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

fleece saddle pad

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

horse shampoo

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

horse shampoo

  • 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.

Seven Must-Have Dressage Accessories for the Competition Arena

Riding a dressage test successfully involves countless hours of practice with your horse as well as a lot of other prep work to get ready for your big moment. Once you are done packing all your riding essentials, you might want to consider a few finishing touches to personalize your look to your taste. You can also improve your riding experience by bringing the right accessories with you to the competition.

The next time you head out to compete, remember to pack these easy-to-forget items:

    1. Copies of your dressage tests: It’s easy to get nervous just before you go into the ring and feel like you are forgetting your test. If you remember to bring copies of your dressage tests, you can look over the tests at the last minute, or have someone read the test aloud during your performance. Try out the Whinny Widgets Pocket Test Books for convenient pocket-sized, bound and laminated copies of your tests.

 

    1. Hairnets: Your hair must be neat on the day of a show, and except for young riders who can wear braids or ponytails, this usually means you need a hairnet. Hairnets come in an assortment of colors to blend in naturally with your hair color.

 

    1. Stock tie pin: Available in a wide array of styles and fabrics, stock ties are part of the typical dressage attire, worn around the neck of a rider during an event. But don’t forget to purchase a stock pin for your stock tie, too. Also, if you opt for the traditional stock tie instead of a pre-tied one, practice tying the knot several times before the day of your show.

 

    1. Safety pins: Safety pins can serve many purposes on the day of a show. You can use them, for example, to secure the loose ends of your stock tie to your competition shirt so they don’t flap out while you’re riding. Keep a few in your pack to be prepared for anything.

 

    1. Conservative stud earrings: It’s fine to wear earrings with in the dressage arena, as long as they are conservative and tasteful rather than flashy or gaudy. In general, this means to stick with gold, silver or pearl studs.

 

    1. Belt: If you’ll be wearing breeches with belt loops, pair them with a belt. A belt adds to the polished appearance of your dressage outfit and can really complete your look.

 

  1. Rain gear: You never know what the weather will be like the day of a show, so a clear raincoat and a waterproof helmet cover are essential accessories to bring. If the weather is wet and rainy, you’ll have excellent, budget-friendly protection on hand.

11 Organizing Tips to Keep Your Barn Clutter Free

When it comes to your barn, maintaining a clutter-free space is more about safety than aesthetics. Debris, clutter and disorganization can spook your horse, increase the risk of injury and lead to other safety hazards. As you care for your horse, barn cleaning and maintenance should be a regular part of the routine. Make it easier on yourself and more effective by incorporating these 11 organizing tips to keep your barn clutter-free.

Create and Maintain an Organized, Clutter-Free Barn

  1. Clear the Barn Aisle. A clear barn aisle is important as you walk in and out of the barn to ensure your horse doesn’t bump into clutter and get cut or bruised. Likewise, if he acts up on the cross ties, you won’t have to worry about injuries.
  1. Maintain a Cobweb-Free Space. Cobwebs or spider webs are a fire hazard and are best removed.
  1. Monitor Surfaces. Periodically check to ensure that no nails have popped through the walls and that the surfaces are splinter-free.
  1. Keep it Well Lit. Replace burned out lights to prevent your horse from becoming spooked in the barn or from getting injured as you walk to and from the stall.
  1. Clean Away Dust and Debris. A daily cleaning makes it much easier to maintain a barn that’s not cluttered with dust and debris. Toss trash immediately and give your horse’s area a quick sweeping.
  1. Store Grain Securely. Secure metal trash bins or containers are best for storing horse feed to avoid attracting rodents.
  1. Store Tack and Equipment Safely. Horse tack, blankets and other equipment should be stored securely on hooks or in cubbies where your horse can’t get tangled in them. Organized storage will also make it easier to find what you need.
  1. Remove Glass and Cardboard. Glass can accidentally break, causing a health hazard for horses. Likewise, cardboard is attractive nesting material for rodents.
  1. Have Separate Grooming Kits. To avoid the spread of skin conditions or bacteria, it’s important to have a separate grooming kit for each horse. Use a bucket, grooming bag or box to store brushes and other supplies.
  1. Keep an Equine Medical Kit Nearby. In the event of an emergency, an equine medical kit or first aid kit should always be kept handy.
  1. Store Tools Out of the Way. Brooms, shovels and manure forks should always be stored on a secure wall rack where they can’t be knocked over and become a hazard.

