With many women and families in the equestrian community impacted by breast cancer, we at Dover Saddlery are proud to support Susan G. Komen® through sponsorship of the organization’s 14th Annual Vermont Ride for the Cure. The horseback ride will take place at the beloved GMHA showgrounds in South Woodstock, Vermont on October 9th. The event is being held in honor of the life and legacy of Ride founder, Lois Steele Whidden, who died of breast cancer in April 2023.
Registered horseback riders at GMHA will enjoy a scenic five- to nine-mile-long trail ride. Riders in other areas can participate in the event virtually by choosing to “Ride Where You Are” and can then also choose their own ride mileage. New this year, cyclists and non-horseback riders can also enjoy virtual participation!
Susan G. Komen leads the way worldwide in spreading awareness about breast cancer, raising funds for research and providing support and guidance for people fighting the disease. Komen’s events always celebrate breast cancer survivorship and honor those who have lost their battle with the disease.
Funds raised from the Ride for the Cure will support patients through Komen’s Patient Care Center and will help advance cutting-edge research, as well. Anyone impacted by breast cancer can call 1-877-GO-KOMEN to speak to a trained professional who can offer emotional support and patient navigation services. Additionally, qualifying individuals can receive financial assistance or be connected to resources in their communities. Together, we are fueling the best science, boldest community and biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer.
To register for Ride for the Cure at GMHA or your own location, or to donate to the cause, click here. Thank you for your consideration—your participation gets us closer to the cure.
As the calendar flips to August, some of us experience a few flips of the stomach—or full-blown cases of The Butterflies! That’s because for riders who show, the time for regional championships and medal finals draws near.
If you’ve qualified for your year-end competition, congratulations from the Team at Dover Saddlery! Qualifying is a major accomplishment about which you can be proud. To help you calm your show nerves and give yourself a confidence boost, here’s our favorite tip for putting your best foot forward in competition: check the fit of your show coat.
A beautifully fitted show jacket does more for your appearance than any other aspect of your personal turnout. Your coat helps hide flaws and enhances your silhouette in support of excellent rider marks.
To double-check the fit of your existing coat or find a new coat that flatters your body:
Try the coat on over the show shirt, breech and the type of sports bra, if you wear one, that you wear in competition. These garments will affect the way a coat falls on your body.
Check the shoulder fit first. Shoulder seams should line up with the edges of your shoulders.
Fit the torso second. The fabric of the coat should lie flat across your back, lapels should lie flat on your chest, and closed buttons should not create puckering down the front. Some coats have a hidden zipper under the button placket, and this can create your smoothest look. The waistline of the coat should appear to sit at your natural waist; change your breech to one with a higher rise if you have trouble achieving your smoothest look at the waist.
Sit in a saddle to see how the coat falls, making sure the hem does not cover your cantle or interfere with your seat.
Put your arms in riding position to be sure you can move freely. The sleeves should end at your wrist bones with your arms bent as if to hold reins.
Finding a perfectly fitting show coat off the rack is challenging for most riders. A good tailor can usually alter a riding jacket to create your most elegant look at minimal cost. The body can be taken in and sleeves can usually be lengthened or shortened. Again, start with achieving a good fit in the shoulders.
Most of all, good luck and have fun at your finals!
Do you have a winning show look? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!
“A barn is a sheltered place where life’s true priorities are clear. When you take a step back, it’s not just about horses—it’s about love, life, and learning. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage and willingness to give. Indeed, horses are warriors and often carry us into and out of our personal battles. Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart.” –Lauren Davis Baker
At Dover Saddlery, horses are our lives, our partners, our friends, our beloved companions. And the barn where they live is our haven from the everyday world. A place where we can leave our cares at the door and instead become engrossed in the time spent with our horses. As our Director of Creative Services, Whitney Keeley puts it,
“As I approach the barn after a long day, I feel the comfort that being in the barn brings. The warmth of the horses and the community of people I’ll find there envelops me from the moment I enter. The barn is majestic in itself, an iconic representation of a world that is sacred, but of which, few are aware—it’s a special secret that all horses and their riders share, a place where an unspoken language connects people to animals in a way like no other.”
The barn satiates our senses. Immediately upon crossing the threshold, we hear the soft sounds of warm nickers and of hooves shuffling through deep beds of golden shavings. We breathe in the sweet scent of fresh-cut hay and pine shavings and the pungent odors of horses, leather and saddle soap. Our eyes are captivated by the handsome colors of coats of dappled gray, coal black, rich copper and deep bay. We are gladdened by the touch of a velvety nose leaning from a stall. In the barn, we find friendships built on trust and admiration, respected and protected above all else.
Yet, more than all the fulfillment our senses glean from being in the barn, it’s what the horses bring to our lives that is most gratifying. It’s what working with horses, inside the barn and out, gives us in terms of peace of mind and renewed focus. Working with, training and trusting these huge animals, so much bigger and stronger than we are, enriches and shapes us in ways we could never imagine. “Indeed, horses are warriors and often carry us into and out of our personal battles.” Being with our horse is therapeutic on almost every level—emotional, mental and physical. When we’re sad or hurt or struggling, being in the barn with our horse soothes our souls.
