For some people, cleaning tack is a relaxing activity; while for others, it is a required chore.
Whatever your feelings, it is important to clean your tack regularly and check for wear and tear while you clean.
Leather is meant to be flexible – so to keep it flexible, it must be cleaned and oiled regularly.
The first thing to do is to clean the saddle of dust, mud and horse hair. Glycerin based products usually work best.
Next, lightly oil the saddle. Once the saddle has been cleaned and oiled, set it on a saddle stand. (Avoid laying it on the floor on its pommel as this can cause the fenders to curl)Tip: Keep your saddle dust free by covering it with a saddle cover. If you don’t have a saddle cover on hand, you can use a clean blanket or sheet.
Bridles and reins can be cleaned the same way. Be sure to hang your bridles up by the crown pieces on a round hook in order to keep their shape throughout the winter. Any rawhide tack should be moisturized with a rawhide cream and stored in a plastic bin.
6 Tack Tips for Cleaning Leather:
1. Wipe down your tack after each use.A quick once-over with a slightly damp rag after each ride will go a long way to removing the caked-on grime that can be tough to remove after it's dry.
2. Have the proper tools on hand.Multiple small sponges, a stiff toothbrush and several clean rags make tack cleaning more efficient.
3. Use warm water.Warm water cuts through crud more quickly than cold. If you have only cold water at your stable, either take along a thermos of hot water to be used for a post ride once-over or haul your tack to the house for a cleaning session.
4. Minimize suds.Foamy soapsuds don't make tack any cleaner and increase the time required for rinsing. Use a scant amount of soap to loosen grime and aim for suds-free scrubbing.
5. Consider a one-step cleaner.Rather than clean first, then condition, try all-in-one leather-care products to see if they leave your tack acceptably clean and pliant.
6. Store tack properly.Throwing saddles and bridles into airless car trunks or leaving them out in dusty barns will make them get dirtier and moldier. Temperature extremes are also harmful to leather, accelerating its breakdown.
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