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Proper care for horse tack and leather

Keep your horse's saddle looking its best by adequately cleaning it after usage.

Taking care of our horses’ accessories is often overlooked as an essential exercise to training. Practicing proper maintenance for your tack and leather accessories will not only ensure that your investments continue to flourish, but can also help promote adequate safety and handling while riding on your horse. Caring for your horse tack and leather requires more than just the occasional cleaning. Knowing which maintenance techniques provide the most benefits for you and your horse will enhance your training and riding experience. Take a look at some tips for practicing proper care for your horse tack and leather products, as well as the advantages that will follow:

Benefits of tack and leather care
There’s more that goes into proper tack and leather care than just ensuring your products continue to look their best. The biggest factor to note is that routine cleaning is absolutely mandatory due to the abundance of microorganisms that can accumulate from your horse’s sweat or saliva. Failure to appropriately wash leather accessories may also lead to a mold buildup, as the excess moisture can become an inviting environment for fungi. Another consideration when it comes to tack maintenance is ensuring the comfort and safety of your horse. If your saddle isn’t as smooth and fitting as you know its capable of, you could cause irritation every time you ride your horse.

Proper cleaning techniques
The biggest rule of thumb to take away from practicing efficient maintenance of your horse’s tack equipment is that the more time you spend caring for it, the less work you’ll have to do in the long run. After every ride you take on your horse, you should wash all the accessories you’ve used, whether it be the saddle, bridle or halters. An easy way to effectively scrub off any sweat or saliva stains is to keep a water-filled bucket and a sponge handy at all times in the stable. The best type of soap to use on these products is glycerin soap, which will clean without affecting the accessory’s finish or texture. Remember, leather is prone to dryness caused by environmental factors like sweat and dirt, and washing with water or oil-based products will keep the material hydrated and maintain its appearance.

After you’ve scrubbed your tack with soap and water, feel free to apply some leather conditioner to your saddle or bridle to keep its finish glossy and clean. A great product to keep in mind is Finish Line’s Neatsfoot Oil, a product that’s comprised of 100 percent natural neatsfoot oil that will keep your leather accessories in pristine condition after usage. All it takes for appropriately applying these oils is a quick rubdown along the material, followed by wiping off any excess substance with a towel.

Tack and leather environment
Where you keep your leather-based accessories when you’re not using them can play a pivotal role in their maintenance. If you hang your saddle and halters in a room that’s constantly exposed to higher levels of humidity, the excess moisture invites mold and bacteria to accumulate on the material. Buying a dehumidifier to keep next to all your equipment is always a good idea to avoid potential mold on your tack.

If you ever notice that mold is becoming a problem for your horse riding accessories, replacing them doesn’t have to be the first option. Try adding some rubbing alcohol to a bucket of water and wipe off the equipment with a damp cloth. Apply leather conditioner afterwards, thoroughly dry it off and let it hang next to a dehumidifier for a few days to see if the mold dies down. If this technique doesn’t work, it might be time to give in and purchase some new equipment, while remembering the appropriate cleaning techniques you’ll need to perform to avoid these scenarios in the future.

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