Getting Show Ring Ready – Clean that Tack

Polo Saddles
Creative Commons License photo credit: geishaboy500

Cleaning your tack and equipment comes with the territory of riding. If you ride, western or English or drive, you should clean your tack and equipment. Sometimes it seems like a chore but in the long run, it’s worth it.

Tip 1 

  • After removing the bridle dip the bit in the horses water bucket. I learned this from a friend who rode several horses a day and cleaned tack for every horse every ride. This prevented any build up on the bit to dry before she had a chance to rinse it off
  • I like this idea because before you even get to the tack room the bit is already clean! Make sure, however, to use the horses water bucket. Do not dip it in another horses bucket in case of contamination.Saddled
    Creative Commons License photo credit: eric.surfdude

Tip 2

  • Before removing your saddle, wipe the saddle off while it is still on the horse! I saw this done several years ago by a seasoned rider who hated being in the tack room. She had her sponge and cleaner in the aisle way with her and cleaned and wiped off her tack before she removed it off the horse! How clever is that?
  • Using spray on saddle soap made things easy as well. The tack is at a convenient level. There is plenty of room and you get your horse used to the spray bottle sound!

Tip 3

  • Brush off polo wraps, boots, bandages before you remove them from your horse’s legs. After doing this for so many years it is just a habit for me now. I started doing this after one particular ride my white polo wraps were covered in dirt. I really didn’t want to have to wash them again so I brushed the dirt off while they were on my horse’s legs. I used them again and again. It increased the amount of use between washings.


Equipment can be an expensive part of your horse budget. You should clean your tack because:

  • It lasts longer. – Taking care of your equipment, leather in particular, provides it with much needed moisture IMG_2591
    and protection. Feeding your leather with the proper products will ensure that it lasts in good condition for a long time. Unclean and ill maintained tack will crack, split and be unuseable.
  • It looks better – It is a great site to see clean and gleaming tack ‘put up’ in the tack room. You feel good about it and it enhances the look of your horse.
  • It feels better – The leather itself will feel soft and pliable. The buckles are effortless to do up and the leather is easy to manage.
  • You learn to know your tack. – When you are cleaning and checking your tack it is the perfect opportunity to ensure if any repairs are needed. This means checking for poor stitching, split or worn out leather. Think of it as an opportunity to review your equipment.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Thowra_uk


About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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