For many years I cleaned my tack every time I rode. As a working student in my teens, I also cleaned tack for other people. My own saddle was always immaculate as it was my most prized possession.
In my 20s I rode at an event barn where our trainer fully expected your tack to be clean and ready for inspection after every ride. The sink and bridle hanger was our “water cooler” where we all gathered after lessons to clean our tack before we left the barn.
Now, I’m not quite so diligent. And I cheat a bit. For instance, when I’m not foxhunting, I ride in a Wintec bridle. I really like the fact that I can dunk the whole thing in a water bucket after I ride and clean both bit and bridle. As for my saddle, I usually wipe it down after I ride with one of those handy tack wipes and then clean it once a week or so.
Compared to many of the 1,050 readers who responded to a poll conducted by The Horse, that’s pretty good.
Results were as follows:
- 31.75% (335) of respondents cleaned their tack just once a year.
- 23.41% (247) cleaned their tack monthly.
- 21.23% (224) cleaned their tack before every horse show.
- 20.38% (215) cleaned their tack when it looks dirty or something breaks 20.38% (215)
- 10.31% (142) other.
- 3.22% (34) said, I don’t clean my tack.
While I consider my own tack cleaning regime to be rather lax, I’m surprised by how many people admit to cleaning their tack so infrequently. I keep my tack clean primarily for two reasons: 1) to make it last longer and 2) to make sure it’s safe. I have a small fortune invested in my saddles and I feel an obligation to keep the leather clean and at the proper level of moisture. Plus, I don’t want to be caught out by having something break because it’s unduly worn or cracked from becoming too dry.