WeatherBeeta® Therapy-Tec Makes Lives Better for Horses & Dogs

A YellowLabrador is facing forwards and lying on top of a black dog bed with red trim. The dog and bed are set against a white background.

At Dover Saddlery, we always look for ways to make our animals comfortable, healthy, and happy. When we discovered WeatherBeeta® Therapy-Tec products for horses and dogs, we had to add them to our product lineup!

Therapy-Tec involves powerful ceramic powder blended into technical fabrics that are then applied to a variety of products for horses and dogs. The ceramic fabrics in these products reflect the animal’s body heat through infrared waves, creating a soothing thermal heat. These infrared waves produce multiple beneficial effects on the animal’s body.

  • Increases circulation: By boosting blood flow, it promotes efficient oxygen delivery to tissues. Used before exercise, increased circulation helps warm muscles and prepare them to function well during exertion. It may help reduce the risk of muscle injury during warmup.
  • Supports muscle function: It eases muscle strain, stiffness and soreness. It also supports the body’s natural abilities to reduce swelling and promote healing.
  • Speeds recovery: By reducing lactic acid buildup in muscles after exercise, it decreases the time it takes for muscles to recover from exertion. It also helps support speedier healing of prior injuries.
     
  • Enhances relaxation: The gentle thermal heat soothes the body’s tissues and eases pain associated with arthritis. The reduction in discomfort and tension promotes well-being and calmness.
A brown horse with a white stripe on it's face is shown wearing a WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec Sheet. The sheet is black with red and white trim, it also covers the horse's neck. There are four key features pointed out on the sheet:

Ceramic Fabric Technology: A ceramic powder with long lasting properties blended within the fabric lining that will not wash out. This technology reflects the horse's own body heat via infrared waves (thermal heat). Fleece outer fabric wicks away moisture.

Increases Circulation:
Boosts the horse's blood circulation and encourages oxygen supply to the tissues assisting to warm up the muscles and improve muscle function.

Muscle Function:
Eases muscle strain and soreness enhancing the horse's own ability to reduce swelling and heat.

Recovery:
Speeds up recovery and enhances relaxation.

Because ceramic powder is integrated into WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec material, it provides ongoing therapy when the product is used, and it never washes away. Each product in the Therapy-Tec collection comes with specific care instructions; we recommend you follow the instructions carefully to ensure the longevity of your item. 

Note: As wonderful as Therapy-Tec products are, they are NOT recommended for use with pregnant mares or pregnant dogs.

Therapy-Tec for Horses

Horses of any age or performance level, including retirees, benefit from Therapy-Tec horse clothing at home or during travel. Choose from:

  • Therapy-Tec Quarter Sheet to target your horse’s hindquarters during warmups, cool-downs or hacks in cool or cold weather. 
A dapple grey horse is shown standing in the hallway of a barn with it's face turned to the right. The horse is wearing a WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec sheet. The sheet is black with red and white trim.
Therapy-Tec Standard Neck Sheet
A dapple grey horse is shown standing on a paved road against a background of green trees. The horse is wearing a WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec Combo Neck Sheet that covers it's body and neck. The sheet is black with red and white trim.
Therapy-Tec Combo Neck Sheet
A dapple grey horse is shown facing away from the camera, standing on a paved road against a background of green trees and a stone wall. The horse is wearing a WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec Quarter Sheet that covers it's hindquarters. The sheet is black with red and white trim. The horse is also wearing a black bridle and saddle with a white saddle pad.
Therapy-Tec Quarter Sheet

All these items deliver Therapy-Tec benefits while also providing breathability and moisture wicking for an optimal inner climate.

Due to the profound effects of Therapy-Tec horse clothing, we advise gradually introducing these products to your horse. Increase wearing time from an initial two hours on the first day over the course of subsequent days to allow your horse to become accustomed to its effects. 

Therapy-Tec for Dogs

Whether your dog is young, active or senior, Therapy-Tec assists with pain management, inflammation and muscle recovery post-exercise.

The Therapy-Tec Dog Bed is shown. It is a square black bed with four sides and red trim. It is shown against a white background.

