Sun Shirts: Portable Shade for Riders

Three riders are on their horses wearing sun shirts to protect themselves from the sun while they ride.

Summer riding is here! We equestrians love our long days at the barn, outdoor training sessions, attending shows, and simply enjoying sunshine with our horses. Particularly for those of us in the Northern regions of the United States, summer is a time of adventure with our horses and for soaking up sunlight for as long as possible, every day, right up until the sun sets.  This is the way it has always been in the equestrian lifestyle, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

As we go about keeping our horses healthy and strong, we too have to keep ourselves healthy. An outdoor lifestyle with plenty of fresh air and exercise is a proven way to stay strong. Unfortunately, being outside means we’re exposed to damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. It’s a major cause of skin cancer, which is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. The good news is we live in a world of technological advancements in fabrics that can protect us from the sun and its UV rays.

The newest in UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) sun protective clothing acts like sunscreen for the areas it covers and is the perfect choice for our active lifestyle. That’s why we love our sun shirts! The coverage goes along with us as we ride, graze our horses, or work around the barnyard.

UPF is the rating system used for apparel, and SPF (sun protection factor) is the rating system used for sunscreen. SPF protects against UVB rays, and UPF-rated fabrics protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The higher the rating on a sun shirt (or other garment), the higher level of overall sun protection it provides.

A UPF rating of 15 or 20 is considered good, 25-35 very good and 40+ is considered excellent at preventing UV transmission through the fabric to the skin. Average apparel fabrics are rated UPF 5-15 and are not considered UV protection. For a long day riding outside, you need to find a shirt rated higher than UPF 15.

Sun shirts come in an assortment of styles and colors to please every taste. The most popular sun shirts have long sleeves, stand collars to shield the back of the neck and quarter zippers for adjustable ventilation. V-neck styles, short sleeve shirts and those with extra details such as ruching or raglan sleeves are also available.

In addition to the UPF rating, many sun shirts offer features to maximize comfort, such as cooling technology, mesh inserts, quick-dry capabilities or moisture wicking to pull perspiration away from skin—all while maintaining the integrity of the UPF of the fabric. Many have high elastane content to ensure your ability to move freely, and naturally, most are lightweight.

 

Dover Saddlery CoolBlast® 100: Our Favorite Way to Block UV Rays & Stay Cool

 

Two riders are sporting Dover Saddlery CoolBlast Long Sleeve Shirts while spending time at the barn.

We developed the CoolBlast 100 Collection of riding shirts using the most superior cooling fabric on the market! Not only do we love to ride in these sun shirts, they’ve proven to be best sellers, so we know our customers love them, too.

CoolBlast 100 fabric provides UPF 100, meaning it blocks 99.89% UVA and 99.93% UVB rays.  Rapid, permanent cooling properties built into the fabric outperform others in wicking moisture and converting it to a cooling energy to keep your skin dry. The fabric is also extremely breathable, stretchy, quick-drying and so lightweight we forget we’re wearing long sleeves.

As a final note: Remember to apply sunscreen to areas not covered by UPF-rated clothing, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and be mindful of UV exposure on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Most of all, enjoy many great summer rides!

Do you have a favorite sun shirt to ride in? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Should My Horse Wear a Fly Mask?

Why should you use a fly mask on your horse? Keep reading to find out!

The Fly Mask: A Must for Every Horse
It’s May and we’re embracing spring! Being outside and around the barn in this wonderful season brings a sense of joy. We look forward to long summer days riding, showing, grooming and just being with our horses. But… flies and other biting insects are enjoying the warm weather too, and they are as annoying as ever.

No matter which types of flies you’re dealing with—face flies, stable flies, horse flies, deer flies, black flies, even mosquitoes—your horse will appreciate help keeping them away from their face. A fly mask is an essential piece of equipment that not only repels insects, but helps protect against disease, provides protection to the eyes against harmful ultraviolet rays, protects sensitive skin and ultimately helps alleviate related anxiety and discomfort.

