Confessions of A Horse Mom

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Spring Cleaning Special Part 2: Tidy Tack

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Wipe all excess/loose dirt off your tack before you begin with any product.
  3. Generously apply a layer of oil to tack and allow enough time to dry completely.
  4. Rinse your sponge or grab a clean one and thoroughly work cleaner into the leather. Allow drying time.
  5. Spread a layer of conditioner over the surface of tack working it in to all nooks and crannies.
  6. Lastly, let tack air dry before covering or returning to storage.

 

Although the process is relatively simple, remember these

FRIENDLY REMINDERS:

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,

Christine

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Spring Cleaning Special Part 1: The Brush Breakdown

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Spring is rapidly approaching and our horses are beginning to shed their blankets and hair. It’s almost time to say good riddance to those bulky blankets and hello to naked horses. As we pack those bad boys up it becomes official, the commencement of the long, arduous process that is; SPRING CLEANING! Before we break out the grooming supplies to clean up our four legged friends it’s probably a good idea to give your brushes a bath first.

It’s pointless to try to clean your horse with dirty brushes. Additionally, fungus and various contagions can be spread by brushes or hoof picks from one horse to another. Your safest bet is to have a set of brushes for each horse. Grime can easily build on the end of the bristles, this grime and residue will be transferred back onto your horse or another. This can be prevented by carrying a curry comb when you groom. Take the time to flick the brush against the curry to remove the remaining dirt before going back to your horse’s body.

If you’re looking to deep clean your brushes there are a plethora of techniques.  Brush Therapy, a small packet of powder, is the easiest way to clean your brushes. One packet of Brush Therapy will clean around 6-8 items. As the powder dissolves in warm water add your brushes to the solution. While soaking, the Brush Therapy will penetrate deep down into the dirt and grime returning your brushes to next to new condition. After removing the brushes from the solution, rinse with clean water and lay out to dry on a towel before returning to your grooming tote.

Nothing is much easier than Brush Therapy, but if you have large quantities of brushes bleach or warm water and a soft dish soap such as dawn or ivory soap may be a bit more efficient. If using bleach be sure your brushes are plastic since bleach has a tendency to dry out the wood/real hair on certain brushes.

Don’t forget that your horse is not the only thing that needs to be cleaned. Keeping all your equipment clean is vital to your horse’s health.

 

So, my confession you ask? Bath time is never just for my horse, it’s for my brushes too.

 

May there always be a hoof print next to your foot print,

Christine

 

 

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No Hoof, No Horse

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If you don’t take care of the hoof, then POOF, no horse! Keeping your horse’s hooves healthy and strong is imperative to his/her health; therefore it’s important to understand the proper care and maintenance.  Here are some of my pet peeves when it comes to my horses hooves.

Now, I know what most of you are thinking, feet?! That’s what my farrier’s for… false. You should always pick your horses feet before and after you ride or bring them in from turn out. It’s vital in case any debris or foreign objects have lodged themselves in the hoof. Picking feet daily also helps keep you alert as to what’s “normal” and what could be of potential concern.hoof

Common ailments to look for while picking your horses feet include (but are not limited to) cracks, thrush, puncture wounds, and abscesses. Thrush, a hoof condition caused by muddy or predominantly wet environments, usually manifests itself through a foul smell or dark ooze. If caught in the early stages it is fairly easy to treat with little consequence but if left unattended it can easily lead to lameness. Cracks can either be superficial surface cracks or very serious. Sometimes cracks are caused by an abscess and the best course of action is to contact your farrier to assess the crack and advise what treatment should be utilized. Puncture wounds that occur will most likely be invisible to the naked eye unless the object, such as a nail, for example, gets stuck. If left untreated puncture wounds can lead to an abscess. An abscess can best be described as a localized bacterial infection which often causes inflammation and lameness. While cleaning the hoof be sensitive to pulse and temperature since stronger digital pulse and heat are common signs of an abscess inside the hoof.

Make sure you have a farrier you know and trust so you can schedule routine appointments for your horse to get shod or trimmed. Don’t be afraid to call them with questions if the occasion arises. They are professionals and can help us with any uncertainties we may have and let’s face it, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While these are all pretty simplistic and routine procedures they are vital to keep our horses healthy, and a healthy horse is a happy horse.

So my confession you ask? Pedicures are NOT just for people.

May there always be a (healthy) hoof print next to your foot print,
Christine

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