Category Archives: Apparel & Footwear

Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Celebrate Small Business Saturday in the United States this year on November 30, 2019.

Tradition

This shopping tradition began in 2010 and has grown into a welcoming way to bring local patronage to brick and mortar shopping and create a hometown atmosphere in person or online. Shopping small means, you support your community neighborhoods and local establishments.

Hometown Proud

Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies has grown into a pillar of your community. Most of our employees own horses, livestock and pets or have them in their backgrounds. Employees that share your interests in all things horse and hound, english, western or racing, give you a customer experience second to none! Our mission is to serve you in a polite, friendly, most competent way. We offer saddle, helmet, and blanket fitting tips. Gifts for all your critters and a clothing selection sure to please the most competitive to the casual equestrian. We offer holiday specials throughout the store and online. Join our customer loyalty program and receive special discounts throughout the year. In years past shoppers set records all across the country sharing their support of small businesses just like ours.

Happy Holidays!

So, shop small America and share your support for local family-owned companies just like Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies! Support your friends and neighbors and the local economy along the way. From our family to yours we extend a happy holiday invitation to stop in for a cup of hot chocolate this season and to shop small!

Written by: Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist, Kathy Kilbane

Once in a whorl

Horse Electrolytes in the Winter

In the off-season when the snow is flying and the dread of going to the barn to crack water buckets is looming, reading about a favorite topic (wait for it) HORSES, can be a favorite pastime! Once in a “while,” you come across interesting reads about little know horse factoids. Yet finding historical references explaining the extent of the horse’s involvement in civilization’s prominence are not readily found.

HUMAN-HORSE RELATIONSHIP

Centurion satatue

From the beginning of the human-horse relationship, historical evidence shows us that owning horses was a privilege reserved only for the upper crust of society. With the Romans, horses were a show of power and strength. Generals rode while the foot soldiers walked. However, without the domestication of the horse ancient civilizations might not have been, and quite possibly our world could look much different. Throughout history, the horse’s usefulness has been at the forefront of what it has become. Harnessing the power of horses probably enabled the building of the great pyramids or the Coliseum. Horses pulled great shovels to dig canals and build infrastructure. Becoming a mode of transportation was one of the most significant historical turning points. No longer would humans walk but could ride and carry their wares to market or to other tribal areas with more speed than other animals. The average 1,000-pound horse can pull a wagon of twice its weight and travel at a top speed of around 35 miles per hour.

EVOLUTION

The horse has evolved over 50 million years. Originally known as eohippus, horses were no bigger than a dog and were prey animals that walked on three toes. The chestnut of modern-day horses is said to be a remnant of the toes that became a hoof. Something else that is unclear about the horse is the existence of whorls; those cute little hair patterns that look like crop circles on the face and body. No one can explain whorls any more than they can explain cowlicks in humans.  Whorls  have been studied for centuries resulting in correlations between whorls and temperament. Gypsies believed one whorl on the center of the forehead could mean an easygoing temperament and two whorls high on the forehead meant a more complicated temperament giving way to more modern training methods. Theories about flight responses and predicting the direction a horse will go when startled were recently studied by Colorado State University. After exposure to a spoke stimulus, researchers determined if the hair pattern in a whorl on a horse’s face grows counterclockwise it most likely turned to the left and if the hair grows clockwise, it will go right. Could this also indicate if a horse is right-sided or left-sided? I find this fascinating!

UNSUNG AND UNDER REPRESENTED

The human-horse relationship roles seem a bit reversed today. Have horses become our masters? We carry their water and grain to them when history tells us they carried ours. We willingly groom, clean, care for and pamper them. Well I say they have earned it! They are the unsung and overlooked heroes of our civilization. In every aspect of our world history, from depictions in cave drawings to the pinnacle of competition, the horse has always served man well. Today the status symbol of a horse is not as shiny as it once was, but caring for a horse is truly a rewarding experience. I always know that whatever is troubling can be resolved while grooming a horse. Whether you use horses for pleasure, competition, or as a therapy animal you have to agree they are in fact magnificent creatures!

Written by: Big Dee’s Web Products specialist, Kathy Kilbane

Small Business Saturday Is November 24, 2018

,small business saturdaySmall business Saturday is celebrated in the United States this year on November 24, 2018. It began in 2010 and has grown into a way to welcome local patronage to brick and mortar shopping and create a hometown atmosphere in person or online. Shopping small means you support your community, neighborhoods and local establishments.