Choose the Therapy-Tec Dog Bed if your dog suffers from pain associated with arthritis and hip dysplasia, especially over cold winter months. This bed is also ideal for active dogs to warm up or relax and recover before or after they play. It features an all-around ceramic fleece lining inside a durable, washable outer, with plenty of plump cushioning for comfort.

A Yellow Labrador is shown standing in a grass field with a background of trees. The dog is wearing a black Therapy-Tec Dog Coat with red and white trim. The blanket has a single belly strap and a grey chest strap that fastens in the front.

When your dog is out and about, the Therapy-Tec Dog Coat makes the soothing thermal heat portable. It works to help reduce lactic acid buildup, aids with pain management and inflammation associated with arthritis, and can also be used to simply keep your companion warm and comfortable. It’s cozy, breathable, and moisture-wicking, too!

Browse our selection of WeatherBeeta Therapy-Tec products for horses and dogs here.

Already enjoying the effects of Therapy-Tec? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Fly Boots & Wraps: An Easy Solution to Multiple Problems

The belly and four legs of a white horse is shown standing in a grassy field. The horse is wearing a white mesh fly sheet with green trim and buckles across the belly, and grey mesh wraps with four dark green Velcro straps on each wrap to secure them to each of the four legs.

Most of us—and our horses—have flies on our minds as the month of May arrives. For some horses and riders in warm areas, flies have never stopped being a nuisance all winter. For those of us in colder climates, flies will soon be buzzing alongside horses in turnout, under saddle, in the stable, or wherever we go.

Stable flies bite, inflicting a stabbing pinprick of pain followed by intense itching. House flies flit from one spot to another, spreading germs, causing irritation, and creating distraction. While we are annoyed by these pests, horses can become incredibly distressed and anxious as flies land on their legs.

Horses will stomp repeatedly to try to shake flies free of their legs, and extremely sensitive-skinned horses may begin to pace or run as their distress increases. As a result of these evasive actions, a horse can experience:

  • Loose or lost shoes. (Repeated stomping or pacing may cause horseshoes to loosen or worse, a horse may accidentally rip off a shoe and damage a hoof.)
  • Wear and tear on leg joints. (Repeated stomping adds impact stress to the joints of a horse’s legs.)
  • Self-inflicted injuries to the lower legs. (While stomping or pacing, a horse’s own hoof or shoes can accidentally cut or bruise another leg.)
Two horse legs are shown standing on grass. There are grey mesh wraps with blue velcro fastened around the legs.

A set of fly boots, also called fly wraps, will help your horse avoid this distress. Fly boots create a breathable barrier around the lower legs right down to the coronary bands of the hooves. Made of durable mesh-like materials, many styles of fly boots have soft fleece trim or bindings that keep dirt as well as insects out. Contouring adds comfort, and features such as stays or elastic inserts help keep them in place. Hook-and-loop fasteners make these boots easy to put on and adjust, yet keep them secure during wearing. For fun, many fly wraps come in colors to match fly sheets and fly mask collections.

Browse our selection of fly boots and fly wraps here.

Does your horse have favorite fly gear? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Schooling Apparel: How Every Rider Benefits

A woman is riding a brown horse with a sunny background. The horse and rider are facing right. The rider is wearing a black helmet, an orange shirt with blue pants. The horse is wearing a brown bridle with a brown saddle and a multi-color saddle pad.

What is schooling apparel, and why do you want it? Loosely defined, we refer to the class of riding clothes not intended for competition as schooling apparel. It encompasses knee-patch and full-seat breeches, quarter-zip or polo shirts, plus lightweight, streamlined jackets and vests. Why is this clothing desirable for riders as opposed to t-shirts, jeans, any old tight or jacket? The answer is multifaceted: hardworking performance materials, rider-specific design features and equestrian tradition.  

Hardworking Materials

Most of the breeches and riding shirts you’ll find today are made from performance fabrics. These fabrics are constructed or treated to provide breathability, meaning your body heat vapors can escape, and you’re less likely to overheat.

A rider and horse are riding in an arena with palm trees in the background. Both the horse and rider are racing the camera. The rider is wearing a black helmet, aqua shirt, grey pants and black boots. The horse is tan and is wearing a black bridle and saddle, and white polo wraps.

