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Introduction to Horseback Riding

Dover Saddlery® is staffed by a team of experienced equestrians who understand the needs of riders, horse owners and horses. The Source® for products to meet every rider’s needs, from world class competitors to backyard riders, Dover Saddlery offers the broadest selection of tack, supplies and riding apparel available. We constantly strive to better serve the equestrian customer. This is why we make it our commitment to providing young and beginner riders with authentic and helpful information, in the hopes of creating a strong generation of riders that shares the compassion for the equestrian sport with those that have come before us.

Riding Apparel -

Breeches -
Riding breeches are an athletically-inspired pant designed to help riders stay comfortable and effective in the saddle. To this end, they’re made to fit snugly throughout the seat, thigh and leg, ending in hems that remain neat and free of bulk inside tall boots or half chaps. To maintain mobility and an unrestricted sense of freedom of movement despite the close fit, all riding breeches are made of fabrics that offer either two-way or four-way stretch and are also equipped with knee patches or with full seats for grip in the saddle.

Boots & Chaps -
English riding boots are essential gear for any riding discipline. Riding boots give equestrians a polished appearance, but the primary purpose of any riding boot is to aid in-saddle performance. As an alternative to tall boots, many beginning riders find paddock boots a more comfortable option for getting started in the saddle. Paddock boots, which are ankle height, can be made of a wide range of materials. Genuine leather paddock boots are traditional, breathable and soft once broken-in. Synthetic leather paddock boots are exceptionally easy-care and budget-friendly. They can secure with classic front laces for maximum adjustability, with a front zipper for quick on and off, or with a combination of lacings in front and a zipper in back to offer the advantages of both styles.

Paddock boot and half chap combinations are particularly popular for schooling and hacking. Half chaps are worn on a rider’s lower legs to provide a level of support and protection, much like tall boots. They help to prevent rubbing and chafing caused by stirrup leathers and riding pant legs that could otherwise twist, wrinkle, rub or rise up. Half chaps when paired with paddock boots require almost no break-in period, are hardwearing with little care, and are quite comfortable.

Riding Socks -
Riding boot socks are specially designed to be worn inside riding boots. Typically knee-high but also available in crew height, these socks are typically made with a reinforced heel, cushioned sole, and reinforced toe to hold up against wear. The generally smooth texture of the material provides a sleek fit inside half chaps; and they make tall boots much easier to put on.

For Your Horse -

Saddle Pads -
The fundamental purpose of putting a saddle pad on a horse is to provide a thin layer of cushioning between its back and the saddle. A saddle pad protects against friction caused by the saddle rubbing against the horse, and it helps protect the saddle by absorbing some of the horse’s perspiration. While not necessary for the new rider to own, many riders enjoy bringing their own saddle pad to their lesson to show off their favorite colors or ride with a pad with something embroidered especially for them. Your new barn will already have plenty of pads for you to choose from; -some horses even need specialized ones. For those that enjoy it we have many colors and customizable embroidery options that the rider can choose from.

Treats -
Horse treats come in all sorts of flavors, shapes, sizes and consistencies. Here at Dover Saddlery, we know that rewarding a horse or pony with a tasty treat is a highlight of everyone’s day. We offer a great selection of horse treats in a wide variety of assortments. Bring some to the barn to reward your horse after your ride, -and try a few types to see which treat is your horse’s favorite! Remember to always ask your trainer or barn manager if your horse has any dietary or feeding regimen restrictions before feeding.

Grooming Kits -
Horse grooming products include brushes, combs, hoof picks, sponges and more, and they are used to remove dirt, sweat and loose hair from a horse’s coat. Daily grooming keeps a horse’s skin healthy and resistant to diseases, his coat shiny, and hooves clean. It’s also a great way to spend time with your horse while keeping his coat in great condition! Your barn will have plenty of grooming brushes on hand, but many riders prefer to have their own grooming kits in their favorite colors or made from their preferred materials that they reserve especially for their own horse.

Riding Accessories -

Equestrian Bags -
Equestrian bags make it easier to stay organized and carry all of your equipment. Our complete selection of equestrian bags include a variety of styles for everything you need to keep clean and store or transport. Use a hat bag to keep your helmet pristine and dry between rides. And tote the rest of your belongings to and from the barn and everywhere else with one of our carry-all bags! For extra fun and to keep your belongings clearly labeled, add a monogram in one of our dozens of styles and thread colors.

Crops -
A riding crop or dressage whip acts as a supplemental aid for a rider to use to encourage a horse to go forward, sideways, offer increased engagement and similar intentions. Light taps on a horse’s hindquarters, barrel or occasionally a shoulder are not intended as punishment, but rather to support the aids that a rider executes with his or her legs, seat and weight as necessary. With so many styles and materials to choose from, many riders prefer to have their own whip or crop that they feel most comfortable riding with. Remember to only use this training aid when directed by your riding instructor.

Riding Gloves -
Horse riding gloves are a must-have item for the majority of horseback riders. Riding gloves protect a rider’s hands from friction, blisters or burns that can occur while handling reins or leads, and they can provide added grip for a secure hold. They offer a chance to reveal your personal style through color and embellishments for every season of the year, and in materials that include genuine leathers and synthetic materials ranging from manmade leather to nylon, neoprene and mesh. Riding gloves are constructed to allow a flexible but snug fit, without any bulk, to allow optimal feel on reins. Many designs have reinforcements in key areas to protect against wear.

Helmets -
Horseback riding helmets today are technological marvels in coverage, comfort and style. A helmet engineered for equestrian use cradles a rider’s skull snugly, with more area covered than a typical bike helmet. Materials used in riding helmet construction are designed to absorb and dissipate the shock of impact, which helps to reduce or prevent that trauma from transferring to a rider’s head. In fact, once a helmet has endured a crash, its ability to protect in a subsequent crash is gone, and the helmet should be replaced. Riding helmets fasten under the rider’s chin for security with an array of adjustable harness systems and closures. Always choose to wear a horse riding helmet that is ASTM approved/SEI certified.