How To Care For Riding Tack
Regular care and polishing of riding tack not only means that the bridle and saddle are well turned out – it also means that regular attention is paid to the wear and tear on the leather to prevent accidents and skin abrasions on the horse.
What you'll need:
Saddle soap with glycerine
A clean sponge
Saddle: A cheap and badly made saddle is a false economy, as it will certainly give the horse a sore back – a saddle should be made to fit both the horse and rider. It should be wiped over after each ride with a damp sponge to clean off mud and sweat, and worked with saddle soap to keep the leather supple. Check all straps and buckles for wear and loose stitching.
Girth: A poor girth can cause ‘girth galls’ which are troublesome and the horse cannot be ridden until the cure is complete. This can be avoided if care is taken in tightening the girths, and keeping them clean at all times. Have several in use so that the horse is never ridden with a damp girth. Check daily for wear and tear.
Bridle: Since this carries the bit and reins, it is essential the bridle is checked daily for safety, because it restrains the horse and directs its movements. Check the leathers and buckles after every ride, wiping over with a damp sponge and working with saddle soap to keep the leather supple.
Bit: Wipe over with hot water to remove saliva and prevent sore mouths.
Numnah: A felt, rubber or sheepskin pad cut in the shape of, though rather larger than the saddle and worn under it to prevent undue pressure from the saddle on the horse’s back. Always have a spare so that the horse is never ridden with a damp numnah; wash weekly to remove sweat and mud.
Head collar: If worn out in the paddock, the head collar gets covered in mud, so check and clean regularly. Also make sure that this is not too tight and cutting into the skin to cause sores. Leather head collars should also be saddle-soaped regularly.
Well maintained tack safeguards your horse’s health and your own personal safety.
Never use second-hand tack with dried-out leather and rusty buckles
Check all stitching, leather straps and buckles on a regular basis
Poorly maintained tack can kill!