Big Dee's then and now

Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies is one of your local hometown companies. From humble beginnings at a local race track to our storefront in Streetsboro, Ohio, Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies has grown into a pillar of your community. Through the guidance of Dennis Osterholt, “Big D”, the family-owned business philosophy continues.  Most of our employees own horses or have horses in their backgrounds. Employees that share your interests in all things horse and hound, english, western or racing,  give you a customer experience second to none!

At Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies, our mission is to serve you in a polite, friendly, most competent way. We offer saddle, helmet, and blanket fitting tips. Gifts for all your critters. A clothing selection sure to please and holiday specials throughout the store and online. Join special offerour customer loyalty program and receive special discounts throughout the year.

In years past shoppers set records all across the country sharing their support of small businesses just like ours. In the spirit of giving and being grateful for families and friends, shopping small means promoting our community in a national way.

So, shop small America and share your support for local family-owned companies just like Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies! Support your friends and neighbors and the local economy along the way. From our family to yours we extend a happy holiday invitation to stop in for a cup of hot chocolate this season and to shop small!cup of cocoa

Written by: Big Dee’s Web Products specialist, Kathy Kilbane

 

All That Glitters Is Not Always Gold

Fair and fall show seasons evoke so many great memories. Starting out on my little Shetland pony and graduating to breed shows and beyond grounded me in life lessons too many to count! Preparation and professionalism being top-of-list and, always do and look your best.

There are several considerations to make when sprucing up show clothing or choosing a new show outfit. Horse show associations usually have rules governing attire. For example, the hunt seat hunt coat division usually requires show coats in traditional conservative colors while the western division is more liberal. The right color can have a favorable or adverse effect on your desired outcome. Take a look at these questions to get started. Will you be showing indoor under artificial light or outside in the bright sunshine emojisunshine? What color is your horse? What color is your tack and saddle pad? Can you just dress in your favorite colors? Answers to these questions will weigh heavily on your decision as you put together the perfect show ready ensemble.

Let’s unpack this

coat color chartAlways start with silhouette and clean lines. Choose a color to compliment your horse’s coat color. For example, chestnuts look good in earth tones where a bay looks good in jewel tones. It is the same as finding the perfect dress to match your own hair and skin tone. Go to a department store and cruise the towel section. There is usually a great selection of colors. Choose a bath towel that most matches the color you are thinking of using.  Shades of blue or green will work with most coat colors. Black and dark colors are always versatile and a good choice.

Evaluate to uncomplicate

Now take the towel to the barn and drape it on your horse like a saddle pad in the cross-ties and stand back to evaluate. Enlist someone’s help to take your horse to the indoor arena and outdoor paddock and stand at a distance similar to where a judge would stand (50-100 feet away) to see what the color actually looks like. At the show, take time while not showing to watch other classes. Look for horses with coat color similar to your horse and make note of how color plays a big role in overall appearance.

western show jacket and pad
Pulling it together

After settling on your new color, be sure it looks good on you too. Use a subdued “cool” version of that color as your base and then accessorize. Add a complimentary saddle pad or blanket to accent outfit and tack to pull everything together.

In the western division, the amount of bling you add will depend on where you are showing. Sequenced and jeweled outfits will play better indoor under soft light. If showing primarily outdoor, give careful consideration to the placement of your shimmer and shine, and factor in how the sun’s reflection will affect your ride. 

Hunt boot
Boot detail

For the purist, bling is frowned upon in the hunt seat division, although some leeway is afforded for tall boot detail, helmet bling, and shirt color. From the judge’s perspective, if you are wearing a lot of bling in showmanship or under saddle your position must be spot-on. Light sparkling from your outfit or tack appointments will be a beckon for anything out of position. After all, you want to draw attention to your performance not blind the judge!

A stitch in time

Tailored show clothing will make a big difference. Hunt coats, and western show jacket, vests and blouses should be form fitted. Attire for boys and men should be conservation, pressed, and 4-H graphiccomplementary to the class. Call your local 4-H extension office to find a seamstress. They can put you in touch with sewing clubs in your county. Your outfit could be a 4-Hers projects for the year. Equitation and horsemanship clothing that moves in the breeze at a canter or lope can translate into looking out of position and could cost you a ribbon.

I know children grow, sometimes overnight! Be sure western pants are long enough to cover the boot to the heel while mounted. If your child shows in short stirrup classes and wears jodhpurs and paddock boots, don’t forget the garters or knee straps.

