. Turnout blankets and stable blankets are available in lightweights, mid-weights, and heavyweights.

The lightest turnout option is called a turnout sheet. Similar to a raincoat, these protect from the wind and wet conditions, but have no fill for additional insulation. The lightest stable blanket available is known as a stable sheet. These sheets are intended to keep your horse clean and do not have any fill to insulate or warm your horse.

Lightweight turnout blanket from Riders InternationalLike the turnout sheet, the light weight turnout is waterproof and it typically adds 100 grams of fill, making it an ideal choice for fall and spring, as well as areas with a mild winter. Consider the Riders International Hug, a lightweight turnout.

Medium weight turnouts and blankets have 180-250 grams of fill. Midweights work well for horses with shorter coats that switch to a heavier blanket in severe weather. They are also popular for horses that are not typically blanketed who need the help of a warm blanket on wet or exceptionally cold days. The heavyweight turnout has 300 to 440 grams of fill and are best reserved for extreme cold weather conditions, body clipped horses, and horses that struggle with keeping warm.

Stable Blankets contain insulating fill weights that range from 100 to 400 grams. These insulated blankets are commonly used in the stable allowing you to replace a horse’s heavier outerwear with a loftier item that will keep your horse warm while stabled. They are also ideal for layering under turnout blankets on extra cold days.

Do I Need to Worry about Denier When Blanketing a Horse?

The Denier of the blanket refers to how tough and sturdy the outer of a turnout blanket is. Blanket deniers typically range from 200d in stable blankets up to 2000d in turnouts. The higher the denier, the more closely woven the material of the blanket outer making it less likely to rip. Some horses are not hard on blankets, while others work to masterfully take them off the minute you put it on. If your horse is turned out with other horses, or is known as the barn Houdini, investing in a blanket with a higher denier may be worth your while.

Which Horse Blanket is Best for My Horse?

Stay tuned later this week when we’ll profile Weatherbeeta, a longtime leader in horse blankets. Weatherbeeta has a range blankets to keep your horse comfortable in any weather condition. We’ll review the most popular choices, share customer reviews, and offer more tips for blanketing a horse.

Equestrian Brands We Love: Irideon

Designed, tested, and made in the USA, Irideon riding breeches, tights, jods and t-shirts are created by riders for riders. Irideon apparel is tested in the saddle to ensure a comfortable fit for every rider.

Dover Saddlery offers riding breeches and an assortment of Irideon riding apparel in a variety of sizes, colors, fabrics for women and children. Their commitment to meeting Equestrians’ needs shows in the comfort and durability their products provide. Year after year, they come out with great styling options, including breeches that perform well for horse shows as well as trail riding, three season breeches, stylish riding tights, children’s breeches, bootcut and jean style breeches, and more! Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles and see why we love them.

Irideon breechesIrideon® Cadence™ Breeches. The Irideon® Cadence™ Breeches offer great range of motion and a flattering fit that makes them ideal in the show ring, on the trail, as well as a go-to breech for schooling.

You’ll love the durable, lightweight, 4-way stretch material that supports in all the right places, without hindering your performance. The corded fabric provides a “ribbed” texture that looks great and is flattering to any rider’s shape.

In addition, these ladies’ riding breeches are constructed with seams that won’t chafe. They are available in both full seat and knee patch riding breeches made of an anti-pilling Chamisoft™ that resists hair, hay and shavings. The sizing options for these exceptional riding breeches include ladies’ regular and long lengths as well as regular and plus sizes up to a 3X. Children’s sizing is also available in the Irideon® Cadence knee patch riding breech.

Irideon Issential TightsIrideon® Issential™ Tights. Irideon® Issential™ Tights are made of a pull on stretchable material that’s ideal for schooling and trail riding. The easy-care Issential™ Microfiber fabric, makes them breathable and abrasion-resistant – the perfect pants for working around horses.

These riding tights wick moisture away from your skin while the four-way stretch allows complete freedom of movement. Like the Cadence breech, they’re sewn with no-chafe seams, body-contouring panels and Chamisoft™ knee patches.

