Contrary to popular belief, tack cleaning is not just for the night before a horse show. Your tack should be oiled, cleaned and conditioned on a regular schedule to keep it nice and more importantly prolong the life of the leather.
Taking care of your tack daily will help make your deep cleaning days much easier. After each ride be conscious of your equipment. Wipe down your bit and tack to prevent a buildup of residue that could eventually cause mold or sticky leather. Take extra care during the summer/warmer months since horses have a tendency to sweat more during those seasons.
Your simple solution to sparkling tack:
- Gather all necessary products. You will definitely need four basic supplies, a nice soft sponge without an abrasive side, leather oil, a tack cleaner and a tack conditioner.
- Wipe all excess/loose dirt off your tack before you begin with any product.
- Generously apply a layer of oil to tack and allow enough time to dry completely.
- Rinse your sponge or grab a clean one and thoroughly work cleaner into the leather. Allow drying time.
- Spread a layer of conditioner over the surface of tack working it in to all nooks and crannies.
- Lastly, let tack air dry before covering or returning to storage.
Although the process is relatively simple, remember these
Take your tack apart when cleaning it. Do not be afraid to really get into all the crevices. Some people are intimidated by taking all their tack apart. This tactic leads to the best results cleaning wise and is also excellent practice to familiarize yourself with your equipment by taking it apart and putting it back together.
- You always want to oil your tack first. ESPECIALLY when you are dealing with new leather. New leather should be strictly oiled, no cleaner for the first few weeks after purchase so the oil can really work itself in to soften the leather and make it supple. Tack cleaner clogs the pores of leather, therefore if used before it prevents the oil from doing its job properly. Even if the tack isn’t new, the benefits of oiling first are plenty. Mainly, as the oil penetrates deep into the pores of the leather it forces dirt and grime to the surface which can then be removed during cleaning.
- Check your tack before you clean. Always be sure to do a “once over” of your tack before you start cleaning. Check carefully for any rips or tears in your leather to ensure safety for both horse and rider.
So, my confession you ask? I have more tack cleaning supplies than house cleaning supplies!
May there always be a hoof print next to your foot print,