Spring Cleaning Anyone?
Well, it's that time of year again! At least that's what they tell me. As I write this I am looking out the window at a winter wonderland of white, but the weather man assures me it will warm up today, and I'm hopeful I will be out riding in a nice damp arena later today. At any rate, it seems to be this time every year that I inventory my tack room, bringing in anything that needs to get polished up before hitting the road this Spring. And while it may seem a daunting task to clean and condition a tack room full of fancy tack, it can be made pretty manageable with a few tricks. If you check out Heritage Brand's Tips and Hints page you can read the specifics on how to clean and condition your tack too. Here are a few tricks I've learned over the years that have cut down on my labor:
1. SOAK. Fill a tub or sink with warm water and submerge your tack in this briefly. This will help loosen and dissolve built up horse sweat, as well as any dust and debris between conchos and crystals. I will use a soft brush at this time on both the front and back of my tack. Avoid using any soap (even "leather soap" ) as this will dry out and damage your tack. *allow to completely dry after this step.
2. CONDITION. Neatsfoot Oil is by far the best product for conditioning your leather goods. It is cheap and can be found at most tack or feed stores. It has the consistency of a thick oil, and I've found it is best applied with a paintbrush or foam brush to help get between conchos and other embellishments. You can't use too much of this. Slather it on, let the tack sit, and then add another coat. Wipe off any excess that gets on embellishments immediately. You will be amazed at how "thirsty" your leather gets, and this is the best protection against cracking and sun damage.
3. SHINE. If your tack has crystals, then grab some Windex and a toothbrush and go for it. Spray a little on the brush and gently scrub the crystals to remove built up grime, then wipe with a soft cloth to polish. Voila! This step can be done whenever your crystals start looking dull for a quick and easy touch-up.
Until next time ~ Jess