Turn Tips into Habits

If you’re beginning to clear out a messy barn or preparing a new area for your horse, these tips may feel overwhelming. Tackle them one at a time, allowing sufficient time for each task to be completed. As you continue incorporating these organizational tips into your daily routine, you’ll find that they will easily become a matter of course. Once they become habits, you’ll find that these tips take less time to include, while continuing to provide you and your horse with a multitude of benefits.

Spotlight on Ice Horse™ Cold Therapy Products

The Ice Horse™ Brand

For over 15 years, Ice Horse™ has lead the way in designing Equine Cold Therapy products. Made in the USA, their innovative wraps, boots, and cooling machines have defined product standards and garnered international acclaim from vets and riders alike. Ice Horse™ is dedicated to creating products designed to prevent injury and speed recovery for equine athletes. The multi-disciplinary team of Ice Horse™ sponsored riders includes some of the best competitors the sport has to offer.

The Basics of Equine Cold Therapy

When your horse experiences a leg injury, the affected area will usually swell and feel hot to the touch. These symptoms are indicators of increased blood flow to the site of the injury. Although this is a normal sign of the body’s healing response, swelling and inflammation can exacerbate soft tissue damage and potentially cause further damage. So what do you do?

Cooling down the injured leg will help alleviate pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. This form of treatment is most beneficial and effective within the first 48 hours after an injury occurs. Cold hosing has been (and will remain) a simple and effective way to reduce swelling and draw heat out of an injury. However, the major drawback to this method of equine cold therapy is the amount of time that it takes out of your day. Luckily, there are a lot of products on the market that can help your treatment sessions become more time efficient while remaining equally effective.

Cold therapy can be used as both a treatment and as a tool in preventative maintenance for horses with a past history of muscle, joint, or soft tissue injury.

Quick Facts:

  1. Immediately after an injury (within 0-48 hrs.), cold treatment slows the circulation of blood to the area to reduce swelling and protect undamaged tissue
  2. Apply cold therapy for about 15-20 min. at a time
  3. Allow at least 30 min. in between treatment sessions
  4. Cold therapy is most effective when ice and/or cold water are applied with consistent pressure and surface contact

Ice Horse™ Cold Therapy Products

For applying cold to the lower leg, Ice Horse™ has created a couple different options:

  1. The Ice Horse™ Evendura Wrap is designed to provide extra coverage from below the knee to the pastern and fetlock area. These wraps contain eight reusable FirstIce® inserts that are guaranteed to stay cold for two hours.
  2. An alternative choice is the Ice Horse™ First+Ice Boots. These boots come with four FirstIce® bags (two for each leg) that are arranged to target the canon bone, splint bone, and flexor tendons, in particular.
  3. All reusable Ice Horse™ FirstIce® Packs are filled with small ice crystals that allow the bag to stay malleable so it can conform to any body part. Packs can be purchases individually.

Ice Horse™ makes several convenient products for applying cold therapy to hard to reach spots on your horse’s legs and body:

  1. Instead of cold hosing that hock or stifle, try the Ice Horse™ Hock Wrap and Stifle Wrap. These products are formed specifically to fit their respective areas. The neoprene and FirstIce® packs are held securely in place by velcro straps so that the wrap applies even, cold compression.
  2. The Ice Horse™ Back Blanket provides an easy cold therapy option for your horse’s back. This product comes with 10 removable FirstIce® packs for flexible treatment options. Use all 10 for maximum cooling coverage from the withers to the sacroiliac joint, or use just a few to target specific problem areas.
  3. The Ice Horse™ Big Black Boot makes cooling off a horse’s hoof a little less hassle. FirstIce® inserts wrap around the hoof and coronet band to provide uniform coverage. This product comes with three FirstIce® inserts and one polymer shoe. The unique elastic strap configuration keeps the boot secure on your horse’s hoof. Available in either standard (horse) or small (pony).
  4. The Ice Horse™ Emergency Wrap can be used virtually anywhere on your horse’s body, including the neck, upper leg, and shoulder. The wrap’s anti-migration fabric keeps the pack securely in place. The Ice Horse™ Emergency Wrap comes with two reusable FirstIce® packs.

