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Posted on Sep 1, 2015 in Articles, Tack

Why it is important to clean your tack daily!

Why it is important to clean your tack daily!

Lets put it this way, would you like to put a dirty bit in your mouth? Or stiff, sharp and dirty tack on your back and head? Think of this from your horse’s point of view.

Riders put their tack through a lot of abuse. The dirt, sweat and horse slobber that saddles and bridles are subjected to in their daily use can break down the leather and stitching over time. While few riders have the time to give their tack a thorough cleaning after every ride, it’s important to make sure you don’t let the dirt get out of hand.

It never ceases to amaze me how many riders do not look after their tack or clean it weekly let alone daily!. We have a routine as most top professional event yards whereby the tack is cleaned or at least wiped over daily now if tack from 10-20 horses can be cleaned then those who have one or two can surely manage to find time to clean the tack or at least wash the bit after use.

Cleaning tack  gives you the chance to look for breaks and things that need repairing. If you find a girth strap is a bit loose you know not to use it and get it repaired. You can also check the flocking in the saddle isn’t bunching up, causing discomfort , you will notice weak stitching or cracks in the leather on reins all of which could affect your safety whilst riding!

Cleaning the bit not only makes it look better and keep it in good condition, it’s also nice for your horse to have a clean bit that’s not covered in bits of crap that he’s eaten over the past year.

Cleaning tack also keeps it looking nice. Who wants to go out with a grimy muddy saddle and bridle? It also keeps it lasting longer. Tack is not cheap! It also makes it easier for you because a well cleaned/oiled saddle and bridle is supple and will be much easier to buckle up.

Daily Care

If you take a few steps to get rid of some of the superficial dirt after each ride, it will save you time and effort when you do attempt a major cleaning.

After you take off your horse’s bridle, wipe off the bit with a clean rag or towel. Some riders dunk the mouthpiece of the bit into the horse’s water bucket to rinse it off, but this is not as effective, and can subject the leather part of the bridle to regular soaking if you’re not careful. Cleaning the bit after each use will prevent the caked-on, dried slobber that can be a challenge to scrape off. A clean bit is also more pleasant for your horse to wear.

Many riders like their horses to work the bit in their mouths.The resulting foam around the mouth is often considered a sign that the horse has accepted the bit. However, when that saliva reaches the leather bridle, it can be damaging. Water weakens leather if it has a chance to soak in. Dried saliva can attract dirt, which will wear away at the leather, or it may cause mold over time. If your horse is a drooler, make sure that you wipe down the reins and cheekpieces near the bit on your bridle after each ride.

Similarly, if you’ve given your horse a solid workout or the weather is warm and your horse has worked up a sweat, be sure to at least wipe down any part of your tack that contacts the horse’s body. Generally a saddle pad will protect the underside of your saddle, but take the time to check. Sweat and the dirt it brings with it can cause irreparable damage to your tack.

Horses tend to sweat in the girth area even if they don’t break a sweat anywhere else, so it’s a good idea to make wiping off your girth after each ride a regular habit, this will also help prevent sores around the girth area.

Make sure you store your tack correctly and don’t just dump it wherever is easiest hang bridles correctly and keep saddles on saddle racks this will keep you tack in better condition and make it last longer!

tack room

In a perfect world all tack rooms would be climate-controlled with dehumidifiers running full-time to protect leather from mold-friendly moisture. In the real world, damp weather in less-than-ideal storage situations means mold and mildew are a reality for many riders. Moldy leather has a white or greenish powdery substance on it. If left for a long time or in especially damp conditions, the mold can take root and cause serious damage.

If your tack is a victim of mold, dilute rubbing alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio. Dampen a cloth with the mixture and wipe down the affected areas. Condition the leather afterwards and make sure you let your tack dry completely before putting it away, especially if you expect to store it for a while. Be sure to clean your moldy tack in a well-ventilated area so that you don’t have to inhale a heavy concentration of mold spores.

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