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.