Hi. My name is Alison and I'm a tackaholic.
To some people, that phrase may imply that I have too many saddles, bridles, bridle pieces, halters, girths and more. I prefer to believe that I don't have enough horses. Either way, the end result is that a lot of my leather goods go unused for months at a time. They are stored in Rubbermaid bins, in my tack locker, in my garage, and possibly the trunk of my car. I do clean and condition them all periodically, but probably not often enough. So I reached out to saddler and leather care expert Christian Lowe, to find out the best way to store and protect tack. Here are his top tips:
- The biggest issues you are trying to combat are leather drying out or getting mouldy
- Avoid storing tack for long periods in tack trunks / lockers and bridle bags. They act like a Petri dish. Even saddle covers can pose a problem.
- Ventilation and climate control are your friends. A heated / air conditioned tack room or room in your house are ideal storage locations. Do not store tack in your garage.
- Prepare tack for storage with a thorough cleaning and light conditioning. Completely disassemble smaller items like bridles, and for larger items such as saddles, use a soft toothbrush to clean into all the crevices as much as possible.
- If you use a lot of water during cleaning, (which you shouldn't) allow the leather to air dry for a day before conditioning.
- Check your stored tack monthly. If it feels stiff, condition lightly with a good quality leather balm (it just so happens Christian makes my favourite one).
- If after a month you notice mould developing, find a new storage location. Leather care products containing tea tree oil can help kill mould spores but this is an issue you are better off avoiding, rather than trying to treat it.
- Girths are especially hard to clean. Mould typically grows on the elastic before the leather. Use a toothbrush to scrub all stitch lines and never store the girth over seat of your saddle. Hang it up to let the air get at all sides. If you must lay it over the saddle, do so over the cover or put a towel down first.
- If you must store your tack in a locker, hang some activated charcoal to help with air purification. (I found these with a quick Amazon search).
Christian's advice is very helpful for tackaholics like me. But I'll add my own words of wisdom: if you have too much tack, then buy more horses!
About the author
I'm a middle-aged, overweight, rusty re-rider who refuses to let any of that get in the way of my passion for dressage.