Moisture-wicking action achieved through natural fiber content, a funnel-like weave or a chemical treatment means the fabric moves wetness away from you and the inner surface of the fabric to the outer surface for evaporation. You stay drier, and the fabric never feels heavy or wet. Cooling technology, an enhancement to moisture wicking, actively converts perspiration to a refrigerant while creating a cooling sensation on your skin.

Performance fabrics also promote your athleticism and freedom of movement. They contain some form of elastic fibers, or built-in stretch is achieved through fabric construction so the item can move with your body rather than restrict it.

Lastly, while all fabrics provide some degree of protection from ultraviolet rays, performance fabrics often have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating clearly stating how much sun coverage it will provide. What does UPF50 mean? It indicates that 1/50th of UV rays can penetrate the fabric to reach your skin.  

Rider-Specific Design Features

While breeches, with their grippy knee patches and full seats, are quite obviously made to keep you in the tack, riding shirts, vests and jackets have design features that once you experience, you won’t want to ride without.

A rider with a black helmet, purple shirt, light purple pants and black boots is sitting on a brown horse. There is a woman with dark brown hair, sunglasses, a pink sweater, tan pants, and black boots holding onto the horse's bridle. They are standing in front of a barn facing to the left.

Riding shirts are typically made to provide a streamlined, figure-flattering fit. The fit is more than just attractive—it’s practical. It helps maintain a profile that enables a trainer to clearly see your riding position, and it lies smoothly under a sweater, vest or jacket with no uncomfortable bulk to encumber your riding. Many riding shirts, including polo shirts, have curved or dropped back hems to keep you covered as you move whether the hem is untucked or tucked into your waistband. Zippered plackets on the fronts of many shirts offer quick and easy adjustable ventilation.

Riding vest and jackets also support your in-saddle silhouette with many having a fitted cut, an adjustable waist or a back-waist belt detail. A two-way front zipper, a back riding vent or rear gussets make sitting in the saddle most comfortable. These features allow your outerwear to clear your saddle rather than riding up or catching under your seat. Jackets often have a removable hood or a snap to secure the hood to the back panel to prevent it from flapping.

Equestrian Traditions

Horse sports are steeped in tradition with an emphasis on polished turnout for horse and rider. One tradition is for riders to dress neatly and smartly when schooling at competitions, participating in riding clinics or taking lessons. Avid riders respect themselves and uphold the heritage of their sport by presenting a clean appearance with attention to detail. Shirts are tucked in, belt loops are threaded with belt, boots are polished, breeches are free of stains—and every piece fits well.

These days, dressing like a professional rider doesn’t mean you can’t wear bright colors or head-turning prints. Plenty of styles for schooling and training are available to please every rider, from the fashion-forward, to those who love bold color, to those who appreciate the most classic looks. The key is to choose items that fit and flatter your shape and your riding position and to wear colors and prints with pride.

To expand your equestrian wardrobe, browse our selection of schooling apparel here.

Do you have favorite schooling outfit? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Spring Cleaning: The Wise Rider’s Way

The right hand and torso of a person wearing a zip up hoodie is shown cleaning their black dressage saddle with saddle soap. The saddle is sitting on a wooden fence. Next to it are a pile of bridles also hanging on the fence.

Welcome March, the month when some folks embark on home spring-cleaning frenzies. Around here, our idea of spring cleaning focuses on tack. Spring marks a perfect time to thoroughly inspect and recondition your horse’s leather tack, whether you’ve competed in warm places all winter, continued training despite frigid temps, or simply enjoyed downtime with your horse.

If you’re like us, signs of wear or gradual decline in leather condition are easy to ignore in busy daily riding routines, and repairs are easy to postpone. These issues can be addressed best now, with ample time for repair or replacement, before local riding activities gain full swing. As added benefits, reconditioned tack is more comfortable for your horse to wear, safer for both of you, and it supports a maximum return on your investment.

Inspect All Tack

Just as your skin suffers abrasions and dryness from irritants such as sand and sweat, your leather does, too. Regular use can degrade leather even if you diligently wipe away grime as recommended after every ride. Saddles and bridles that have been stored improperly can dry out, grow mold and mildew or be compromised by rodents, sunlight, varying temperatures, and other environmental factors.