Budget friendly tip

injured piggy bank
Ouch!

Don’t feel like you need to break the bank. Buy a couple neutral pieces to base your show wardrobe around. Invest in a  great western hat and keep it in a hat carrier so it will hold its shape longer. Keep your boots and tack clean and polished. Nothing says lack of preparation like a misshapen western hat or dusty hunt boots! Hey, you could use the towel you bought to clean your boots!

medals Remember, it is not the outfit that shines through but the preparation and performance that gets the gold.

Written by Big Dee’s Web Product Specialist, Kathy Kilbane

For the love of custom tall boots.

Friends and clients had been telling me for years about the virtues of custom riding boots.  I always just thought that a boot is a boot, right? After having a need for a particular boot that was not offered in my size off the shelf ordering custom was my last remaining option. I was concerned about a number of aspects surrounding custom boots. Beyond just the difference in price between a stock boot and custom I was also worried about if they would really fit. Now that I have received my custom boots I would like to tell my story in an effort to put some of your apprehension at ease. Continue reading For the love of custom tall boots.

The Fledgling Foxhunter’s Riding Accident

Redefining the Riding Accident

In nearly 25 years of riding and numerous unplanned dismounts; I can cite only 4 incidents in which I was actually hurt beyond just shaking it off and moving on. Up until just last year I never understood that there really can just be a riding “accident”. I had always just thought a fall was a fall, regardless of what the ultimate cause was. My two most recent experiences redefined the term “riding accident” for me. I now refer to a riding accident as one of which neither you, nor your horse has any control over the ultimate outcome. The lack of control fundamentally changed the way I feel about riding. It is not just the rather rude introduction to fear on a level that I am not particularly familiar with, but also one of enlightenment in better understanding that a riding accident really can happen at any time for any reason.

A learning experience

In both occasions two well trained and obedient horses, which had been in regular work suddenly wiped out while working at the canter.  Last year’s fall was with my then 6 year old horse. I never had falling while competing in the dressage phase on my radar. My anxiety always surrounded the possibility of a fall out on cross country. It was a great example for rule book roulette. It turns out that in USEA eventing dressage you can choose to continue if your horse falls (EV136.1.d). The fall was dramatic but it was on grass and I did not take a direct hit to my head.  I was scared more so than hurt and worried more that my horse may have suffered any injury than myself. In the next few rides I felt anxiety to canter on a 20 meter circle and was hyper aware that my horse just did not seem quite right. He underwent a full lameness evaluation with the veterinarian and we came up with a plan based on his individual needs which included corrective shoeing, a change in primary discipline and additional therapies to help him gain strength in areas where he was lacking.

A bad fall

I have never had anxiety on hunting mornings, the way that I had experienced anxiety running cross country. Just three weeks ago I suffered another fall at the canter.  I had been learning some of the ins and outs of Whipping-in for foxhunting and wanted to train my aged mare as a backup should my primary horse be unable to hunt. The hounds hit a line and we were cantering down a trail keeping an ideal position along with them. The trail was hard packed dry dirt. There was a very gentle curve but I did not notice any roots, rocks or other obstructions that would raise any sort of concern. My horse was balanced and comfortable when out of nowhere Continue reading The Fledgling Foxhunter’s Riding Accident

Foxhunting Apparel Trunk Show

Foxhunting apparel trunk show!

I’ve got some exciting news from the Fledgling Foxhunter for our local (and not so local) foxhunters! Our purchasing department

Taste of Hunting Trunk Show
Taste of Hunting Trunk Show with The Chagrin Valley Hunt

has graciously given in to my incessant pleading to add a selection of foxhunting apparel and tack.  On a recent visit with members of the Chagrin Valley Hunt, I brought along a small selection of my favorite additions for a literal trunk show during Continue reading Foxhunting Apparel Trunk Show

Layer Your Clothing for Changing Weather!

Always Have the Perfect Clothing!

Here in Northeast Ohio our weather can be unpredictable. Some years it seems we have a bitter cold deep freeze in the months of January and February. And other years (much like this year) we have had snow and cold one day and warmth and melting snow the next – which we all know means muddy pastures! This weather makes it hard to know the best clothing to keep you warm in the barn during  winter months. I have a hard time investing in an ultra warm coat and heavy  coveralls when the weather is so unpredictable.

