Before & After: Tack Cleaning Edition
Tack cleaning is one of the most important aspects of horse care. Cleaning and conditioning your tack not only saves the leather from cracking and protects it from wear, it makes it more comfortable for your horse and safer for every ride. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to help you make tack cleaning part of your daily routine.
Products for Cleaning & Conditioning:
Finding the right products is an important part of your tack cleaning routine. There are many different varieties on the market, but I highly recommend Green Horse Organic’s Natural Saddle Soap. It comes in either a classic bar or jar form and is eco-friendly, contains no synthetic ingredients or detergents, and conditions your leather using plant-derived oils.
While a natural tack cleaner is perfect for everyday use, I also recommend investing in a high quality conditioner to be used a couple of times a week. I use Fiebing’s Pure Neatsfoot Oil because it is made from natural animal oils that replace the oils lost in your leather tack from daily use and wear.
Daily Tack Cleaning Steps:
I like to start by wiping down my bridle, saddle, and riding boots with a dry cloth to remove loose hair and dirt.
Wet a small tack sponge with water and then rub vigorously over Green Horse Organic’s Natural Saddle Soap to produce a light lather on the sponge.
Rub the lathered soap from the sponge onto your tack, making sure to get both sides of the leather. On bridles, I like to unbuckle each piece to make sure I get under and around all of the keepers.
To condition, use a separate tack sponge and apply a small amount of Fiebing’s Pure Neatsfoot Oil to it. Wipe across the entire piece of tack, making sure to get both sides of the leather and around buckles.
Using a dry cloth, gently wipe down your tack after cleaning and/or conditioning to get rid of any excess product residue. Snap a picture, because your tack will be looking brand new!
How To “Figure-8” a Bridle:
After cleaning, I like to organize my bridles by using the “Figure-8” method. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing to have a wall full of organized bridles in your tack room, it also helps protect the leather by keeping it soft and pliable. Follow along with the pictures below for guidance.
Hang the bridle from a hook so that the browband and noseband are facing you. Starting with the throatlatch from the left side, bring the throatlatch around the front of the bridle. After passing over the front of the bridle, go around the back and loop the reins through the throatlatch at the buckle. Continue around the front of the bridle again and secure the throatlatch on the right side. The throatlatch should make an “X” on the front of the bridle with the reins hanging down the backside.
Next, take the noseband and make sure it is on the outside of the bridle (opposite of how it is tucked in under the cheekpieces when the bridle is on the horse). Wrap both ends of the noseband around the bridle just above the bit and secure to itself at the front of the bridle. The noseband buckle should be sitting at the front of the bridle just above the bit.
Tack care can seem daunting, but by simply following the few steps from above, it can easily be integrated into your daily routine. Do you have any tack cleaning tips? Share them in the comments!
As always, thank you for joining and supporting our community. We are so excited to have you along for the ride!
Until next time,
pc: Jessica Champagne