Look closely at each piece of your horse’s leather tack for areas under pressure during use or where sweat or saliva may collect, such as:

  • Reins and cheek pieces where they attach to bit rings.
  • Saddle billets where they buckle to the girth.
  • Stirrup leathers where irons and buckles cause creases.
  • Girths along the full length, from buckles to elastic inserts to linings.   
  • Halters where hardware meets leather.  
A close-up of a stirrup iron attached to a stirrup leather is shown. The stirrup leather is dark brown, almost black and the stirrup is made of shiny black metal.
A close-up is shown of a stirrup leather attached to the hook of a saddle underneath the protective flap.
The underside of the crown piece of a blue halter is shown against a dark grey background. The blue leather is cracked and worn.

Any cracked or torn leather may break at the worst time—during a ride or while handling a horse. These areas indicate hazard and necessitate repair or replacement. Check that all stitching is tight and intact; loose stitching on stirrup leathers, saddles or girths also poses risk.

Inspect and touch any surface that lies directly against your horse, such as girth linings or padding in bridles and halters. Although not an immediate safety hazard, any item that feels rough should be budgeted for replacement or repair to protect your horse’s skin from chafing and to ensure optimal comfort.

Note: Some leatherwork professionals won’t repair reins, girths or stirrup leathers as a safety precaution. Saddle billet straps are replaceable, and some bridle and halter repairs are worth the expense. Generally, bridle parts and reins are readily replaceable at any budget to eliminate the need for repair.

Clean & Condition

When you’re satisfied with the quality of your tack, give it a thorough once-over using your favorite leather cleaner. Now is the time to take apart a bridle, martingale or breastplate and remove grunge from creases. Warm water and a soft toothbrush can help you get grime out of crevices. Turn your saddle upside down and clean all nooks and crannies. Once the leather is dry, follow up with a nourishing leather conditioner or leather balm.

Browse our entire selection of leather care products here.

Do you have an example of extreme tack wear? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Time for a Halter Makeover

The neck and head of a brown horse wearing a brown leather halter is shown standing to the right side of the image. The horse is standing in front of a grassy field with jumps in the background.

As we handle our horses each day, we might not notice a problem developing with the way our horses’ halters fit. Leather halters in particular stretch with use, cleaning and conditioning, but even web halters with breakaway leather crowns can loosen over time.

A periodic review of your horse’s halter fit is a wise step toward keeping your horse safe and comfortable. A loose halter can slide off accidentally or ensnare a hoof; a halter that is too tight can dig into skin or interfere with a horse’s breathing, chewing or swallowing.

Many manufacturers offer halters. If you follow our fitting guidelines but cannot achieve a satisfactory fit on your horse, try a halter from a different manufacturer. A horse that is difficult to fit is best suited for a halter with a double-buckle crown and an adjustable chin.

Here’s how we like to ensure a proper halter fit:

1. Adjust the crownpiece, which will impact the placement of the noseband, the looseness of the throatlatch and the angle of the cheek pieces against your horse’s face. The crownpiece should fit over the poll, close to the back of your horse’s ears, but not press into them. Some halters have buckles on both sides of the crownpiece, and some have only one buckle on the left side. In the case of two buckles, try to use symmetrical holes for the crownpiece setting.

2. Check the noseband of the halter. It should sit about halfway between your horse’s eyes and nostrils, resting under the cheekbones so that the metal hardware joining the nose piece, chin strap and cheek piece does not press into the bones.

Adjust the noseband snugly using two to three fingers’ width between it and your horse’s face as a guideline. Some nosebands do not have buckles for adjustment. If this is the case with your halter, take extra care to be sure that you can obtain the optimum position of the noseband by raising or lowering the crownpiece with buckle, and that the noseband isn’t too loose or too tight.

If the cheek pieces are too long or the crownpiece is adjusted too loosely, the noseband will sit too low on your horse’s muzzle. In this case, it may impair your horse’s breathing or in extreme cases, slip over your horse’s nose.

3. Check the throatlatch, which should rest under your horse’s head where the neck meets the jowls. You should be able to fit three to four fingers into the throatlatch area to be sure your horse can breathe and swallow, but this spacing will not enable your horse to get a foot caught in that strap if he lowers his head.

4. Check the cheek pieces. Ideally, they should sit parallel to the cheek bones. If the throatlatch is too short or too long, or the crownpiece is not adjusted correctly, then the cheek pieces will not be able to run parallel to the cheek bones.