Please consult your vet, as splits and other conditions can become severe and cause significant lameness if not treated properly.

Choosing a Fly Sheet

Help your horse beat the heat and the bugs this summer! Dover has plenty of protective fly gear for all your equine friends. You may be wondering which brand is the best, what fabric is the most practical, and what sorts of accessories are necessary–neck and belly guards, for instance.  Put simply, there’s more than one correct answer. When picking out a fly sheet, identify your main concerns and consider the functional purposes that it needs to serve.

Does My Horse Need a Fly Sheet?

There are numerous reasons to consider purchasing fly protection for your horse. Horses that suffer from insect skin allergies will appreciate the relief they get with the addition of a fly sheet or mask.

Some horses don’t have allergies to bugs, but can still be frustrated by the constant pestering of insects in the paddock or stall.  Horses will often shake their heads, twitch ears, swish their tails, and stomp their hooves as visible signs that they are annoyed by bugs. If your horse is exhibiting these behaviors, fly protection could help lower your horse’s daily stress levels. If you see visible bites on your horses, you may want to consider a fly sheet. There are few things worse than having itchy welts from bug bites.

Many fly sheets and masks on the market today provide protection from the sun. In addition to bleaching out your horse’s beautiful coat, UV rays can be harmful to your horse and also cause painful sunburns. There is a misconception that fly sheets will overheat your horse. UV protection and the light colored fabrics reflect the sun’s rays away from your horse’s body, keeping them cooler and more comfortable on hot, sunny days. Horses with dark coats or light skin are particularly vulnerable to being effected by sunlight. Another great benefit to fly protection, is keeping your horse’s coat clean and shiny. Some blankets are made from materials that polish the coat.

If any of these situations match up with you and your horse, a fly sheet could be a worthwhile investment.

How to Pick the Best Fly Sheet for Your Horse

Consider where and for how long your horse is turned out. The amount of coverage should depend, in part, on your horse’s sensitivity level. Horses with a low tolerance for pests are good candidates for fly sheets made with neck and belly guards or out of fabric treated with bug repellent. Neck covers can also help protect the coat from UV rays that cause fading. For horses that are rough on their blankets, consider fly sheets made out of durable, high denier mesh.

Just like any other blanket, the right fit hinges on finding the brand that suits your horse’s body type. As a general rule, companies that make their blankets with particular features–leg straps, leg arches, shoulder gussets, etc.–likely design fly sheets with similar attributes. So, if you know your horse fits into a particular brand, start your search there.

A few popular options:

Rider’s International Stretch Micro Mesh Fly Sheet

Rider’s International blankets are made exclusively for Dover Saddlery. The Micro Mesh Stretch Fly Sheet is soft, lightweight, and breathable. The shoulders are lined with nylon to protect against shoulder rubs. The mesh material is slightly stretchy, so the sheet will conform nicely to your horse’s body. This fly sheet features a two buckle front closure and adjustable leg straps, as well as a hidden belly surcingle and protective fleece at the withers. Available in sizes 62”-84”

Rambo® Fly Buster™ Fly Sheet

Horseware Ireland makes great blankets. The Rambo Fly Buster is one of their most versatile fly sheets. The polyester knit fabric offers UV protection and is both breathable and lightweight. No Fly Zone™ technology is proven to repel mosquitoes, ants, ticks, and chiggers for up to 70 washes. A removable neck cover and an oversized tail flap help provide maximum protection.

Additional Fly Gear: Fly Masks and Leg Guards

Horses with allergies are sensitive to dust, pollen, and other airborne particles that can cause runny eyes. This condition attracts insects that cause further irritation and discomfort. Fly masks are really helpful in protecting your horse’s face from outdoor elements, bugs, and sunburn.

