My Experience with the Dover Tent Sale

Like everyone else, I was thrilled to get my flyer in the mail announcing the spring tent sale at Dover. This is a time to score great deals at up to 70% off with potential of additional discounts. Last year, I got so many useful items at the sale. This year was a bit of a different story.

I only ended up buying three items from the sale. All the other things that I needed, I had to buy full price in-store. I was in desperate need of some new breeches, a new flysheet, riding socks and fly spray to stock up on.  None of the breeches in my price range fit me. I tried on probably 5 or 6 different pairs in several sizes before I gave up. There was one fly sheet that was pony sized. The only fly masks at the sale did not have ear coverage. No socks! They had a lack of care products as well. I remember last year I got fly spray, leather oil, and hoof hardener all on sale. So disappointing! Well without further ado, I will share with you what I did buy from the sale and the items that I picked out in-store.

Tent Sale

I got Z some new sports boots for $40 that were originally $100. My old ones were starting to rub and irritate a spot on the outside of his cannon bone. Then my favorite purchase was two summer riding tanks. These are by Noble Outfitters and made in soft dry-fit material. They came in a variety of patterns and colors. I chose a purple and a blue/green design. Each of the tanks went for $20.

…that’s it.

In-Store

A fly sheet was a must and I could not leave without one. I went and looked at several options and guess what brand I decided on? Weatherbeeta! This brand is truly amazing. I’ve had great success with my medium weight blanket and turnout sheet by them. They offer high quality prices for an affordable price. The specific sheet that I got was the ComFiTex Essential Mesh II. It is light weight, yet durable.  The fly spray I ended up getting was the UltraShield Ex that comes in a black bottle. They redesigned the bottle to be able to spray in all directions, including upside down!

I got two pairs of socks. One with flamingos and one with SLOTHS! I saw those and had to have them. The brands were Ovation and Noble Outfitters, both about $10 each.

I purchased two pairs of breeches. One pair was a super score as they were originally $135, but were on a Mother’s Day deal for $41! They were the Noble Outfitters Signature Side-Zip Breeches. These are still on sale online and in-store! The other pair I got were the ribbed full-seat breeches by Tuff Rider. I’ve had great experience with these breeches in the past, so I knew it would be a good purchase. I got them in a fun, rusty blue color for about $50.

The last item I purchased was a beautiful light blue sunshirt by Ariat. In the summer, I try to ride when the sun is not at its fiercest, but sometimes I do need to ride in the afternoon when the sun is brutal. UV protection is so important and I love that this shirt protects me from the sun’s harmful rays, while keeping me cool with mesh materials. I already had this shirt in navy, so I knew I would love another one. They had one more that was in a peachy color with a horse print on it. I wanted it so bad, but I told myself I only needed to buy one, so I went with the blue since it would go with more.

In conclusion, I think we all have a love-hate relationship with Dover. They are my go to for items needed quickly and they have a great variety of products and options. They really let me down this year with the tent sale though! Maybe next time, Dover!

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

 

My Top 10 Picks from Smartpak’s Spring Catalog

1. Piper Tights

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I love riding tights rather than breeches on hot summer days, but what really caught my eye with these was the thigh pocket. It is perfect to put your phone in while riding! I ride by myself a lot, so I always like to have my phone on my body incase of an emergency. Stuffing it into the pockets of my breeches is not comfortable and I worry about it falling out! I have seen some other tights with pockets like these, but they were well over $100. Smartpak’s Piper Tights retail for $49.95.

2.  Piper Breeches

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I have not personally tried these, but I have heard wonderful things about them and will be ordering some soon! They seem to be the perfect middle ground between cheaper breeches and the ones that will break your bank. They come in so many different fun colors. It is hard to choose just one! They are available in original or midrise, and knee patch or fullseat. Piper Breeches retail for $79.95-$89.95.

3. Horseware Competition Jacket

Ok I am obsessed with this one. Not only is it a steal to get a quality show coat for $109.95, but it comes in gorgeous colors- including one I have never seen before! It comes in a khaki with a blush pink collar and I am dying to have it. Unfortunately, if I walked in the hunter ring with that on, the judge would take one look at me and move me to the bottom of the list haha. If you do jumpers, you should definitely check out this gorgeous coat! It also comes in traditional navy and black, as well as hunter green and maroon. I am set on getting a green or maroon coat this summer!

