Field Trip Friday: Dover Saddlery=Horse Lover's Happy Place

February 12, 2016

If you love to read, libraries and bookstores give your soul a thrill. If you’re an artist, an art or office supply store sets all your senses tingling. And if you love horses and riding, a tack store is a little bit of heaven—a horse lover’s happy place.

Last Friday, my friend Marianne and I hit the road to visit one such horse lover’s happy place: the Dover Saddlery store in Winter Park.

Dover is an English rider’s dream. I bought my very first horse items from their catalog almost 12 years ago—and I’m still using them! Dover sends out a couple of fat, drool-inducing catalogs each year, as well as a couple of smaller sale catalogs. They opened the store in Winter Park in 2013 and I’ve been wanting to visit since then. When I got a flyer for a tent sale Feb. 5-7, it seemed like a good opportunity to go check it out. Plus I need a new helmet because mine is getting old…you know, any old excuse! Marianne was willing to tag along and navigate, and she was looking for a new halter for her mare, Glory.

When we arrived, sales girls handed us large, clear plastic bags to toss our loot into, and we entered the tent excited to see what bargains we could find. I was only slightly hampered by the fact that I don’t really need anything, other than the helmet and maybe another pair of riding socks. That didn’t stop me from walking up every aisle and examining tempting items like wicking riding shirts, horse blankets, small mesh hay feeders, and yes, patterned socks.

When we were done with the tent, we still had the store itself to explore. As soon as I walked in the door, I inhaled that leathery scent that makes my blood pressure fall and all my stress melt away. When I tell you that we covered nearly every inch of the store, I do not exaggerate. (Marianne has been there before, but she kindly allowed me all the exploring time I wanted.) Breeches, helmets, horse treats, more socks, grooming tools, leather goods and saddle pads…the store was packed with items to tempt us.

Riding socks are a thing.
Alas, they didn’t have a helmet that fit me properly in my price range, so I’m still in the market. (I did learn that my head shape is more round than oval—who knew?) However, I did find these lovely items:

Socks, gloves, and a purple pad--oh my!
It was a pleasure to spend time with Marianne, and we talked horses to our hearts’ content. The new horsey items were a bonus. I love my socks and Tank looks lovely in his new purple pad.

Where is your happy place? How long has it been since you visited?

Loved this store display.

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  1. What a lovely experience you had, following and fulfilling your passions... HAPPY. I loved hearing about it, thank you...In my next life I hope to be in the horse world...

  2. Rita--It was delightful! I'm glad you didn't mind hearing all about it, too. I hope you do get a chance to be in the horse world in some way, in this life or the next, because it truly is fascinating and HAPPY.

  3. Ah Kathy I think this sounds like such a wonderful way to spend a day. My happy places are greenhouses,bookstores and of course art ones. Not necessarily in that order. Relate to the scent of a place- the greenhouse aroma always lowers my blood pressure:)! Bet Tank looks handsome in his new pad! Have a great weekend. Hugs!

  4. Debbie--It was a wonderful day! Greenhouses, bookstores and art stores all have a distinctive scent, don't they? I love how you start to relax as soon as you walk in the door.

    Tank does look handsome in his new pad, and we had a great ride together yesterday!