How to Clean and Condition Leather Tack
Leather tack needs to be regularly cleaned and conditioned. Using a saddle soap like Fiebing’s Saddle Soap can help you keep it clean and condition it. You can also use a leather conditioner. A good one to use is Belvoire Step 2 for more frequent conditioning.
Keeping it clean
Keeping your horse’s leather tack clean and condition is an important part of horsemanship. While you should always use water to clean your tack, you also need to use a gentle soap and sponge to remove dirt and grime. Be sure to use a leather soap or cleaner, as harsh chemicals can cause harm to the leather. Many horse owners are now turning to one-step cleaner/conditioner combos.
When not in use, leather tack should be stored in a climate-controlled room, away from extreme heat and sunlight. Moreover, it should never be stored in plastic trunks or plastic bags, which don’t allow the leather to breathe properly. If your tack is in storage for long periods of time, you need to condition it regularly to keep it from drying out.
When preparing your leather tack for use, make sure to clean and condition it before storing it. Fresh leather may have a light film, which is caused by a light preservative that was used during shipping and storage. It’s also important to remember that leather is an organic material that can be damaged by temperature and weather changes. Therefore, attempting to condition your leather tack in a cold climate can be a frustrating experience.
Keeping it conditioned in a cold climate
In a cold climate, it’s important to clean and condition your tack less often, and if possible, store it in a dry, well-ventilated area. This will allow the leather to breathe and naturally balance itself. You can also use a dehumidifier or fan to reduce humidity.
During cold climates, leather tack is susceptible to mold, mildew, and insects. Keeping it clean and properly condition can prevent the tack from degrading prematurely. Proper care can help to keep it looking like new for years to come.
Water stains can be a real problem for your tack. Water stains can erode leather fibres, leaving them stiff and brittle. If you clean your tack thoroughly, the stains may dissolve. However, if they have become permanent, you may have to strip them and re-dye them.
After cleaning and conditioning your leather tack, you can oil it. It is important to apply oil sparingly, as too much oil will add weight to the tack. Also, too much oil can cause the leather to stretch.