And beyond the respite we find in the barn, the character, confidence and self-esteem gains we achieve from the partnerships with our horses are life-changing and lifelong. We learn to be staunchly patient because achieving goals takes time and energy and effort. We discover the truest sense of teamwork—as one equestrian said, “you don’t know teamwork until your partner is a 1200lb free spirit!” Riding teaches us sportsmanship; it helps us become assertive and form the fundamental leadership skills we need to let the horse know we are in charge. To become comfortable handling a creature that overshadows our size in every aspect, we must overcome fear, we must learn to manage our emotions around these incredibly sensitive and sentient animals, we must be confident that we can communicate with them clearly for our own safety and for theirs as well. And that’s just what horses and working with horses can bring to the lives of adults.
For young people, the essential life skills are even more transformative. Starting in the barn at an early age helps children understand and appreciate body language and social cues, from both their horses and from their trainers. It gives them a grasp of how responsive a horse can be to positive cues and how uncooperative that same horse can be to negative cues. Working with horses, in the barn mucking stalls and grooming or training in the arena, increases children’s ability to focus intently on the task at hand. It gives a child self-assurance. It enhances their knack for problem-solving and gives them better insights into accepting and coping with challenges.
That a barn is a place of refuge and retreat for any rider is one of the sincerest blessings of the sport. A barn is a place of unconditional love. And at Dover Saddlery, one of our firmest belief pillars is the power of horses to bring out the very best in their people.
We want to see you spending time at the barn! Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!
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.
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!
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!
When entering the equestrian field some athletes find themselves focusing on one discipline to specialize in. Others, like Tik Maynard, top eventer and natural horsemanship trainer, enjoy trying their hand at many different disciplines and skills within the sport. Some of you may remember seeing Tik and Mini Horse Ruby participating in a few clinics at the 2018 Massachusetts Equine Affaire late last year. After those demonstrations, we got a chance to sit down with Tik to learn a little bit more about his successful equestrian career and just how he balances so many hobbies and skills both within the equestrian world and out!
Jessica Thoma’s journey as a rider amazed and inspired us all at Dover Saddlery, and we wanted to share her story with you.
Jessica lives in Tennessee and has been riding for more than 20 years. She first learned how to ride on school ponies, later moved up to a Mustang, and she now owns, with her family, a total of 10 horses. Five of them are a herd of miniature horses! Her introduction to the equestrian world began with learning how to ride Western, but her focus quickly changed to English after watching numerous videos of professional jumpers and eventers complete their courses. She started learning how to jump bareback because she could not afford to buy an English saddle at the time, and when Jessica’s parents gave her a three-day event video game, she was hooked. It soon became her dream to become an eventer and to show at recognized events.
Jessica’s story so far may sound familiar to your own; many could say they, too, began their riding career in a similar manner. But Jessica has started writing a story that’s
entirely her own as a #TripleAmputeeEventer. In 2017, she began to feel sick constantly, and eventually developed a severe rash that prompted multiple misdiagnoses. Her condition drastically deteriorated. Finally, through a biopsy of a lesion on her side, her doctors discovered she had Polyarteritis Nodosa (PAN), a rare type of vasculitis in which the blood vessels within the arteries become inflamed and cause organ damage. Jessica nearly died three times during months of hospitalization, and ultimately underwent surgery to amputate both of her legs and her left arm. After a long ordeal, Jessica is finally back home with her horses and family.
We recently interviewed Jessica Thoma to hear firsthand all about her inspiring journey as a #TripleAmputeeEventer, her plans to continue riding and to work in the equestrian field. She loves to draw and play video games, but at her heart, synonymous with her love of riding is her passion for teaching people, especially kids, how to ride. For those who want to learn more about Jessica, she also keeps her supporters updated on her progress through Facebook (Jessica Thoma) and Instagram (@TripleAmputeeEventer).
Our new catalog is coming out next week, so we sat down with our cover model, Show Jumper Chloe Reid. She was happy to tell us how she got started riding, what challenges shes had to face and a bit about some of her favorite horses.
We got to sit down with Tredstep Ireland™ founder, Aidan Keogh recently to hear about his experience of finishing the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event™. Read on to hear how he prepared, what he was most excited about, how he feels about his rides and more. Continue reading →
Bob Cacchione opened up a whole new world of horse showing to college students when he created the ISHA in 1967. We sat down with him during a break at the College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show in Wellington to hear about why he loves the IHSA, how he thinks the CPI can help, what advice he has for young riders and more.
Eddie Federwisch (Director of Equestrian Programs at SCAD), Mary Drueding (St. Lawrence University Head Coach) & Bob Cachione (Executive Director of the IHSA)
Love our new holiday catalog this year? Curious about the gorgeous grey horse posing in many of the shots? You are not alone. Many of our loyal fans have reached out to us wanting to know more about him. That grey beauty is Starfighter, a four-year old Hanoverian by Stolzenberg out of Caliku. We sat down with his owner, Gail Dady, and got the full scoop on our latest Dover model. Continue reading →