The best answer I have found in a changing climate is layering clothing. The thing I like most about layering up is you can get the most use out of your barn clothing investment by being able to use it in many seasons not just winter. Here at Big Dee’s we have a company filled with animal lovers who are outside taking care of the horses and other pets 365 days a year, so I have been able to get a lot of great advice on everyone’s favorites not just mine.

Base Layer Options

The base layer is always one of the most important parts of staying warm. It’s a light weight way to keep your body heat in and have a soft comfortable fabric against your skin. One of the first things I hear when everyone talks about their favorite base layer would be Back On Track. The reason it’s so popular as a base layer is because it’s a soft thin fabric which makes it easy to wear under other clothing. The material Back on Track is made of is also moisture wicking and the ceramic in the product reflects your own body heat creating warmth (and as a side benefit it helps to reduce pain and inflammation). Back on Track offers T-Shirts, long underwear, leggings, thin gloves (great as glove liners) socks, neck covers, and even boxer shorts –  all make great warm first layer option.

Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies | Clothing
Other options to help keep you warm are to layer with pull on riding tights and sun shirts. Sun Shirts and riding tights are a great way to keep cool in the summer but they also make a great base layer in the winter. One of my favorite sun shirts is by Kastel Denmark. It’s a soft light weight fabric that breathes and gives a great range of options for UPF protection in the summer and warmth in the winter.  Ariat and Arista both make a beautiful Merino Wool quarter zips that will keep you so warm! Kerrits and several other brands make great quarter zips that are lined with fleece for extra warmth.

Utilize Any Season Clothing

So now that you have a lot of base layer options we can move on to what to wear over it. For bottoms it really depends on what you are doing. Are you riding, working in the barn or both? For the top layer, consider the temperature and all of the great outerwear layers that are made for winter. If you are riding English you may want to choose a pair of warm Irideon Windpro three season breeches. You could also try a Soft Shell riding Breech like the new style from Noble Outfitters. If you are doing barn work or riding western you may choose your favorite pair of jeans, chaps or coveralls.

Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies | Ariat | Clothing
Next up is your torso! Soft shell is a term we hear often and it might be one of the best outerwear materials ever invented! You can find soft shell in pullovers as well as zip style jackets. The great thing about soft shell is that the fabric has fleece on the inside. The exterior is smooth, with water and dirt resistance from the elements. It is super warm while being light weight and flexible.  This style jacket paired with a vest makes a great outerwear layer, especially when riding. If you start to get a little warm peel off that vest and keep on going! You can always put it back on when you start to cool down. If you’re not a fan of vests there are great  jacket options that are also light weight and flexible.

Keep Your Feet Warm & Dry

Now that we have covered the core portion of keeping the body warm let’s talk about those parts that get cold first! For me it’s always feet, ears, and hand. I have found the best way to keep your feet warm is to start with a good pair of socks and end with a great pair of boots.  One of my all time favorite socks is made by Noble Outfitters. They are comfortable, well padded and they make great options for winter. You have the option of thermo thin or merino wool.

Noble Outfitters Boots | Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies | Clothing
Moving on to boots, if you are working in the barn I highly recommend the Noble Outfitters Cold Front Muds Boots – they are warm and comfortable. A great option for people who ride in the winter are Mountain Horse Active Rider Tall Boot. They are warm and have a stirrup friendly sole. If you prefer a paddock boot, I really like the Ariat Extreme H2O Insulated paddock boot. It gives the look of a traditional paddock boot while staying functional for winter.  Another great option that seems to be a little secret in the Standardbred Racing crowd are the Double H Insulated leather boots.

Don’t Forget Head & Hand Protection

A good ear band goes a long way to keep your ears warm in the winter. I have heard many people who wear a helmet say they don’t like an ear bands. While many are made slim and go nicely under helmets, if you are not a fan my answer to you is Sprigs Earbags! The Earbags are two layers of fleece with Thinsulate lining and no band to interfere with your helmet. You just pop them over your ears and go. If you want to listen to your music while working in the barn, try out Sprigs Soundears!

Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies | Gloves | Clothing
Let’s not forget about the endless possibilities for gloves! My all time favorite pair of gloves are the Polartec  Warwick Winter Riding Gloves by Roeckl. They are soft, comfortable and flexible – you will want a pair for the barn and a pair for everyday use! If you have a need for a tougher glove with a rugged exterior try the SSG Ten Below. Many enthusiasts at Big Dee’s use and recommend this glove. The SSG Ten Below is really warm due to the Thinsulate lining. It also has a great grippy palm, but the most impressive feature is that it’s waterproof. I don’t mean if you are in a rainstorm your hands won’t get wet waterproof, I mean you can submerge your hand in a water bucket to right below the cuff and not feel a drip of water!

