Tack Care And Conditioning – Top 3 Tips for Tack Care

Saddle fitting, Saddle fit, horse tack, Laura Kelland-May, Hunter Judge Canada, Horse Training Ontario,

Tack Care And Conditioning

Creative Commons License photo credit: johnson1952…

Have you wondered the best way for tack care and conditioning? Or the best way to clean your tack? I’m sure you’ve seen it, saddles covered in mold, bridles left in disuse. Those moldy leather pieces can be brought back to life with some TLC and tack care and conditioning.

Tack care and Conditioning

Tack care and conditioning is about prevention. Prevent the leather from drying out is the best cure. The best cure to prevent your tack from losing its value is to take care of it. This means daily care. Daily care involves:

  1. Rinse the bit immediately after removing the bridle – I do this by dunking it in the horse’s water bucket! Make sure you use YOUR
    horses water bucket! After dunking it is important to DRY the leather. If not the wet leather may be subject to rot. While I dunk and wipe, others have success with a wipe of a clean towel. This removes saliva, and if your horse has been grazing with the bit in its mouth – green slime!

    Saddle fitting, Saddle fit, horse tack, Laura Kelland-May, Hunter Judge Canada, Horse Training Ontario,

    Tack Care And Conditioning

  2. Wipe the sweat, rain and wetness from your reins, and bridle with a towel dampened with diluted dish soap. the dampened towel will help gentley remove sweat and dirt. The roughnes from the towel will remove the sweat and dirt buildup. The mild detergent from the soap will help remove unwanted dirt and oil and help prevent dirt buildup. Use a quality conditioner to replentish the oil back into your leather.
  3. After riding, wipe your saddle with a liquid conditioner/cleaner. While still on the horse I take advantage of having the saddle on eye level and spray a few spritze with an easy to use spray on conditioner/cleaner.

Prevent Mold and Mildew

Things that cause your tack to get moldy/mildewy:

  • Damp conditions such as rain, humidity, horse sweat, people sweat, damp saddle pads, damp saddle coversCreative Commons License photo credit: geishaboy500
  • Disuse. If you are not planning to use your tack and equipment any time soon then clean it and slather a layer of leather conditioner on it to prevent the leather from getting mildewy.
  • Lack of daily care. A simple wipedown is all that your saddle and bridle needs to keep it from being the victim of mold.

Identify Moldy Leather

Moldy leather has a greenish tinge and has a powdery nature. If you suspect your leather to have mold on it, take it outdoors or into a well ventilated area to avoid breathing in the mold spores. If you find your saddle or bridle has mold on it then use a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water. Dampen a soft cloth and wipe down the leather with this mold killer solution.

After cleaning with alcohol check the integrity of the leather and stitching. Mold not only rots the leather but can also damage stitching and clasps.

Mold and mildew grow on the saddles due to the moist conditions present in the stable and tack room. Tack rooms with climate controlled de-humidifiers would help reduce the mold and mildew build up but a wipe down and daily care can also prevent it.

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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2 Responses to Tack Care And Conditioning – Top 3 Tips for Tack Care

  1. Thanks for this reminder on tack cleaning. Daily would be ideal, but too much tack and too few hands here make that a tough one. We’ve had a lot of problems with mold this year unlike any time prior (it’s been humid). Although it’s a bit messy, for tack that’s not being used, a coat of Vaseline can help keep the spores at bay.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks for the comments. And thanks for the vaseline tip. Vaseline coat is a great idea to prevent mold spores. I have a few pieces of tack that could have used a coat of petroleum jelly.

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