The gripper elastic at the ankles and a 1 1/2″ no-roll waistband keep everything neatly in place. One of the best features about these riding tights is the fact that they come in ladies’ regular rise and low rise styling options, as well as children’s sizing, making them a must-have for nearly all equestrians.

Irideon topline tightsIrideon® Issential Topline Tight. For those looking to add some fun to their riding apparel, you will want to check out the Irideon® Issential Topline Tight. This riding pant has all the great features of Irideon riding tights with the popular style contrasting fold-down waistband. Pair it with an Irideon riding shirt for an easy-to-wear look. In four-way stretch fabric, this wickable riding tight features body contouring panels, Chamisoft™ knee patches, and gripper elastic ankles.

Irideon® Saratoga Polo Shirt. The Irideon® Saratoga Polo Shirt was made for riding! It features wrinkle-resistant, four-way stretch fabric that will keep you looking good and riding your best. By using breathable materials, Irideon ensures that you stay cool and comfortable in the saddle. This ladies’ polo shirt features slimming princess seaming and body contouring panels that create a feminine silhouette. Great colors and sleek styling make this women’s riding top an asset to your riding wardrobe. Available in Ladies’ and Children’s sizing options.

Irideon henleyIrideon® Quarterline Henley. The Irideon® Quarterline Henley shirt may just be the most comfortable top in your wardrobe. The material feels silky-soft against your skin. Great for the barn or around the town, this sporty women’s top is made highly breathable four-way stretch fabric that moves with you and dries quickly for maximum comfort. This riding top has elegant feminine features and an embroidered pony on the hip that any horse enthusiast will appreciate. This shirt goes great with breeches or jeans!

Irideon Riding Wear provides the fit and style to keep you comfortable in the saddle, while still looking great. Whether you’re looking for a quality pair of show pants, or your new favorite top and tights for the trails, come check Dover’s extensive line of Irideon riding apparel to suit all your horseback riding needs.

Insulated Riding Boots Keep you Warm and Dry

In our last post, we shared advice on buying winter breeches . If you have ever had cold or wet feet, we don’t need to tell you how uncomfortable this feeling is. New and improved technologies provide us with better winter riding boot choices on the market than ever! At Dover Saddlery, we have been trying and testing some of the best winter riding boots and here is what you need to know.

The materials used on both the inside and the outside of the boot will make the biggest difference for warming your feet on cold days. The group of inner materials uses various methods to trap air and utilize your own body heat to insulate your boot, providing exceptional warmth without as much bulk or weight. Included in this category are Primaloft®, 3M™ Thermolite®, and Thinsulate™. These are ultimate inside material choices for moisture prevention and heavy duty cold performance on the market today.

Faux Fur Lining, fleece (typically synthetic), and pile Lining work well for moderate warmth, and are typically less expensive than the first group. Many of the latest fashion style riding boots use this group of materials and they still provide comfort and warmth against the elements.

Outer materials include leather, nubuck/suede, or synthetic materials. Leather and suede add a classy look, absorb moisture, and break in perfectly. They provide a traditional look while providing a strong outer that protects and breathes. Synthetic winter riding boot advantages include price and easy care. Look for synthetic winter riding boots that feature breathable materials that have some give to them for the best bang for your buck.

Another feature for your consideration includes the sole of the boot. A specially treaded sole is essential for traversing tough terrain and icy paths that you might encounter around the barn or if your boots are used for casual purposes.

The use of zippers makes pulling boots on and off ultra easy. Look for boots with laces or gussets for a more adjustable fit. If you are interested in boots made for barn chores, Look for styles that are able to withstand the acids and mud that are likely to be around the stable.

Winter Boots with Styles for Everyone

Now that we know what to look for when selecting the best winter riding boots, let’s discover some of the most popular boots available this year.

Classic Style Insulated Tall Boots

Those on the horseshow circuit or in cold climates, should checkout this year’s classic insulated tall boots that provide the show ring look essential for winning, while the insulating qualities keep you warm and comfortable so you can concentrate on your ride.