To browse our entire selection of halters, click here.

We want to see your #dovermodels in their halters, share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Our New Year’s Resolution: Clean Brushes, Shiny Horse

Five brushes are in a metal basket that is hung on a wooden wall. The grooming brushes all have wooden handles with different colored bristles.

What better time of year than January to take a good hard look at your horse’s grooming tools? Do your brushes have dented bristles or are they clumped with sebum and grime? Are your curries dull or clogged with dirt and hair? You can maximize the health benefits of grooming your horse—and create an experience more enjoyable for both of you—by using clean brushes and replacing items that are worn out. Hygienic grooming tools care for your horse’s skin best and bring out your horse’s shine.

We recommend cleaning brushes and curries once monthly to remove buildup. If at some point you encounter a skin disease in your horse, be sure to isolate the brushes and curries used on the affected areas and clean them more frequently.

We love this economical and effective way of cleaning grooming tools: fill a bucket or sink with hot water and mix in Dawn® Dish Washing Liquid, which will lift out grease and rinse well. If the brushes are all synthetic with plastic handles, a splash of bleach can be added to the mix. Bleach is drying to natural-bristled brushes with wooden handles, so it should only be used on this type of brush when suspicion of skin disease or other equine illness is present. Another way to sanitize brushes is to add a moderate amount of Listerine® Mouthwash to the wash water—it smells fresh and can help kill bacteria.

Soak the brushes for several minutes, agitating them to loosen dirt. Rinse and repeat the process until the water is no longer discolored and you don’t see any soap suds. Rinsing thoroughly is important to prevent a buildup of soap residue in the brush bristles. Spread your clean horse brushes on a towel in a warm location or in the sun where they can drain and dry thoroughly before returning them to their storage tote.

A grooming tote made from black canvas is hanging from a metal pole. There are piles of hay bales in the background and the tote is filled with brushes, curry combs, hoof picks, and spray bottles.

As an added tip to get the most out of your brushes, always store them in a way that protects the bristles from being crimped or smashed. Many types of grooming totes are available, but no matter which you use, stand your brushes on end so that each is balanced on the tip of the handle. Alternatively, you can gently nestle the bristles of two brushes together so that they interlock for storage.

To browse our entire selection of grooming tools and other horse care items, click here.

We want to know how you love to spend time at the barn grooming your horse; share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

The World of Breyer: Sharing the Magic of Horses

What better time than the holiday season to celebrate the magic of Breyer® Model Horses? Breyer Animal Creations® as a company has spread joy and inspired dreams among horse lovers young and young-at-heart since its serendipitous inception in 1950. For many of us here at Dover Saddlery, the first horse we ever owned was a Breyer creation. We played with the model horses, lined our shelves with them, named them and loved them—and we’re willing to bet many of our customers have fond memories of their own Breyer collections, too.

A Breyer Christmas Ornament is shown. A brown horse facing to the left is hanging from a red ribbon.

Every year, as Breyer’s Holiday Horse makes its debut in all its festive finery, we feel that same spark of wonder and excitement we had as children whenever a new model horse was introduced. We take pleasure at gifting Breyer model horses to the children in our lives, treasure keepsake Breyer Christmas ornaments, and let our imaginations delight in the intricacies of the latest Breyer stable or horse transport.

From the detailed recreations of the world’s most famous competitive equines, to breed-specific models, to fanciful unicorns, and the annual Halloween Horse—Breyer never disappoints. Each lifelike model horse tells a story. Hundreds of accessories, figurines, companion animal models, play sets, and craft kits round out the Breyer experience, all supported by a wide network of Breyer events, model horse shows, clubs and more. And to think, Breyer as we know it today was formed by a happy accident!

#57 Wester Horse produced by Breyer in 1950. The horse is light brown with a gold colored western saddle and bridle. It is being viewed to the side with the horse facing left.
Breyer’s #57 Western Horse

The story began in Chicago, Illinois with Breyer Molding Company filling industry needs as a plastics manufacturer. F.W. Woolworth Company commissioned a special order to accent a mantelpiece clock—it was the #57 Western Horse—and no one could predict how that single commissioned model would lead to a thriving specialty business with a worldwide following of fans of all ages. Woolworth’s clock made its debut in 1950 on the shelves of the department store, and the Breyer Molding Company was soon flooded with requests from people who wanted to purchase just the horse! The Breyer Molding Company’s business focus thus changed forever, taking on the goal of making the world’s finest model horses.

