Letters: 03/01

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Dover Saddlery Response
While I applaud your efforts to discuss catalog shopping “pitfalls and perks” (December 2000), my overall reaction was that it didn’t do justice to the vital roll catalogs play in supplying the equestrian. While I have been president of two of the foremost equestrian catalogs, sales have increased by 300 to 400%. Clearly, this growth indicates the vital and popular roll catalogs play in fulfilling the consumer’s needs.

Further, your article, by providing a long list of catalogs without gathering what I consider vital information on these catalogs, gave the impression that all catalogs are similar to their offerings and ability to service the customer. For example, no mention was made of the number of pages in the catalog or quality of customer service. No attempts were made to test the promptness of delivery, the quality of the merchandise, or the number of times products are back-ordered. No attempt was made to measure the size of the companies or the knowledge of the customer-service personnel.

In my opinion, there is a vast difference in the selection and quality of merchandise available from the catalogs you listed. There is also a vast difference in their commitment to service the customer. At some future date, I would like to request that you present your readership with a more comprehensive analysis of this vital form of supplying the horseman’s needs. Dover Saddlery would be glad to participate and offers its assistance in gathering the information if you choose to foster a comprehensive study.

I would be glad to discuss our company, selection, products or heritage at any time with your staff or your readership (800/989-1500, www.doversaddlery.com).

-Stephen L. Day
President Dover Saddlery
Holliston, MA

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Spray Liniments
To save time and money I put all my liniments in an adjustable-spray bottle. It is easier to apply with little waste. I also put betadine in the spray bottle, which helps me “hit” spots that the uncooperative horse would prefer not to have touched. You can adjust the sprayer for a shot of medicine and do a good job cleaning wounds.

Horse Journal’s articles are valuable to me, and I buy products accordingly. I am sure I have saved the price of my subscription many times over by not wasting my money on useless products.

-Cathie Bobson
Las Vegas, NV

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Longer Leg Suggestion
I have a suggestion for the reader seeking help developing a longer leg (January 2001). Try a gaited horse! I, too, rode hunt seat for over 20 years. However, with my Thoroughbred retired, I followed my husband’s passion and purchased a Peruvian Paso.

Gaited horses require a completely different way of riding — deep seat, legs long and straight, weight barely resting in the stirrups. The rider is instantly rewarded for assuming this “sit-back” position because you can feel how much smoother the gait becomes (unlike trotting without stirrups, which was always torture for me).

Because the gait is bounce-free, it is easier to concentrate on maintaining this position without worrying about balance. It’s also a gait that can be comfortably maintained by horse and rider for the long stretches necessary to develop muscles. Once muscles and balance are developed, it should be easier to translate this seat to a dressage mount. Of course, after a few sessions on these horses you might scrap trotting horses all together for the ultimate in trail-riding comfort!

-Kirsten Marek
Blackstone, IL