When you’re out on the trail, or riding in the ring the Cashel Quiet Ride™ Fly Mask can give your horse a little more protection than the average ear bonnet. It fits like a regular mask and is made from lightweight material that won’t obscure vision.

For the ultra sensitive horse, leg guards help keep flies away and continual stomping and stress to a minimum. The Cashel Cool Crusader Leg Guards keep pests away from your sensitive legs and provide full coverage from the knee to the coronary band.

For more information on beating the bugs, check out The Dover Library:

How to Control Flies on the Farm

How to Protect Your Horse from Flies

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Horseshoe Studs

There are many good reasons for using horseshoe studs: They provide extra traction and gripping on slippery surfaces like grass or mud, and, because of these benefits, they can make all the difference when a rider is accelerating through sharp turns or high jumps. Horseshoe studs must be used properly, however — and that requires a thorough understanding of what to do and what not to do. So with that in mind, here’s a look at some of the top do’s and don’ts of using horseshoe studs:

  • DO choose the smallest studs you can. Studs come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You will need to choose the stud type based off the terrain that will be covered. Studs change the stance and the balance of your horse. This balance change increases as the stud size increases. Therefore, it is best to use the smallest studs that will work for the occasion.
  • DO insert studs just before using (and remove right after). When your horse is wearing horseshoe studs, it is very easy for injuries to occur. Your horse might step on himself damaging a hoof or leg. This is one of the reasons why you should only insert studs right before riding (and remove them immediately after using). If your horse lies down, it would be very easy to cause harm to their body or legs. Your horse may also scratch themselves using their hoof. If this happens with horseshoe studs on, your horse may unintentionally inflict serious damage to an ear or other sensitive body parts. Finally, it does not feel very good to the rider to have a foot stepped on by their horse. This is especially true if your horse is wearing studs.
  • DO protect your horse. The entire time your horse is wearing studs, be sure to have him wear protective horse boots, too. Leave your horse’s protective boots on until the studs are being removed. Likewise, if your horse will be taking large jumps, have him wear a belly guard or stud guard. It should always be the rider’s top priority to keep their horse safe from injury while wearing horseshoe studs.
  • DO practice: Always use studs at home before trying to use them at a horseshow or event. This way, you have ample time to practice putting them on and taking them off when you and your horse are in a relaxed environment. It is also imperative for your horse to get used to the balance changes that occur with the use of studs. Being away from home is not the best time to try this out for the first time.
  • DO use studs in pairs. This rule includes using one on each side of the hoof as well as on both the left and right hoof. Failure to do so could cause your horse balance and traction issues. Use similar height studs on the inside and outside of the shoe to provide better balance. When using grass tip type studs, place a duller stud to the inside to prevent your horse from injuring himself.
  • DO plug your stud holes when your horse is not using the studs.  If you leave the stud holes unplugged in your horseshoes and put your horse on pasture, it’s easy for dirt and debris to get stuck inside, closing up your stud holes. Fill the holes with rubber, cotton, or foam plugs or stud blanks. Forgetting to plug your stud holes can cause damage to the shoe threads and also potentially injure your horse.
  • DON’T place studs on a horse with signs of lameness. You should never put studs on a lame horse, so if your horse shows any signs of leg injury, don’t insert studs.
  • DON’T put a horse on hard surfaces in studs. Hard surfaces and studs don’t mix. This includes horse trailers, paved roads, and cement, to name a few.  Since the studs will be unable to sink into the hard surface, the studs will put undue pressure and stress on your horse’s legs.

In addition to the above tips, try to get an experienced farrier to show you how to insert the studs into horseshoes. Also, never leave your horse unattended with the studs inserted. By following all of these tips, you will help ensure the safety of your horse while getting the best use from your horseshoe studs.

Jessica Adcock is a lifelong equestrian and a member of the e-commerce team at Dover Saddlery, a leading retailer of quality English horse tack, supplies and riding apparel for horse and rider.