Each model horse is created in resin based on an artist’s highly detailed and creative sculpture. It is painted to reflect authenticity, quality and realism, all with the goal of delivering the most high-quality toy or collectible the world has to offer. To hold a Breyer model horse in your hand is to enter the magical world of horses—no matter how young or how old you may be.

Click here to shop our wide selection of Breyer Horses and Accessories.

Do you have a favorite model horse? Or, pictures of your Breyer Horse Collection? Share them with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Equestrian Country Boots: Iconic Style with a Punch of Practicality

A pair of legs from the thigh down are shown standing in a grassy field. The person is wearing tall country boots over knee-high socks and blue pants.
A pair of tall country boots made from brown leather and light brown suede. The boots have laces at the top and black tread on the bottom.

If you haven’t experienced country boots yet, November is a good month to pull on a pair. Ruggedly protective and remarkably stylish, this versatile ladies’ footwear takes you anywhere in comfort despite chilly or wet weather. You can traipse through soggy paddocks, exercise your dog, or stroll through a day of window shopping— these distinctive boots keep feet dry while reflecting an enviable equestrian aesthetic. They partner perfectly with breeches, tights and jeans, and some designs even have stirrup-friendly outsoles to allow an impromptu ride.

A step up in casual style from traditional rain or muck boots, lifestyle boots are crafted from a variety of leathers and resilient textiles that stand up to wear and maintain their good looks. Waterproof treatments or waterproof membrane construction keep weather and mud out; inside, technical materials may be used to wick moisture and provide breathability to maintain a dry climate.

A pair of light brown country boots. The boots are mid-calf height with black tread on the bottom.

Outsoles feature long-lasting tread patterns designed to keep you on your feet as weather conditions vary throughout the year. Most in the category are tall boots, but individuals preferring mid-calf or ankle-high styles will not be disappointed with the variety of shorter boots available. And, these great boots come at all price points, ensuring a pair exists to fit every budget.

We love our country boots so much that we offer nearly as many styles of them as we do traditional riding boots and from all the top bootmakers. Here’s why:

  • Timeless: Classic silhouettes and equestrian-inspired details never look out of style.
  • Versatile: They’re hardwearing and easy to wear anywhere from the stable to streets to hiking on trails.
  • Stirrup-friendly: Some models feature outsoles and heels designed for casual riding.
  • Muck or groom: The tall height keeps stall bedding and barn debris out and your feet clean.
  • Closed, hard toes: Naturally tough foot construction is protective if a horse should step on your foot.
  • Deep treads: Lug outsoles provide good traction on slippery footing.
  • Pant legs stay dry and clean: The boots slip on easily over the bottoms of breeches, jeans and tights, creating a cool look and keeping your hems protected.

Most of all, we love our country boots because they’re comfortable. Cushioned insoles, weatherproof construction, and adjustable features such as drawstring cuffs or buckle gussets combine to ensure your feet are pampered during a long day at the barn—or anywhere else life takes you.

Browse our entire selection of country boots here.

Do you have a favorite pair of country boots? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Coolers for Cold Weather: How to Cool Your Horse Properly

A dark bay horse is standing in front of a barn wearing a black fleece cooler.

As the month of October ushers in lower temperatures, we horse owners and riders dig out the coolers we packed away last spring—or consider shopping for a fresh one! Coolers are a time-tested means of caring for our hot or sweaty horses properly after a workout in cool or brisk weather.

A cooler keeps a horse’s warm muscles and wet skin protected from uncomfortable chills that could otherwise cause muscle stiffness or overall make a horse susceptible to illness. Covered, the freshly worked muscles can recover gradually from exertion while the cooler wicks moisture away from the horse and helps hair and skin dry most efficiently. A cooler can also be helpful in warming and drying a horse after a bath or a rain shower when temperatures turn a bit brisk.

