Tack cleaning is a bit of a taboo subject with equestrians, let's face it, no one wants to talk about more work!!
However; regular, thorough tack cleaning can save you money and time!
Cleaning your tack is vital to make the leather last longer, especially in the winter months what with mouldy and wet tack. It also helps to avoid rubbing/sores on your horse where dirty tack has been moving against skin.
Taking your tack apart is also very important to insure that you properly nourish every piece and to free up the buckles, should you need to change the tack around at any point.
For best results, we suggest taking your tack apart and giving it a deep clean every month and wiping it over every time you ride.
Here is our tack cleaning regime, everyone has their own way of doing things (life would be boring otherwise!) but we find this is the best method for suppleness and shine so we highly recommend it, please let us know if you have anything to add!
Step 1 - Undo every buckle! We find using a spoon handle is helpful for stubborn buckles.
Step 2 - Gather a 'golden hairy' sponge (abrasive on one side, soft on the other), tack cleaning spray, your chosen saddle soap, leather balsam/food, a soft sponge and a bowl of water. Place bits and stirrups into a sink full of hot, soapy water.
Step 3 - Spray tack cleaning spray (we like to use 'leather cleanse spray' by NAF) onto the abrasive side of a dry sponge and then add saddle soap to the sponge (we like to use soft soap by NAF).
Step 4 - Scrub the tack, not adding any water, just spray. If the sponge gets dirty, rinse it out but make sure to wring it well, you don't want to b adding water to your healthy leather tack as it will only dry it out. If you end up with dirty lather on your tack, wipe it away with a very slightly damp cloth.
Step 5 - Smother the soft sponge in leather balsam or food (our favourites are Stubben and Renapur) and rub it into your tack to make the leather a soft and supple as possible!
Step 6 - Clean the bits and stirrups with an abrasive sponge or scrubbing brush. Make sure to dry everything properly. Our top tip for bit cleaning is to use brasso! Try not to get any on the parts of the bit that will go in your horse's mouth!
Step 7 - Put it all back together!