10 Fly Control Products to Protect Your Horse from Flies

Where there are horses, there are bound to be flies. Aside from being a nuisance to your horse, these pesky flies can lead to physical discomfort or illness. Every year, your horse will likely come into contact with a variety of fly types, including midges, house, stable, bot, deer, horse, and horn flies. These pests can cause frustration and illness as they land on and sometimes bite your horse. They are infamous for depositing the bacteria they’re carrying, leading to irritation, open sores, and disease.

Midges (commonly called black flies) can cause serious annoyance and effects on your horse. These swarming gnats love to feed in areas with running water. Streams and small creeks are a natural attraction to them. They also love aquatic plants and vegetation, including the moist dew typically found in horse pastures. These pests typically attack the head, ears, eyes, and nose. Not only can associated blood loss cause health issues, their saliva commonly causes intense itching, irritation, and swelling. The non-stop annoyance of these pests can cause your horses to relentlessly exhaust themselves trying to escape from the attacks. Some species of black flies can also cause vesicular stomatitus, a disease that can infect horses, cattle and pigs.

House flies breed in manure piles, trash, spilled feed, bedding, animal droppings, and any other area that might have decaying matter. They love barns. Even though this type of fly is non-biting, they can be very annoying to your horse. Since they typically live around moist, dirty conditions, they can carry considerable amounts of bacteria, and have the potential to transmit numerous diseases and parasites. They are drawn to cuts and scrapes on your horse, which can lead to infection in otherwise minor injuries.

The stable fly is also attracted to barns and horses. They breed in wet straw and manure, spilled feeds, grass clippings, and various other types of decaying vegetation. The stable fly feeds on blood several times a day, and can be a major nuisance to horses. Horses being bothered by stable flies will often kick and stomp since these pests love attacking horses’ legs and underneath the belly. Stable flies are known to be capable of transmitting disease, such as equine infectious anemia.

Bot flies attach their eggs to your horse’s legs. During this stage, your horse may incur weight-loss from running around or stomping. However, the direct impact comes from the eggs being ingested by your horse which happens by licking or biting at the afflicted areas. The mouth can develop sores and irritation causing a lack of appetite. Once your horse has fully ingested the bot eggs, the eggs hatch into larvae and attach to your horse’s stomach lining. This can cause colic, stomach blockages, ulcers, and anemia.

The deer fly and horse fly are both part of the family Tabanidae. They produce painful bites and inflict immediate pain to your horse. They penetrate the skin in a scissor-like action and pump anticoagulants into the wound to feed from your horse. Not only are these bites extremely painful and a source for infection, the bloody, sponge-like mouthpart of female deer and horse flies harvest numerous viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. In large numbers, these flies can cause anemia.

The horn fly is a blood-sucking fly that is most commonly seen around horses pastured with cattle. These flies typically swarm the animal which is not only irritating, but can also cause a loss of blood due to incessant biting. This can lead to anemia and weight loss, in addition to the stress they cause to horses.

Since flies can be a dangerous nuisance around the barn, it is essential to provide fly prevention in the stable. The care you provide your horse during fly season will protect and relieve your horse from fly-related irritations and illness. Good fly control around your horse’s body and face using fly sheets and fly masks is vital to a healthy, comfortable horse.

Here are ten fly control products can help you in the effort to protect your horse from flies.

