Ah, Spring!! Bet everyone, including
me, is eager to hit the trail. Along with spring cleaning and
putting away those winter blankets, don’t forget to take time to
check and clean tack.
There is nothing worse than starting
to tack up and having something fail like a loose chicago screw on
your bridle or worse a thinning piece of latigo. You know, the one
you keep saying you’re going to replace! Or tighten!
Take those favorite reins. The ones
that feel so good in your hands. They will last a long time if you
take a few minutes to care for them because what it all boils down
to is that there really is no excuse for not cleaning bridles and
saddles. There are saddle soaps that not only clean but add moisture
and waterproofing, all in one application. Our tack cost us good
money – so take care of it.
Remember to tighten all chicago
screws, especially the ones that hold the bit on. I lost a screw
when on a trail ride. Nic took me down a steep hill then at the
bottom spit out the left side of the bit. Not sure how long he
carried it but I’m glad he waited till we were safely at the
bottom. I learned my lesson that day about checking chicago
screws. Now I carry a bit of baling twine in my saddle bags in case
ANYONE ELSE, including me, has a problem with their tack!
And be sure to look at the ‘back
side’ of bridles. Make sure hair and sweat hasn’t accumulated there
which can cause pressure sores on your horse’s skin.
Take a good look at your cinches for
cleanliness and make sure your connector between front and back
cinch is strong. You don’t want that back cinch sliding back and
turning into a bucking strap! This happen to a fellow rider. He
rode the 8 seconds but had an ugly dismount. Also, back cinches
should be snug to your horse’s belly – they keep a saddle from
‘flipping’ forward when going down hill and are meant to be used,
not just decoration.
Check behind your stirrups which are
up against your horse’s skin for dirt and sweat. Make sure your
latigo leather isn’t thinning or tearing. Look at your conchos and
“saddle strings” for strength. They’re used to tie things such as a
jacket or saddle bags on your saddle. Flip your saddle over and
feel the lining for sharp points, thin lining, matted dirt around
the skirts. Take a peek at the stitching on both bridle and
saddle. Be sure to pay attention to stitching when cleaning and
protecting leather. Stitching can rot from dirt and sweat so give
it a good coating.
Lastly, check your horse’s saddle pad
for built up dirt/sweat/hair or a broken down shape. If it does
need cleaning be careful with detergents. They can easily irritate
your horse’s skin. (I use horse shampoo to wash tack that can be
washed and anything that goes on or against the horse.) Do this for
your own personal safety and your horse’s comfort. Plus to know
you will never miss a great trail ride because of something you put
Happy Trails and Stay Safe!
Bonnie & Nic