  • Disease Prevention: Flies and insects bite! Bites pose a problem as they can transmit disease, cause itching and create open wounds that can get infected. Flies love any moisture-rich areas on a horses’ body, especially the delicate face. Eye excretions, small wounds, scratches and cuts on faces are prime attractants for flies and infections.
  • UV Protection/Cooling Technology: Horses are sensitive to bright light, just like humans. Horses with light colored faces and pink skin are especially susceptible to sunburns. Choosing a fly mask with UV protection will alleviate harsh light, block some of the damaging UV rays and provide shade for sensitive eyes. Some masks have nose pieces that extend for extra protection, and some have new cooling technologies for those long hot days.
  • Sensitive Skin: The skin around the face is some of the most sensitive skin on your horse. Some horses have very sensitive skin or skin that is susceptible to hives or other allergic reactions. A fly mask can help prevent these issues before they become a problem.
  • Anxiety: We’ve all experienced anxiety as we enjoy a picnic only to then be chased by a deer fly or a buzzing bee. We run and swat and generally try to get away. Our horses do that too, with constant head shaking and pacing, so we must help them out. The ongoing anxiety of having flies around the eye area makes horses jittery, uncomfortable and unable to enjoy turnout or focus during training sessions. Flies that are constantly obstructing vision increase stress levels and keep your horse in a constant state of distress.

Mask Styles

  • Without Ears: If introducing a fly mask to your horse for the first time, an earless mask may be the design to try. It will offer protection to the eyes and skin around the eyes and let your horse learn to appreciate that coverage. Fly Mask Without Ears
    • With Ears: If your horse doesn’t mind having their ears covered, a mask with ear covers is the best bet for full protection. Just make sure the fit is not restrictive on the ears so they can rotate freely. Fly Mask With Ears
    • Masks for Riding: Some masks are designed to be worn over a bridle to provide coverage while riding. Typically made of extra-fine, lightweight mesh, this type of mask is a great solution for reducing or eliminating head tossing. Fly bonnets, fly veils, fly hoods and ear bonnets, a single design with many names, are a close-fitting alternative to a full fly mask for riding. These fit under a bridle to provide coverage for your horse’s ears during work without covering the horse’s eyes.

Fly Mask for Riding

  • Masks with Fringe: Fringe on a fly mask is not just for show; fringe simply shoos away flies just like a horse’s tail will. Fly Mask With Fringe

When to Use a Mask
While ideal for turnout, a standard mask will limit your horse’s vision and depth perception slightly and should not be used for riding. The mask should be taken off a few times every day so you can check for dirt and debris and make sure there are no chafed areas or eye problems. Do not leave masks on at night unless recommended by a veterinarian.

Fitting a Mask
A fly mask must not be too tight or too loose. Your horse should be able to blink without hitting any area of the mask. Look through the mask as your horse moves around and make sure eyelashes are not touching. Your horse should also be able to move their ears freely, and they should not be rubbing on the mask.

Mask Maintenance
Cleanliness of your horse’s mask is essential. Using a mask to keep disease away will not help if the mask is dirty. A dirty mask will increase the likelihood of an infection from mud, dust, or sweat embedded into the fleece lining or mesh. A good rule of thumb is to keep two masks on hand, so you have one while the other is being washed and dried.

 

To browse our entire collection of fly protection, click here.

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

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Equestrian in Your Life

A bay horse touching foreheads with a grey pony to form a heart shape for Valentine's Day.

Searching for the perfect gift to show the horse lover in your life just how much you care this Valentine’s Day? We’ve got you covered. Whether you are gift shopping for an equestrian loved one, a four-hoofed Valentine, or treating yourself, our 2020 Valentine’s Day gift roundup features a range of swoon-worthy gifts to fit every budget.

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Stocking Stuffers for Horse Lovers

The holiday season is fast approaching and here at Dover Saddlery we know that finding the perfect gift for the horse lover in your life can be hard. That’s why our 2019  Holiday Gift Guide is our favorite one yet. We’ve brought all of our old favorites (and some new ideas too) together in one place to make it easy for you to find that perfect equestrian gift.

