The Stables

An expert guide to caring for your horse’s tack

In this article, Sean Whiting, Director of Houghton Country, offers his advice for cleaning and maintaining your horse’s tack.

Good equipment and accessories for your horse don’t come cheap, so it’s important to look after them as repairs and replacements can be costly. Your horse’s tack is tough, but small things like water, dirt and grease can break down the materials they’re made from, causing cracks and splits. This damage can cause your equipment to be unsafe and will cost you dearly in repairs or replacements. 

Dirty tack can also rub into your horse’s skin and cause irritation or infections, so it’s important you make sure all the different accessories are clean and fresh each time you use them, or you could injure your horse. So, below are some tips for keeping your equipment in top condition.

Daily maintenance 

There are a few simple things you can do every day to help your equipment last longer and keep it in good condition. A quick wipe down with a damp cloth or tack cleaning wipes after every use can help keep dirt and grease at bay, and patting the equipment dry with a fresh towel after a ride in wet weather can prevent water damage and stretching the leather. 

Store your tack properly to prevent it from getting misshapen or damaged — a saddle should be on a saddle rack off the ground and covered, and your bridles and reins hung on hooks rather than in a drawer or box. Heat, cold, and dampness can also affect the quality of your equipment and accessories, so you may want to move your stand and hooks to somewhere that is dry and a stable temperature.

Take it apart

Every month or so you should deep clean your horse tack, but all the different accessories can make this tricky to do. Dismantling the tack first is the most comprehensive way to clean each part, and you can prevent dirt build-up in places that are hard to reach during your daily wipe-down.

Check for damage every time you take it apart, as small cracks and tears can compromise the safety of your equipment for you and your horse. If you do notice any issues, contact a saddler to get them repaired before using the tack.

Use the right products

Genuine leather tacks need more attention than those made from synthetic fabrics, and they should only be cleaned, conditioned and oiled using specialist products to avoid spoiling. A spray tack cleaner and sponge can be handy for washing every component and some conditioner will give it polish. Special oils can be used at your discretion to keep leather supple and nourished, as well as to help repair worn and brittle tack. 

The tips in this guide can help you keep your horse’s equipment and accessories clean, functioning properly, and comfortable for your horse to wear. Remember to stick to products specifically formulated for use on leather and tack, or you could risk causing irreversible damage.

Win a tack cleaning bundle from Houghton Country!

We’ve teamed up with equestrian store Houghton Country to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a tack cleaning bundle. This fantastic prize includes Belvoir Tack Cleaner Spray, Belvoir Tack Conditioner Spray, Neatsfoot Compound Oil and a bonus tack sponge. 

Dirt and bacteria close to your horse’s skin can cause them to suffer irritation and infections, so it’s important to keep all their equipment and accessories clean. Perfect for sanitising your tack, the products in this bundle can also help protect the leather from cracking by keeping it in top condition. 

Step one, the Belvoir Tack Cleaning spray, is great for removing dirt, grease and sweat and contains anti-fungal cleaning agents that can help fight off mould, so your horse’s tack can be fresh each time they wear it. Then step two, the Belvoir Tack Conditioner Spray, helps keep your saddlery supple and less liable to wear and tear. The final step, Neatsfoot Compound Oil, can help restore old and brittle tack by soaking deep into the leather to nourish it and bring it back to its former glory. 

All the products in this bundle are designed for use on horse tack, so you can be confident that they’ll to clean and condition without compromising stitching. To top it all off, this bundle also includes a high-quality tack sponge for applying and rinsing off the cleaner, conditioner and oil, so it’s a complete kit for maintaining your equipment.

Haynet is running this competition through its Facebook channel. To enter, follow the steps below:

Like this Facebook post

Like Houghton Country on Facebook

Like Haynet on Facebook- should you not already!

It is as easy as that! Feel free to also share the post for your friends and family to enter too.

Closing date for this Facebook competition is at midnight on Friday 30th August 2019. The competition is open to UK entrants only. The winner will be notified on Saturday 31st August 2019 and the prize will be sent to them directly from Houghton Country.

Working together with Houghton Country