Photo credit: Horse Channel
'Typical British weather': Rain, cold and high winds can make horse care a challenge but it isn’t only your horse who can need extra care and attention.
These weather conditions can all have an adverse effect on your tack too.
Given that your tack is one of the most expensive equestrian purchases you will make, it’s vital to take care of your leatherwork to ensure its longevity.
We have put together 10 tips on caring of the likes of your saddle, bridle and stirrup leathers to make sure they last for many seasons to come.
1. Clean your tack regularly
No matter how tempting it is when you come in wet and cold from hacking out, don’t leave cleaning your tack until the following day.
For a quick wipe-down, a damp cloth is enough but typically equestrian leathers will need a more thorough clean using a specialist cleaning product to keep them in top condition.
2. Don’t be lazy by cleaning your bridle while still in one piece
Take apart the components to make sure you thoroughly remove all dirt and condition everywhere.
If you’ve used your bridle on the same horse for a long time, you’ll be able to see where it goes back together by the creases at the buckle holes.
But, if it’s new, you may want to count the holes and make a note so it is easier to reassemble.
3. Only use specialist products
Never use baby wipes, vinegar or any other 'home remedy' for cleaning your tack as many of these products have chemicals and substances in them that can cause drying, cracking or colour loss.
If you're ever in doubt about what to buy, visit our online store. We manufacture a specialist range of equestrian leather care and restoration products including our Saddle Soap Cleaner and Saddle Soap Conditioner.
4. Condition your leathers
Direct heat as well as fluctuating temperatures, going from below freezing to warm, can cause your leather to dry out, resulting cracking.
Bare this in mind when drying and storing your tack and take the time to thoroughly condition it after cleaning.
5. Choose products that are multi-purpose
As you use your tack, sweat, dirt and grease will all attack your leather, causing it discolour.
Opt for a conditioner which also protects your leather in the future by helping to repel oil and water-based stains.
Our Saddle Soap Conditioner will add a protective barrier to the leather that will repel stains and even protect the surface from wear and tear.
Saddle Soap Conditioner being applied to leather
6. Remove any mould
Mould can have a devastating impact on your tack, burrowing into leather fibres and reproducing.
It can be impossible to completely eliminate mould from your tack room but using our specialist Leather Mould Remover should get rid of any mould, prevent its re-growth and remove that distinctive mouldy odour.
Do this outside to prevent any mould spores from hanging around in your tack room.
7. Make it shine
Use a metal polish to clean up any buckles and rings to add a little extra sparkle to your tack if you’re entering any winter dressage competitions.
8. Keep its shape
Hang your saddle on a saddle rack well above ground level to preserve its shape.
Invest in a saddle cover to protect it from dust, debris and any accidental scratches.
9. Revive old and worn leathers
If you have old saddles, bridles, girths or martingales lurking at the back of your tack room where the leather has become hard and brittle, it may be possible to revive it by using a product specially designed for older tacks.
Choose our Leather Revive to nourish and soften the leather and use our Leather Re-colouring Balm to restore any faded colour.
The colour has been restored to half of this saddle using our Leather Recolouring Balm
10. Most importantly, check for damage
While you’re cleaning and restoring your tack, it’s the perfect chance to check for any damage.
While proper cleaning and conditioning will elongate the life of your tack, nothing lasts forever.
Look for wear and tear, check all the stitching, and take anything which needs mending to a specialist tack repairer.
It’s imperative all your tack is well looked after for your own safety and that of your horse.
If your stirrup leathers, reins or girth straps snap while riding, you’re much more likely to have a fall or lose control of your horse.
Putting in some time and effort after each ride and choosing cleaning and conditioning products specially designed for your tack will make it last longer, ensure your horse is comfortable while you ride, and could even prevent a fall.