4. Piper Long Sleeve Show Shirt

I adore the cute print options that are available on the collar and cuffs with this shirt. There are flowers, donuts, polkadots, or little foxes to choose from. On the traditional white show shirt, you can rock this in the hunter and eq rings, without showing it off to the judge! This shirt goes for $34.95, which is way cheaper than what I have been paying for show shirts in the past. I’ve got to try this one!

5. Piper Short Sleeve Polo

Who doesn’t need more summer appropriate shirts for schooling? At only $ 29.95, this polo is perfect to keep you looking sharp during your lessons or hacks!

6. Piper Long Sleeve Sun Shirt

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I’ll admit I am not religious with putting on sunscreen, even though I know it is so important! Every summer I get burnt shoulders and arms from riding in the sun, and you can’t forget the awful farmer’s tan! This sun shirt is powered by Coolcore fabric, which is known for its moisture wicking and cooling abilities. It provides SPF 50 to protect you from harmful UV rays. At $39.95, this is a must for the summer season.

7. Smartpak SmartMesh Fly Sheet

My horse is extremely bothered by flies. Even just a couple can make him moody. Last year, I had a really hard time with his fly sheet making him too hot. I didn’t know what to do because the sheet definitely repelled better than the spray, but he was getting covered in sweat! Well I realized I didn’t have a lightweight, breathable fly sheet like the SmartMesh Sheet. This sheet is made out of an entirely different material than my previous one. The mesh allows air to flow freely in and out to help keep him cool! It comes with the neck guard attachment for just $99.95. Another good alternative flysheet that is almost the exact same thing, is the Weatherbeeta ComFiTec Ripshield, also coming with the detachable neck guard for $129.95.

8. UGARD Supplement

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Guys, this stuff is life changing. 2 months ago, I started Z on this supplement, in addition to the Ulcerguard paste for treatment of ulcers. I have finished with the paste treatment and I have continued to keep him on the supplement weeks after. He is so much more of a happier horse! He was suffering from the bad ulcers and that made him extremely irritable in cross-ties and nippy throughout the whole tacking process. I can absolutely tell he is no longer in pain. If you would like more info on treating ulcers with UGARD and Ulcergard paste, I would be happy to share with you how I did it without going broke!

9. Roma ProTek Wither Relief Pad

I have used and loved Roma pads of different types for years. This one is a great addition to the barn by offering protection under your saddle. It is available in either front or back lift to fit the needs of your saddle and horse. It is black in color and made of foam material that doesn’t absorb moisture, making it easy to keep clean! This pad retails for $29.95.

10. Smartpak Small Circles AP Saddle Pad

This one reminds me very much of my circle pad from Roma. I have found the circle pattern provides much more cushion, in my opinion. Coming in a variety of fun colors, at only $19.95, this is one you don’t want to miss out on!

 

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Photo credits to SmartPak and Pixabay

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What to Buy Used and New

You will come across many different opinions on this topic. I am simply stating my opinion and what I go by. You can determine what is best for you and your horse.

Let’s start with what is ok to buy used.

Saddles

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Saddles run a high dollar. I’m talking hundreds, even thousands! To save yourself from dropping that kind of cash, it is a great idea to look at used saddles. You can find them online or in tack shops sometimes. It is definitely important to look at the quality of the saddle. Look for any severe blemishes, cracking leather, and loose or missing pieces. Always try the saddle before you buy it to see if you like the way the seat feels. If a used saddle has been well taken care of, then there is no reason why it can’t serve its purpose to a new owner.

Bridles and Bits

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With bridles and bits, the same thing goes with them about saddles. Look for damages and the quality thoroughly before purchasing. Bridles and bits that have been cleaned and oiled (bridles) will stay in good condition.

Show Coats and Breeches

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This is probably my favorite thing to purchase used! People grow out of or move on from their coats and breeches all the time. If there are no stains or tears, go for it! I got a really nice pair of used breeches from the donate pile at my old barn! If the show coat is clean and has a good fit on you, a used one will help you shine just as bright in the show ring.

Stable Blankets and Other Sheets

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Since stable blankets and other sheets such as fly sheets or fleece coolers aren’t meant to be waterproof, they have a longer lifespan. Make sure to measure your horse so you know the exact size you are looking for. Then always check the quality of the blanket or sheet you are buying. Make sure there are no rips or stains that bother you and that all surcingles strap securely.

