Why Do We Clean Tack?
We clean tack to keep it looking nice, to check for cracked leather or frayed stitching, and to make it last longer.
Find Weak Stitching or Cracks
Tack gathers dirt, sweat, and horse slobber that can break down the leather and stitching over time.
Cleaning your tack gives you the opportunity to look for cracks, weak stitching, and breaks that need to be repaired or replaced.
It Looks Nice & Lasts Longer
Tack is expensive! Your leather and stitching will last longer when properly cared for which will save money in replacement costs over time.
The leather in clean and conditioned (oiled) saddles and bridles is more supple and easier to buckle than dry and dirty leather.
Clean tack is more attractive than dirty tack. Cleaning it keeps it looking nice and cared for.
How to Clean Tack Video
Watch an expert tack cleaner show us how to clean a horse bit and saddle.
Steps to Cleaning Tack
Gather Your Supplies
- Gather any tack you want to clean including saddles, bridles, bits, leather girths, and halters.
- Saddle Soap & Conditioner
- Small sponge
- Rag (optional)
Clean the Bit
Before you put soap in water or on sponge, soak a dirty bit in clean warm water. Use a sponge or rag to remove any gunk stuck to the bit. Do not use saddle soap on the bit, just clean warm water.
Clean the Saddle
Get the sponge wet and squeeze any excess water out. Apply a saddle soap to the sponge.
Use a circular motion to apply the soap to the saddle, starting with the seat and working your way under and around the whole saddle. Don’t forget the billets under the flap. Rinse out the sponge as it gets dirty or if you run out of soap. Put more soap on the sponge and repeat the process for the entire saddle.
Clean the Bridle
The bridle can be taken apart for a thorough cleaning, or cleaned while it is assembled for a quick wipe down after a ride. Work your way around the metal pieces, straps, and holes without leaving a sudsy residue on the leather. Rinse the sponge and reapply soap as needed.
Condition the Leather
Apply the conditioner to a dry or nearly dry sponge or rag. Apply the conditioner in a circular motion covering the entire saddle. Reapply conditioner as needed.
You do not need to rinse the sponge or rag between applications of more conditioner.
Tip from the Pros
You should NOT be able to create sudsy bubbles when you squeeze the sponge. If you can, wring out more of the water so the sponge is damp but not dripping wet.
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