Ten Products to Control Flies around Your Horse

  1. Rider’s International Stretch Micro Mesh Fly Sheet. This soft, breathable mesh fabric conforms to your horse’s shape while also stretching with movement. Protects your horse from insects, sun and dust.
  2. Rambo® Fly Buster™ Fly Sheet. This lightweight long-wearing sheet is ultra breathable and features the No Fly Zone™ technology. The odorless, colorless No Fly Zone™ technology helps to repels flies, ants, ticks, chiggers, and midges and remains effective through 70 washings. Also protects against UV damage and sun bleaching.
  3. Farnam Swat Clear Ointment. Protect wounds, the ears and other areas around the face with this botanically derived ointment.
  4. Absorbine UltraShield EX. Moisture from your horse’s sweat attracts flies. This water-based formula repels biting insects for up to 17 days, while also providing a coat conditioner and sunscreen. Provides a weatherproof and sweat resistant formula.
  5. Cashel® Cool Crusader™ Fly MaskProvides excellent protection from pests and harmful UV rays. Durable and comfortable. Many design options available, including, with or without ears, as well as a standard nose length or long nose that protects the nostril area.
  6. Flies Be Gone TrapThis non-toxic fly trap effectively decreases the fly population in a 50- to 100-yard area for up to four weeks at a time.
  7. BuggzoDried apple cider vinegar that’s pH-buffered and aroma-controlled garlic are the mainstays behind this eco-friendly bug repellant. A truly palatable garlic-vinegar based feed-through fly protection.
  8. Fly Predators. Get a little help from nature with fly control problems. These tiny flies will not sting, bother or bite you or your horses, but they will destroy flies in the cocoon stage, thereby reducing the population.
  9. Fly Country Vet® Dispenser Kit†. A battery operated automatic fly and insect repellant dispenser. Repels and kills flies, mosquitoes, and gnats 24-hours a day for 30 days.
  10. Fly Wraps®. Protects your horse’s sensitive legs from pests. Soft shearling lining and imbedded stays. 24 hour protection. Comes in a set of 4.

 

Tips for Discouraging Fly Populations

  • Keep manure and trash away from areas frequented by horses
  • Control moisture that attracts flies
  • Maintain clean stalls, aisles, pastures, and confinement areas for your horses
  • Use large fans to keep flies away
  • Turn off barn or stall lights, which attract flies

Consistent Fly Control Treatment Produces Results

Particularly during peak fly season, it’s critical to apply fly control products to your horse on a daily basis. Likewise, maintaining a clean environment for your horse will reduce the attraction for flies and the laying of eggs, which exacerbates the situation. We have a large variety of products available to help you protect your horses’ comfort and health.

Jessica Adcock is a lifelong equestrian and a member of the e-commerce team at Dover Saddlery, a leading retailer of quality English horse tack, supplies and riding apparel for horse and rider.

7 Horse Grooming Supplies

Grooming is an important part of caring for a horse and maintaining horse health. A daily maintenance regiment can help prevent nagging skin and hoof conditions from occurring and escalating down the road—scratches, thrush, etc. After a tough winter for horses and riders alike, your grooming kit may be in need of resupply. Here are seven horse grooming supplies you shouldn’t be without this spring!

1. Curry Comb/ Shedding Blade: Your horse brushes can only do so much! A good curry will help lift dirt, dander, and shedding hair from your horse’s healthy coat. The course rubber fingers on the Oster Curry Comb and the Jr. Grooma Groomer are ideal for the job. For unclipped horses, a shedding blade with metal teeth does wonders for thinning out a thick winter coat and removing caked on mud. Don’t use this product on your horse’s face or legs.

2. Brushes: Every horse grooming kit should contain at least two types of horse brush—a stiff brush (to remove dirt, mud, and dried sweat) and a softer body brush (to clean dust and add shine). Personally, I’m a huge fan of flick brushes because the long, flexible bristles make brushing off dirt and dust easier and more efficient. The high quality and wide selection of Winner’s Circle brushes has made this brand particularly popular. To keep your brushes clean and looking like new, try soaking them in Brush Therapy.

3. Horse Clippers and Clipper Blades: A good set of horse clippers makes the task a whole lot easier. Check out the Oster Variable Speed Clipmaster—a model well suited for full body clipping. The 2-speed Oster Turbo A-5 is great for smaller jobs, such as clipping the ears, legs, and face. To prevent scratches, keep pasterns trimmed and dry. On the go, use the battery operated Wahl Pocket Pro to trim your horse’s whiskers.

4. Mane, Tail, and Coat Spray: Before running a comb through your horse’s tail, help protect it. Car & Day & Martin Canter Mane and Tail Detangler eases tangles, conditions, and adds healthy shine. Until the weather warms up enough to give your equine companion a full bath, Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover provides the no-rinse solution to dissolving manure, dirt, and sweat stains.

