So I went to Dover on Saturday. I love Dover. There's something about it that smaller tack shops just can't duplicate. It's over an hour away, and yet, I drive there. It's like walking into the promised land. The doors open and I can smell leather and wool and wood. Everywhere I look, there's stuff that I really need. I didn't know I needed it, but now I know that I need it. Not want, need. I spend quite a bit of time just petting all of the goodies, especially the tack and saddle pads. I try to avoid going to the top level which is all saddles, but sometimes I indulge. A sweep through the Bargain Basement is also mandatory, you never know what you'll find. I once got a custom Grand Prix show coat in French blue with white piping for $90. Buy of the century. Over the years, I've found breeches, coats, shirts, jumping boots, blankets, girths, and clippers in the basement.
I never intend to buy a lot, but I always find a stack of treasures. This is my list of treasures from today:
Kerrit Competitor's Koat
I'm in LOVE with this coat.
Machine washable, stretch, soft shell, zipper under the buttons (which are actually snaps), what isn't to love? Especially at $120, which is a full $100 less than the RJ Classics soft shell I was petting and admiring. With the zipper, I have no gapping issues. I know it's hard to see in the horse photos, but I'm fairly busty. As in a 34D on a 5'2" frame kind of busty. A stretch coat with a zipper means I can wear a coat that actually fits my shoulders correctly! It's also very light weight. It's not fancy, but it fits me well and I think it's spot on for the lower level stuff I have planned. I still have a black wool coat with brass buttons for the dressage stuff, but as I'm currently schooling Training level, this is perfectly appropriate. Zip pockets, man!
HDR Pro MonoCrown Bridle
I wasn't planning on buying a bridle but I do so love to go upstairs to the tack section and pet all of the goodies. While working my way down the row, I spotted this monocrown bridle. I liked the padding, the leather was decent, and it had the dark color I wanted. When I saw the $109 price tag, it magically appeared on my growing pile of purchases. I wanted something I could use for showmanship and jaunts into the pleasure shows. His current bridle is black with a flash loop that we don't use. This bridle, combined with a new D ring lozenge bit, should give him the hunter look. The leather isn't anything to write home to mom about, but the patent accents are surprisingly nice and add a bit of subtle flair. I'll be curious to see how the patent leather keepers hold up.
Since Theo is a turn out 24/7 kind of pony that wears a halter in turnout, I didn't want to get him a leather halter for day to day use. I'll probably splurge on a show halter in the future, but for now, a nice break away halter. I like the hardware on these, the brushed metal look gives it such a nice look and the clasp is easy to work.. I also have a soft spot for Lami-Cell since I used to wear their helmets and loved them. I got a black with baby blue accents pattern, very flattering. It's padded nicely and has the all important break away tab.
Weatherbeeta Airflow Detach-A-Neck Combo Fly Sheet
Since Mr. Soft and Delicate is clearly flavored like candy to horse flies, he needs a fly sheet. This one had excellent reviews online. Since mi papi is rough on his belongings, I didn't want to dump a lot of money into a fly sheet. He's probably going to trash it after just one season. The important parts are that it's white (heat control), it's soft, and it blocks UV rays to help with his coat bleaching. The belly band is a nice thought, but the bugs seem to aim for his groin which is still rather exposed. You can't have everything. We'll see how long it holds up, but he does look like a fancy show pony right now with all of his armor on.
I also found a white wrap neck show shirt in the basement for $25 and got another bottle of fly spray. Man oh man are the bugs bad this year. I struck out on the show breeches since I can't justify $200 for my usual TS breeches when I'm just doing schooling shows. The low rise thing is a complete pain. I've been hoping for that trend to turn around but it looks like it's a permanent thing. I tried the Treadsteps Symphony No 4 since it's supposed to be a higher rise, but it still didn't work out. I'll probably end up saving up for the mid-rise TS breeches.
And finally, not purchased at Dover but it did arrive today, my new saddle!
Wintec 500 Close Contact Saddle - Flocked
I remember when synthetic saddles first came out. They felt like plastic, were badly balanced, and generally sucked. People got them because they were cheap but they rarely fit anything well and I sure as heck didn't want to jump in them. The times, they are a changing. When I sat in this thing in the showroom, I had trouble believing it was a Wintec. It was soft, it felt balanced, it's appearance didn't offend me. Sure, I wouldn't take it on the rated hunter circuit, but I'd take it to any horse trial. It looks just fine. It's the exact same tree as the Bates (in a synthetic) at half the price. Time will tell if Theo likes it, but with the gullet system, riser system, and nice flat panels, I have very high hopes for this saddle. Let's be honest, I love having less tack to clean, and my Wintec dressage saddle was such an amazing trail saddle. If it helps me stick with mi papi's big moves over fences on top of that, I will be very much in love. I tried it on him today, but I forgot to order the full gullet system and the medium was way too narrow. It stood up off of him by a mile, almost like the steeple on a church. I'll try to pick up the gullets tomorrow. Fingers crossed!