Ariat® Bromont Dress H2O Insulated Boot - The Ariat® Bromont Dress H2O Insulated Boots are deluxe tall boots that are ideal for showing and schooling in cold weather. ariat-bromont-insulatedMaintain a classy look with this traditional English tall winter boot that features a waterproof full-grain leather construction and Primaloft® insulation that provides warmth without bulk. Duratread™ outsole with dual direction tread provides traction in the stirrup as well as in mud and snow, and it resists barnyard acid. A full-length back zipper allows for easy on/off with stretch leather panel for a more customized fit. Ladies’ sizing with regular and full calf widths.

Mountain Horse Nordic Light High Rider Boots - mountain-horse-nordic-lightThe Mountain Horse Nordic Light High Rider Boots are classic full-grain leather field boots with a warm faux fur lining. 100% waterproof elastic along back of shaft for fit. Available in ladies’ sizing with regular calf, wide calf and short calf options.

Tall boots and Paddock Boots that Work and Play

There are some great choices this year for boots styles that are designed to do work around the barn, as well as double for a warm riding boot option. Some of the favorites include the following:

Ariat® Brossard Winter Boot The Ariat Brossard Winter Boot features is a warm waterproof ariat-brossard-winter-bootoption that will serve you well both in the saddle and doing chores.  The 200 grams Thinsulate® and a moisture-wicking lining topped with the waterproof classic leather outer make for a boot that will keep your feet warm and dry in the worst weather conditions. These boots have both a tall boot and paddock boot styling available. Choose from lace and zip.  Ladies’ and Children’s sizing options.

Mountain Horse® Ice Rider Tall Winter Boots The Mountain Horse® Ice Rider Tall mountain-horse-ice-riderWinter Boots feature a taped waterproof and breathable membrane with an in-between layer of Thermolite to keep feet dry and warm. The Duralon 1200 armor weave is an easy to clean, waterproof outer. The elasticized heavy-duty YKK Vislon zipper and elasticized calf allow for a more customizable fit. Available in ladies’ sizing in both regular and wide calf options. This boot is also available in men’s sizing.

dafna-blizzard-bootDafna Blizzard BootThe Dafna Blizzard boot is a perfect winter option for the budget minded equestrian. A fleece lined inner and water-repellent cordura-like fabric outer help block out the elements. The VELCRO® brand side closures allow an adjustable fit.

Fashionable Winter Riding Boots with style and warmth 

Wearing Winter Riding boots for fashion exudes classy style. Pair these popular boots with your favorite pair of jeans to not only look great, but keep your feet dry and toasty.

Ariat® Roseland H20 Boot - ariat-roselandThe Ariat® Roseland H20 Boot adds a chic styling to the traditional English boot look. This attractive pull-on slouch-style leather boot is easy and comfortable to wear and features a fleece cuff and a plaid fabric lining. The waterproof design keeps your feet dry and comfortable.

dublin-winter-zenithDublin® Winter Zenith Boot – The Dublin® Winter Zenith Boot offers warmth and comfort as it adds equestrian flair to your outfit.  You’ll love the comfy warm fleece lining and the elegant leather outer. Elastic calf for a great fit. Elegant look for on the town or in the saddle.

 

Mountain Horse® Eclipse Fashion Bootmoutain-horse-eclipseThe Mountain Horse® Eclipse Fashion Boot combines fun style, warm comfort, and a great price into one great boot. The waterproof rubber sole with a warm pile lining inner for insulation keep you comfortable in snow, sleet, and slush. Trendy shiny nylon topped with faux fur for a hint of luxury. This is a fashion boot that also can be used for barn chores.

This year’s provides vast options of insulated winter riding boots available at Dover Saddlery. Let us help you find your next favorite pair. When you are riding, working, or caught out in the snow, rain, or cold weather, you are sure to notice the difference a great pair of winter riding boots can make!