5. Hoof Pick and Hoof Conditioner: Hoof care is a critical part of keeping your horse healthy. Pick feet on a daily basis, especially after turn-out and before and after your ride. Wet conditions foster the growth of thrush. By removing mud from the frog and sole areas, the risk of thrush development is significantly mitigated. Condition and restore brittle hooves on an as needed basis with Absorbine Hooflex Therapeutic Conditioner Liquid.

6. Liniment: As the spring/ summer horse show season begins to ramp up, our horses’ muscles and tendons are working harder than ever. Help relieve soreness and inflammation with horse liniments like Sore No-More and Vetrolin Liniment Gel.

7. Fly Spray: Be prepared for bug season. There are many great products on the market to keep your horse pest free. Choose fly spray based on the types of bugs in your area and on the sensitivity of your horses’ skin. Ultrashield Ex is a quality product that protects against mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas, ticks, and gnats. Swat Clear Ointment is the perfect solution for protecting cuts and other sensitive areas from house flies, stable flies, and face flies.

For more horse grooming supplies, check out our Horse Care section.

Your Turn: What’s In Your Horse Grooming Kit?

We love hearing from riders! What’s your horse grooming routine? What horse grooming supplies are must-haves for you and your horse? What are your favorite horse care products?

Muck Boots Are a Must-Have for Spring Stable Chores

The advent of spring in the equestrian community has been affirmed! Horses and riders are returning from their winter hideouts in Ocala, Wellington, Aiken and Thermal. Outdoor riding rings across the country are becoming serviceable, and the spring horse shows in Culpepper, Saratoga, and Parker are on the horizon.

With the arrival of spring, barns, paddocks, and horse show grounds will inevitably become ankle deep with mud. Whether you’re a trainer, rider, groom, or spectator, a reliable pair of waterproof muck boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable in any wet or muddy venue.

There are a ton of options to choose from when shopping for a muck boot. After testing some of the boots myself and surveying my fellow horse savvy co-workers, I am able to offer a few thoughts that will help you choose the muck boot that’s right for your feet!

Mudruckers

Mudruckers Muck BootsMudruckers makes quality products while keeping your budget in mind. The unisex Mudruckers Tall Boot is 100% waterproof with a reinforced rubber toe, a stretchy neoprene calf, and Comfort-Flo lining that wicks moisture to keep feet dry and warm. In comparison to its Muck Boot Company equivalent, this boot is equally comfortable and lighter weight with a deeper tread.

Conclusion: The Mudruckers Tall Boot is an excellent value.

Muck Boot Company

The Original Muck Boot Company is renowned for its durable, high quality performance footwear. The distinctive design and tailored cut of the new Reign Tall makes this boot both functional and flattering. Like the Tack Classic, The Reign is highly durable and 100% waterproof. However, this particular model is unique (and awesome!) because it has been designed specifically for a woman’s foot. For those who prefer a muck boot without the clunky feel, the Reign Tall is definitely the way to go. The XPressCool interior lining truly makes this boot more breathable than other models (I took them for a test drive). As an added bonus, these boots are suitable to ride in; the toe, heel (complete with spur rest), and tread have been designed to fit safely and appropriately into a stirrup.The four-way stretch neoprene calf will comfortably accommodate jeans, riding tights, or breeches.

Conclusion: For women, the Reign Tall is the lowest profile and most comfortable boot made by Muck Boot Company.

Noble Outfitters

Noble Outfitters Muck BootsThe Noble Outfitters Muds Tall Boot is a new muck boot also designed specifically for women. This boot offers a superior comfortable footbed (with arch support), as well as the best tread for slippery conditions. The upper is made from industrial grade rubber and features a reinforced toe and heel, making these boots both durable and protective. The neoprene calf is lined with ultra breathable and moisture wicking mesh to help you stay cool.

Conclusion: The Muds Tall Boot is a comfortable, well made muck boot for women at a reasonable price.

We’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite pair of muck boots?