Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Horse Tack
Taking the time out to properly care for your tack can greatly increase its life and usefulness.
The cost of tack and equipment often has a massive impact on a horse owner’s budget, with improperly maintained equipment often making the hobby prohibitively expensive. With proper care, your tack won’t just last longer, but will also go a long way in preventing accidents and injuries to both the horse and its rider. To that end, here are five ways in which you can maximize the life of your tack and equipment.
- Clean the Tack Room Regularly: This should go without saying. You can’t keep your tack clean if the storage room is dirty. An ideal tack room should be clean, cool, and as dry as you can keep it. A humid storage area increases the possibility for mold to grow, and it greatly reduces the life of leather. Keeping the moisture levels low can be particularly challenging in the summer, so it really requires utmost attention and care. You should also dust the tack room weekly to prevent excessive build-up, and check for mold and vermin. It’s better to do this frequently, since the longer you put it off, the more tedious a job it’ll be when you actually do it.
- Tighten Up: You should put aside one day each month to do a thorough check of your equipment, to make sure all the belts, buckles, and screws are tight and secure. In addition to this, always give your equipment a quick check before you saddle up to make sure everything is where it should be. This seems minor but if there’s a screw or two loose, you’ll want to find out while both your feet are still on the ground.
- Sanitize: It’s not uncommon for owners of multiple horses to share grooming supplies between them. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but you will definitely want to minimize the number of germs that are shared along with the supplies. A quick dash of disinfectant spray on brushes and supplies between use should kill most bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew. Of course, you could avoid this whole thing by keeping separate brushes and saddle pads for each horse.
- Condition the Leather: A coarse and dry saddle isn’t just uncomfortable to ride on; it’s also an eyesore. It is important to routinely condition your saddle. You will want to try multiple products to figure out which one works for you and your saddle. It’s also advisable to test your conditioning products at home first, to make sure your conditioned saddle feels right. Some conditioners can leave the saddle sticky and may even leave a residue which can be a nightmare if your riding outfit is a light color.
- Dry Cleaning: About twice a year, it’s advisable to give your equipment a dry cleaning. Wash all of your horse blankets, saddle pads, polo wraps, and grooming supplies regardless of how recently they’ve been used. After a deep cleaning, be mindful of the storage methods mentioned above to ensure you store your equipment in a clean room. You can store your clean, dry blankets and sheets in plastic containers when they aren’t being used. Always label your containers with their contents so you can find what you need in a pinch. If you find that some of your equipment is going too long without seeing any use, you can always sell or donate it.
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