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.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Shipping to the 48 Contiguous U.S. states
DETAILS: MOST IN-STOCK ORDERS SHIP WITHIN 1-2 BUSINESS DAYS
Order arrives 2-9 business days from shipment date depending on receipt location (in the 48 states and does not include oversized items).
Low Weight Economy
Order arrives 2-10 business days from shipment date depending on receipt location (in the 48 states and does not include oversized items). This option is only available on orders which weigh less than 0.9 lbs.
Order arrives 2-5 business days (Monday-Friday) from shipment date. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Guaranteed 3-business day
Orders are prioritized to arrive within 3 business days (Monday-Friday) if the order is placed by 2pm ET, Monday-Friday. If you need an expedited order between 3-4pm ET, please call customer service. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Guaranteed 2-business day
Orders are prioritized to arrive within 2 business days (Monday-Friday) if the order is placed by 2pm ET, Monday-Friday. If you need an expedited order between 3-4pm ET, please call customer service. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Guaranteed Next business day
Orders are prioritized to arrive on the next business day (Monday-Friday) if the order is placed by 2pm ET, Monday-Friday. If you need an expedited order between 3-4pm ET, please call customer service. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Guaranteed Next Day Saturday
Orders are prioritized to arrive on Saturday if the order is placed by 2pm ET on Friday. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Over-sized Items: Free standard shipping to the contiguous 48 states, applies to items FedEx deems ânormal & customaryâ in size and weight. Large, bulky, or odd-shaped items may be subject to FedEx Oversize/Overweight charges.
âBusiness daysâ = Monday â Friday
When calculating shipping time, please use the next business day to start the clock for all orders received AFTER 2pm ET.
Shipping to AK, HI, PR and VI
Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands ship via FedEx where service is available. Free Economy Shipping is not offered to these locations since FedEx charges substantially more to deliver to them. If you have a special situation, or FedEx âOversize/overweightâ items, please call, email us or chat with us for a shipping quote.
Order arrives 6-9 business days (Monday-Friday) from shipment date depending on receipt location. These orders typically ship within 24-48 hours of the order being placed.
Guaranteed 2 Business Days
Orders are prioritized to arrive within 2 business days (Monday-Friday) if the order is placed by 2pm ET. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Guaranteed Next Business Day
Orders are prioritized to arrive on the next business day (Monday-Friday) if the order is placed by 2pm ET. Not available for shipments to P.O. Boxes.
Click here to see all our shipping information including international and non-contiguous states.
Regular order of initials (example Emily Jane Smith = EJS)
A, B, G
Traditional monogram order of initials (example Emily Jane Smith = ESJ)
C, DD, F, H, K, BB, CC, EE, FF, KK, LL
First and Last Initial (example Emily Smith = ES)
L, M, Y
Single Initial (example Emily Smith = E)
D, AA, J, GG, N, P, Q, V, X, W, Z
Spelled out Name (example Emily Smith = Emily)
E, R, S, T
Please allow extra delivery time for monogrammed products.
The Easiest and Best Guarantee in The Business
Shop with 100% confidence at Dover Saddlery. If something doesnât fit you or your horse, return your original purchase within a year, and weâll make it right with a refund, exchange or replacement.
Our experience as riders and horse owners ourselves is that in most situations a yearâs time is fair enough to evaluate proper fit and function. PLUS: For manufacturerâs defects, weâll extend the manufacturerâs warranty to a maximum of 24 months, regardless of their individual policies. (AND: Manufacturer warranties longer than 24 months will be honored and supported by us as well up to the length of those warranties).
Exceptions: Safety items such as helmets and protective vests may only be returned within 30 days, with their original tags intact. Saddles and riding boots may be returned within the one year period, but are subject to a prorated refund based on usage. Used saddles may be returned for 30 days only. For everyoneâs protection, treats and vet meds which have been opened are not returnable, and returned blankets must clean and free of debris. Click here for our full Return Policy.
Print a Label:
Step 1: Create your Federal Express return label.
Step 2: Affix the label to your package â include your original invoice with your return.
Step 3: Drop the package in a mailbox, give it to your postal carrier, drop off at the post office or Drop it at a FedEx Location. This service is only available within the contiguous 48 United States.
Your e-gift card will be delivered via email within 24 hours regardless of shipping method selected. If your purchase contains other items, select the ship method you would like the remainder of your order to use and it will arrive in the identified time frame.
We thank you and appreciate your patience while we catch up on our returns processing. We are slowed down due to COVID-19 and staffing constraints. We expect returns and refunds to take 10-14 days for processing. You will receive an email notification when your return has been processed.
*Please note: Your refund may take several business days from the time your return is processed until you see the refund in your financial institution*
How it works:
- Your return is shipped back to our warehouse in Massachusetts. It arrives in Massachusetts 2-10 business days after you ship it back depending on your geographic shipping location.
- Once your return is delivered to Dover Saddlery, your request for a refund or exchange is processed in 1-2 business days.
- Your refund is processed, and information is sent from Dover Saddlery to your financial institution.
- Your refund will be accepted by your financial institution and show on your account in 1-4 business days. (This varies depending on your financial institutionâs policy and processing time)
- Your exchange item is processed depending on availability and is shipped from our warehouse within 48 business hours from the time the exchange order is placed. Items shipping from the manufacturer may take a bit longer.
- Your exchange order is shipped to you via standard shipping and should arrive in 2-9 business days depending on your geographic location.