Winter Breeches for 2014: Make Cold Weather Riding Comfortable

Riding your horse in the winter can be an enjoyable experience – with the right riding apparel. Fortunately, there is a tremendous selection of winter breeches at varying price points with a grand array of styling options available.

So how do you choose the right winter breeches for you? At Dover Saddlery, we put our riding experience to work selecting the best winter breeches available to the Equestrian market.

Cold weather riders need winter riding pants that are grippy instead of slippery, provide comfort, aren’t too bulky, are available in the right sizes, and most importantly- WARM. The fabrics and options available from manufacturers vary.

Those looking for ultimate wind or rain/snow protection in the saddle will want to consider a waterproof option with wind barriers. Although more expensive than the thermal choices, they can be well worth the extra cost for riding in the elements.

Riders who don’t live in areas with severe weather conditions or those who seek only the nicest days in the winter to saddle up, might want to consider the purchase of a three-season breech. This versatile riding pant offers protection from the wind along with a heavier material that is perfect for cool or windy days.

Other innovative options available on the market include quality knee patches or full seat designs for saddle grip as well as handy pockets for your cell phone, iPod, or other accessories. No matter what your budget or riding preferences are, the ultimate winter riding breech is out there for you.

Winter Breeches for Every Budget

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles for 2014:

Kerrits riding breechesKerrits Power Stretch Breeches A mid-range choice is the Kerrits® Power Stretch® Breeches that feature a Polartec® PowerStretch fabric with a brushed fleece interior. These are so comfortable; you’ll feel like you’re wearing your favorite pajama pants. The exterior repels hay and horsehair while the EcoSuede™ knee patches help provide a secure ride.

Riding Sport™ Winter Soft Shell Breeches. Riding Sport™ Winter Soft Shell Breeches offers a mid price option with the latest fabric technology.  These breeches are breathable, flexible and versatile, and will guard you against wind, rain and snow.

Irideon® Polartec® Power Stretch® Knee-Patch Breeches.  The Irideon® Polartec® Power Stretch® Knee-Patch Breeches provide a warm breech solution without added bulk. The body-contouring panels make you feel and look great and are slim enough to fit under chaps or boots. These provide a perfect three season breech solution for riders.

Riding Sport Thermo Breeches for WinterThe popular Riding Sport™ Full-Seat Thermo Riding Pants slip easily over any pant adding an extra layer of warmth. These winter pants serve a dual purpose since they are perfect for doing barn chores and offer a full seat design making them ideal for winter riding as well.

Kerrits® Power Stretch®. Featuring 4-way stretch construction, Kerrits® Power Stretch® winter-weight riding breeches provide flexible, flattering style and fit with maximum warmth for cold days. These breeches have a thermal fleece inner for warmth with a debris repelling outer as well as a convenient accessory pocket. Choose from EcoSuede™ knee patches for grip in the saddle or maximize your stick-ability with the full seat option providing in-saddle no-slip grip even when wet! Kerrits® Power Stretch® tights are available in kids sizes, as well as a plus size winter riding breech options.

TuffRider® Winter Breech. For the economy minded equestrian, the TuffRider® Winter Breech provides a cold weather solution on a budget. These winter breeches offer a four-way stretch UniFleece that allows you to move comfortably while keeping you warm. Available in knee patch or full seat options. These are also available in children’s winter breech sizes.

FITS Winter BreechesFITS® Treads Pull-On Full-Seat Breeches. Those who follow the old adage, you get what you pay for; will want to consider the FITS® Treads Pull-On Full-Seat Breeches. These ultimate long lasting ladies’ winter breeches have a wind and debris resistant outer with a plush, insulating inner that wicks moisture. These breeches feature unique, rubberized ink dots specially-formulated to expand and contract with the fabric as you move and to return to their original shapes for long wear.

Everyone is sure to have a different favorite winter breech, and Dover Saddlery is committed to helping you find your perfect winter breech solution. This is only a sampling of the some of the winter breeches available for 2014. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from riding your horse this year. Try out a new pair of winter riding breeches today to see what a difference they can make!