How to Care For Your Tack

horse tack

When it comes to riding horses, caring for your tack is an imperative part of the process.

If cared for properly, tack can last for years; however, if not taken care of on a regular basis, tack will often crack and break.

Fortunately, there are ways to care for tack that can keep it both healthy and gleaming.


Key Ingredient for The Right Care For Your Tack: The Right Type of Soap

One of the key aspects to taking care of your tack is knowing the right type of soap to use.

In addition to different brands of soap, there are several different types that serve a different purpose when it comes to cleaning tack.

  • Leather cleaner or “soap”: The base of all leather cleaners, leather soap should be the first step in caring for your tack. Although there are a wide variety of brands of leather soap available, all leather soaps should effectively remove dirt and grime from your tack. Of course, if your tack is covered in mud, it may be best to wipe off your tack with damp rag before using leather soap.
  • Leather Conditioners: Intended for use on leather that has already been cleaned, leather conditioners are designed to soften and preserve leather. As with leather soaps, there are a variety of different brands, and it may be necessary to experiment to find the leather conditioner that you like best, but all conditioners should effectively soften leather.
  • Oils: Although similar to leather conditioners, oils are considered to be stronger and can also alter the color of certain leathers. For example, Neatsfoot Oil is often used to bring hard and brittle back to life, but can also add a glisten to old leather. If you want your tack looking your best and feeling its softest, oils can often get the job done.



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When To Clean Your Tack

How often to clean your tack is a question that is often debated. While some suggest that tack should be cleaned after each use, others feel that cleaning it once a week is sufficient.

In reality, it’s nearly impossible to clean your tack too often. That being said, if you don’t clean your tack on a regular basis, you’ll find that the consequences can seem dire.

If not taken care of regularly, tack will often become brittle and begin to crack, which can be a safety issue.

How to Properly Store Your Tack

In addition to cleaning your tack with the right type of soaps, leathers, and oils, proper storage of your tack is also imperative.

Not only can you prolong your tack’s life by storing it properly, you can also ensure that your tack stays cleaner for longer.

  • Environment: When storing your tack, it’s best to find a place that is dry and non-dusty. If you store your tack in a humid or dusty area, you may find yourself having to clean it more often.
  • The Right Racks: In addition to storing your tack in the right environment, choosing the right racks, saddle or bridle, for your tack can also make a difference in the life of your tack. For example, it’s important to make sure that wooden and or metal racks aren’t scratching or damaging your tack.


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One Response to "How to Care For Your Tack"

  1. Yulie says:

    , was roughly twice as long. I cut it off to its curnert length using a cutting wheel and a Dremel Moto-Tool and then ground it smooth so that there were no sharp edges.This last kind of hackamore has had a very positive effect on Max because the torquing action causes him to flex at his poll. With this hackamore, Max will frame-up like a dessage horse. So I am very glad that I made the change.I am going into all of this, because I think it is quite possible that the hackamore may be very effective for you. The only way to know for sure is to run the experiemnt. Obviously, if one can remove the source of the horse’s issues (because of past trauma), one is much, much better off. However, I would be a bit careful about it and would not just slap an English hackamore on your horse as it will probably be too severe. I know from your question that you are very experienced, but as others may read this as well I want to emphasize that caution and good sense is in order.I don’t know if you have ridden using a hackamore much before, so I will briefly describe it. For me, riding in the hackamore is no different than riding using a bit. I use the hackamore in exactly the same way I use the bit. Feathering (repeatedly squeezing the rein like squeezing a sponge) against stiffness is the same, indirect rein if the same, half halts are the same, teaching your horse to seek contact is the same, etc. I had thought that the hackamore would be very different and that I would have trouble teaching Max to bend correctly in circles and so on. This has not been the case. For the horse, the logic of the hackamore seems to parallel the logic of the bit. Overall, I have been amazed at how little difference there is.At this point, it might well be possible for us to re-bit Max. Max is a very, very different horse now than he was when I began reschooling him. We have thought about re-bitting Max because it might be interesting to try to do some beginning eventing on him, and you have to have a bit for the dressage. But right now, we are busy enough doing pony jumpers that we have not gotten around to it. Also, Max goes so very well in the hackamore and the hackamore operates so much like a bit that there seems to be little point in trying to go back to the bit.When we switched Max to the hackamore, we did it on the lunge line. I was riding and Laura was in the center of the circle with the line. As I remember, I think I left the bit (a rubber snaffle) in his mouth (on a headstall) but completely inactive for a month or two after starting to use the side-pull. The conclusion was that it was pressure on the bit rather than the bit itself that was causing him to flip out. Because we were re-schooling a horse that had done a very dangerous thing, we worked on the lunge line for 2 or 3 months (I forget now) before I rode him off of the lunge. I forget when I actually got rid of the bit completely (instead of just letting it hang inactive in his mouth), but it was early on. I have not had a bit in his mouth since, which is probably about 5 years now.In any case, if I were to change a horse over to a hackamore today, I think I would start on the lunge line just to be safe, especially if the horse was at all hot or if I was unsure of how the horse might react. Incidentally, with Max, the transition to the hackamore went very fast. As I say, the logic for the horse of the hackamore is essentially the same as for a bit, so it is not like the horse has to learn everything, or for that matter, anything, from scratch. In just a few sessions (meaning 2 or 3), you should be completely switched over.Based on your question, I have a few ideas that might be worth experimenting with with regard to your use of poles in jumping. But I am out of time right now. I will try to follow up in a day or two.Also, I would be very interested in any follow-up questions or hearing about your experiences.Regards,George Easton

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