Commonly made of wool or synthetic fleece fabrics, coolers come at a variety of price points and in a variety of styles and colors from the most basic to those with prints, plaids, contrast trims, embroidery, or brand decorations. Some models feature advanced technical fabrics to increase efficiency and provide rapid cooling—perfect for riders on a tight timeline. A simple cooler can become an amazing one when you add your own personal monogram with your horse’s name, stable name, or your initials.

A bay horse is shown wearing a black American style cooler with blue trim.

The original American Cooler style is a large rectangular piece of wool with colored bindings and that may have ties at the neck or brow and tail straps. This type of cooler drapes over the horse entirely, from jawline to tail. American style coolers can still be seen today, usually as a treasured vintage item prized by its owner for ease of use and efficiency. It should be worn by a horse that is being walked, handled or very closely monitored, as it can slide and entangle a stabled horse if it rolls in the cooler.  

A horse is standing in front of barn doors wearing a black and blue fleece plaid cooler.

Most commonly, coolers today are more fitted styles cut like a stable sheet, leaving the neck exposed. Others fit right up the neck to the jawline and secure along the under-neck with hook-and-loop fastenings. This type of cooler can be left on a horse that is stalled and unattended if it secures at the front, belly and has a tail cord. A fitted cooler can also be used in cold weather as a base layer under a blanket.

Remove & Replace

Just as important as getting a cooler onto a horse promptly is removing it promptly when you see a dew-like coating formed along the top surface of the cooler. A saturated cooler can no longer wick moisture and prevent drafts. Sometimes, a very wet or sweaty horse will require one or two changes of coolers during the cooling and drying process, so it is always good to have an extra, dry cooler on hand.

 


Browse our entire selection of horse coolers and anti-sweat sheets here.

Do you have a favorite cooler? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Body Protectors & Inflatable Vests: Beyond the Cross-Country Course

Horse and rider are jumping over a cross country jump. The view is looking up towards the sky from below the horse and rider.

Three-day event riders on cross-country courses have long enjoyed the added coverage and confidence provided by the two main types of riding vests on the market today: traditional body protector vests and inflatable vests. At competitions, a protective vest is required to be worn in warmup for and during the cross-country test at any level. An inflatable vest is permitted in competition when worn over the traditional protective vest.

While neither of these vests is required to be worn during everyday riding in any discipline, we’ve witnessed an uptick in riders across equestrian sports choosing to wear one for added safety. We’re seeing these products in schooling rings, at the highest levels of showjumping competition, in the hunter ring and during dressage competitions—no USEF rule prohibits their use in front of a judge. Often these vests are used while working with young or fractious horses, during rider injury rehabilitation, and even on trail rides. The extra protection offered by this equipment has proven to be an asset. Some parents choose to have their children wear a body protector during regular lessons.

Body Protector Vest

Green eventing body protector vest

This type relies on foam to help dissipate shock and lessen severity of injuries in the event of a fall.  It is designed to protect the rider’s abdomen, internal organs, chest and ribs, and it offers a degree of protection against potentially dangerous objects while riding. These vests flex with the rider and allow for full mobility in various riding positions.

Outer fabrics are durable and give riders a chance to express personal style for those models in which colors or custom colors are available. Correct sizing to achieve accurate coverage is essential and is determined by a series of simple measurements. For a detailed description on fitting a protective vest, refer to our article here.

Inflatable Vest

An air vest is generally not considered to be a replacement for a traditional body protector vest. It is worn over a body protector vest to provide increased impact protection in the event of a fall.

Black inflatable eventing vest

An air vest has a cord or a lanyard that attaches to the saddle. If the rider is ejected from the saddle, the cord or lanyard triggers the vest’s activation device, which is fueled by a CO2 canister. In turn, this action punctures the air canister, which instantly releases air to inflate the vest before the rider hits the ground. 

Most air vests have protection zones which include chambers around the jaw to stabilize the head and neck, a protective area around the thorax and torso, and an area across the chest to protect the sternum and ribs. Some models have cushions to protect the rider’s hips.

While the air vest is reusable, after deployment a replacement canister must be installed. Outer fabrics are tough, wipe clean easily and are mostly black with some limited color options available. Sizing is simple and runs according to a rider’s weight and height.

Browse our entire selection of safety vests here.

Do you ride in a safety vest? Share your action photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!