Polo Wraps and Boots

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Used fleece has no less quality (unless there are tears) than fleece from a new package. This is why polo wraps are great to buy used. People usually sell them for very cheap as they get tired of the colors or are trying to clean out their tack box. Boots for your horse can also be purchased used a lot cheaper than their retail price. With boots, just check the quality and make sure there is no damage and that the straps fasten securely.

Tall Boots

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These things are crazy expensive! It drives me nuts. The only new tall boots I have bought have been on closeout sale. A lot of times riders switch to a different boot or the boots don’t fit how they like once they start riding in them. If you can find a quality pair of tall boots in your size used, go for it! It’s such a steal!


Alright, now let’s look at what you should only buy new.

Helmets

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In my opinion, you should NEVER buy a used helmet. Helmets lose their ability to protect your head as they get hits. A used helmet may have no dents or blemished, but it could have still taken a hit when the rider fell. Yes, there are some honest people who will sell quality helmets that haven’t taken hits. However you never really know how old the helmet is and what it has been through. When it comes to protecting your skull, play it safe and buy a new helmet.

Turnout Blankets and Sheets

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Turnout blankets and sheets are meant to be worn outside and they are waterproof to keep horses dry during rain or snow. Over time, these blankets lose their waterproofing ability. The older the blanket, the less likely it will be waterproof. There are sprays you can buy to reboost the waterproofing of the blanket or sheet, but in my opinion, it is best to just get a new one for your horse. That way you know it is not old and has not been heavily used.

Grooming Products

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I think all grooming products such as brushes, hoof picks, and sprays should be bought new for your horse. The brushes are already hard enough to keep clean and sterilized, why add on the factor of them being used on many horses before. This one you may have a different opinion on, but I personally don’t want to brush and use products on my horse that are old and have been on many horses before. Plus, grooming products don’t run that high and they can come in kits to get all the tools you need for an even lower price.

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Winter Blankets

Winter is upon us and even down in the south we get some nasty wet and cold weather. Blankets are important to keep our equine friends warm and comfortable in the elements, especially those living outside. My horse lives outside most of the time, only coming inside when the weather is continually bad. So a quality, waterproof blanket was a must for him. I don’t have a stable blanket for him. If it is cold enough inside still, I will double his turnout for a stable blanket. This prevents me from having to buy more than one blanket! I tried a cheaper turnout last year, which I’ll tell you about, that held up OK. This year, however, I was in the market for something a little more hardy. With blankets running around $300 easily, it’s difficult to find something quality without spending a ton of money. I did some searching and found a nice and affordable option.


Last year I purchased a MIO brand medium weight turnout blanket. This is the one that held up OK. It is a great price at only $80. It was great for keeping Z warm and lasted really well last year. However, this year I’ve noticed it is not as waterproof if he has been in the rain for a long period of time. He is also turned out with a larger herd now and quickly got a rip in it. I would recommend this blanket if you are looking for something mainly for warmth or light rain and if your horse is not turned out in large groups. I still use it to layer with because the filling is great quality! They also carry a variety of other blankets and sheets for low prices.fullsizeoutput_645


The blanket I got this year, after several recommendations by friends, is the Weatherbeeta Comfitech Combo Turnout (Medium Weight). This brand is built to stand up in the elements. Owners of other horses at my barn were already using this brand and had great success with it keeping their horses dry and not ripping. I picked this particular blanket because it has the neck cover as well. It does not detach, but I like this because it stays put and doesn’t slide around like I have seen the detachable ones do. It was also significantly cheaper to go with the version that the neck piece does not detach. I know it does seem more convenient to go with a detachable piece. However in my opinion, if you are purchasing it with the medium or heavy weight fill, chances are when you use it, it will be cold enough anyways that you would want the neck piece on!

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Another tip I have on blanket purchasing is to do your shopping on Amazon. Amazon always has prices lower than the manufacturers and if you are a prime member (which I highly recommend) you get the free two-day shipping. I paid significantly less on Amazon for both blankets than I would have at Dover. In the future, I will be recommending other equine products on Amazon.


Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Links:

Mio Turnouts
Weatherbeeta Comfitech Combo Turnout