Finally if you love to use those handy hand and toe warmers for a little boost of warmth, the Heritage Extreme Winter Gloves are for you. There is a pocket on the top of the glove where you can place the hand warmer and zip it up. This positioning keeps it comfortable and on top of the artery that brings warm blood flow to your hands.

Hopefully these tips and insights into winter clothing can help you choose the best products for you!

The Scoop on Custom Tall Riding Boots

The Scoop on Custom Tall Riding Boots – Fitting and Selection

With Big Dee’s Custom Boot Event kicking into full swing this week, I thought it would be a great time to give your the scoop on custom tall riding boots and my recent ordering experience!

Why are Tall Boots Important?

Custom Tall Riding Boots to complete the tweed ensemble
The perfect outfit I have been dreaming of includes a classic tweed jacket, beautiful brown tall boots and a smart brown helmet.

Regardless of your riding interests and style, everyone has that perfect picture in their mind of how we would love to look and feel in the saddle. I envision myself in a classic ensemble that includes a tweed hacking jacket, rich brown boots and a smart brown helmet. Beyond the obvious fashion aspect there is more to a good quality boot. For me, my boots and helmet are the only two things that I really must have in order to feel safe and confident while riding a horse. Tall boots are a key transmitter in the language between you and your horse through your leg aids. Undoubtedly the comfort and fit of your tall riding boots can make or break your ride all together. Whether they are too tall, too tight, too small in the foot, too sloppy in the leg, or perhaps just too old, battered and broken; we’ve all been there, that moment when you decide enough is enough and you’ve got to find something better.

Why choose custom?

Last spring my schooling boots failed beyond repair, and I started wearing my Tredstep Field Boots. They are beautiful, fit me like a glove and had previously been reserved for use only while showing and foxhunting. In an effort to ensure their continuing good looks I knew I should get another pair of tall boots to take up the brunt of my daily wear.  Despite being able to shop through an extensive offering of top name brand tall boots in both brown and black, finding an off-the shelf Continue reading The Scoop on Custom Tall Riding Boots

Beautiful Equestrian Style

 

Ariat Markham Equestrian Style Collection

Equestrian Style – Get the look!

It’s fall, and we are falling in love with this seasons equestrian style! A look that will take you from the barn to a night out with your fellow barn girls! This outfit screams sophistication. Stepping out into the store you won’t be getting the usual, “what is she wearing?” glances, rather a “where can I get those boots?”  or “I need that jacket!”.  The style of this outfit will surely get you noticed on and off your horse! Let’s get into the pieces making up this ensemble.

Ariat Markham Quilted Ladies Jacket

Ariat Markham Quilted Ladies Jacket

Ariat Markham Quilted Ladies Jacket features an attractive quilting for a stylish yet functional appeal both in and out of the saddle. Wind and water resistant. Lightweight polyfill insulation. $119.95

Irideon Cooldown Icefil Long Sleeve Ladies Show Shirt

Irideon Cooldown Icefill Long Sleeve Ladies Show Shirt

Irideon Cooldown Icefil long sleeve ladies show shirt offers great performace features in a shirt designed to keep you cool, comfortable and looking great in the saddle. Moisture wicking. Lightweight mesh underarm. Exclusive equestrian patterns inside the cuffs and collar. $89.95

Ariat Waverly Ladies Country Boot

Ariat Waverly Ladies Country Boot

Ariat Waverly Ladies Country Boot offers true equestrian style in a chic and elegant boot which elastic side panels for easy fit. This classic boot is ideal with skirts and skinny jeans for a flattering country appearance. $279.95

Kerrits Cargo Kneepatch Ladies Breech

Kerrits Cargo Kneepatch Ladies Breech

Kerrits Cargo Kneepatch Ladies Breech offer classic style in a durable cutting edge fabric that is designed to withstand the elements while keeping you cozy and comfortable. Polartec Windpro exterior shell, brushed fleece interior. Wind and water resistant. Gripstretch suede kneepatch. $106.95

Uvex Suxxeed Active Helmet

Uvex Suxxeed Active Helmet

The Uvex Suxxeed Active Helmet meets the most stringent international safety requirements for personal protective equipment. The Uvex brand provides the ultimate in safety, function, fit and style. This model provides a traditional but unique look with a high-tech interior that works well for the show ring. $349.00

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