And if you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve listed our top 5 stocking stuffer ideas below.

Happy gifting!

Kelly Herd Horseshoe Collection Necklace

If jewelry is on your horse lover’s list this year, our beloved horseshoe necklace is sure to please, and its petite size make it perfect for a stocking stuffer!

Personalized Hand Painted Ceramic Ornament

If you’re feeling sentimental, a personalized ornament painted by artist Nola Watkins is just the ticket. Beautifully crafted with your personal message, this stunning ornament is a keepsake piece that your horse lover will adore. And best of all, it fits into a stocking perfectly!

Tory Leather Company Sleigh Bell Door Hanger

In our neck of the woods, nothing reminds us of the holidays more than the sound of sleigh bells. Whether it’s a quiet midnight ride through the woods or a rendition of “Jingle Bells”, everyone loves the sound. Give your favorite equestrian the joy of sleigh bells all year long with our adorable sleigh bell door hanger. Perfect for stockings!

SSG® Winter Rancher Gloves

Rancher gloves are the perfect stocking stuffer for the horse lover in your life working long (and cold!) hours out in the stables. Whether you’re mucking stalls or out for an afternoon ride, these gloves can keep up.

Dover Saddlery Gift Card

Overwhelmed with choices and not sure what to choose? No problem! If you can’t decide on the perfect stocking stuffer, give the gift of choice with a Dover Saddlery gift card. We guarantee that your favorite horse lover will be thrilled.

5 End-of-Summer Activities for You and Your Horse

With just a few more weeks of warm weather before it’s time pack up your summer riding clothes and stock up on cozier fall schooling layers, we’ve narrowed down some of our favorite summer activities for equestrians. Enjoy these fun summer ideas with your horse, horse-loving families, and barn friends.

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Top 10 Picks to Keep You and Your Horse Cool All Summer Long

Don’t let high temperatures keep you out of the saddle! Check out our favorite products to keep both horse and rider cool despite the summer heat.

Girl riding bay horse bareback on a hot summer day.

August is here and summer is truly in full swing. And, as much as we love long sunny days at the barn, most equestrians know that sticky humidity and too-hot temperatures can take the fun out of ring work. On particularly sweltering days, we certainly encourage rest days or trail rides over hard schooling. But, for those days when the weather is just hot enough to be uncomfortable, we’ve picked out ten of our favorite summer items to help keep you and your horse cool while exercising.

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Best Holiday Gifts for Horse Lovers

It’s Christmas in July at Dover Saddlery and we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday gifts!

English rider in the saddle leaning down to hug her grey horse's neck.

It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping. This year, beat the winter rush and start shopping at Dover Saddlery now for gifts that any horse lover, rider, and equestrian will adore. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite items, whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or show-stoppers — we even added a few ideas for your non-horsey friends and family. So, get in the holiday spirit early and take a look through our top 15 holiday gifts for horse lovers! Now, check out our 2019 updated gift guide here for tons of fantastic holiday gifts for the equestrians, pets, and loved ones in your life.

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6 Gifts to Celebrate Dad on Father’s Day

Dad standing next to young daughter on bay pony for Father's Day ride.

We love the beginning of summer for a lot of reasons – longer days at the barn, warm weather, and great summer riding attire – but one of the best parts is celebrating Dad on Father’s Day. Whether your dad is a serious horseman, a casual rider, or simply your biggest fan on show days, we’ve picked some of our favorite products that Dad is sure to love this Father’s Day.

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9 Camp Essentials That Are Perfect For Summer Riding

Two young riders at summer camp with arms around each other standing next to a chestnut pony and a black and white paint pony.

The sun is finally out and summer vacation is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for riding camp! Summer riding camp is every child’s dream: fun-filled days spent outside with horses and other young riders, fine-tuning horsemanship skills, and making new friends. It’s important to stock up on riding gear that will keep your child cool and comfortable during long days at the barn. We have put together a list of our most popular camp essentials that your child will love to help take the guesswork out of your pre-camp shopping trip.

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