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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
    Location
    Midland, NC, USA
    Posts
    7,298

    Default Tack Cleaning...

    Posting here since I think event tack gets a little more abuse than average.... :-)

    This is prompted by some unusual tack-cleaning behavior I've observed.... Does anyone else scrub their saddle with plain water before cleaning to "get the dirt out"?
    And then "wipe it down" with a conditioner-soaked rag rubbed over a bar of saddle soap? And leave it on? Is saddle soap supposed to be left on? Should a saddle get wetted down and conditioned on a weekly (or more) basis?

    I grew up cleaning tack with a damp sponge, saddle soap to get the dirt out, wipe clean, then conditioner if needed.... and all my tack looks great.... I was just wondering if I was nuts....

    Jennifer



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2008
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    716

    Default

    If its been a very muddy day out hunting and everything is absolutely spattered with mud, I will rinse first to get rid of the dirt, but otherwise: no. If its just light mud, I will let it dry, then brush it off then clean and condition as usual. But, I think using too much water on tack will dry it out (why you want a sponge that's not too wet when cleaning.) Just my 2 cents!
    It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
    Location
    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
    Posts
    3,635

    Default

    Never heard that before. I was taught to use as little water as possible. I use a very lightly damp sponge and the Belvoir tack cleaner spray. It leaves no residue and seems to do a very good job of getting off dirt and crud.

    I wait till the tack is dry and then condition with a light coat of Effax (or similar) lederbalsam, worked in with my fingers. I don't condition every week or every month — I just do it when I think it needs doing. Very scientific.

    My tack looks good and I haven't had any issues with things breaking, rotting, being really dry/stiff or being really floppy/greasy. But then, awhile back I did have a COTHer tell me I did it all wrong, so ...
    Full-time bargain hunter.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2002
    Location
    Down Under!!!
    Posts
    1,275

    Default

    Glycerin actually seals the leather, so it is best to clean the saddle first with a damp sponge and a non-glycerin cleaner. Then condition and finish with glycerin to seal the oils in. If you really want you can then buff the glycerin to leave a nice shine. This is how I was taught in Pony Club. That said, my tack gets cleaned everyday, as I ride a lot of horses and have barn help, and we oil quite a bit too...but use glycerin sparingly .

    Christan



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2003
    Location
    ID, USA
    Posts
    342

    Default

    thats how i was taught to clean my tack, was to get a damp washcloth and wipe it down, then take a leather conditionor, put that on a dry sponge then wipe across glycerine soap bar...put that on the tack and leave, the conditionor keeps it conditioned and the glycerine makes the tack shine..this is old fashioned but it keeps the tack nice and supple, but remember the washcloth is damp not wet.it works very well, but im lazy so i just use saddle soap and some leather balm...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    5,345

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by three_dayer View Post
    thats how i was taught to clean my tack, was to get a damp washcloth and wipe it down, then take a leather conditionor, put that on a dry sponge then wipe across glycerine soap bar...put that on the tack and leave, the conditionor keeps it conditioned and the glycerine makes the tack shine..this is old fashioned but it keeps the tack nice and supple, but remember the washcloth is damp not wet.it works very well, but im lazy so i just use saddle soap and some leather balm...
    I was taught by BHS to do the above,without the leather conditioner. We dampened the soap and used a slightly damp sponge. If you had/have suds it is too wet. Often I use a small soft rag these days.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,800

    Default

    The reason to use Castile soup is that it is soap designed for funky water. I can never remember the difference between hard and soft water--but one of them doesn't rinse very well. Castile has such a light lather that it is very easy to rinse.

    I hate glycerin. Glycerin build up is what makes tack feel sticky and gunky. Yuck. If glycerin increases the life of the leather then fine, I'll just buy leather goods more often...it's not like I'm not getting my money's worth from the twenty or thirty years I get out of a bridle now without using the stuff.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2006
    Posts
    5,563

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eventrider View Post
    Glycerin actually seals the leather, so it is best to clean the saddle first with a damp sponge and a non-glycerin cleaner. Then condition and finish with glycerin to seal the oils in. If you really want you can then buff the glycerin to leave a nice shine. This is how I was taught in Pony Club. That said, my tack gets cleaned everyday, as I ride a lot of horses and have barn help, and we oil quite a bit too...but use glycerin sparingly .

    Christan






  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,732

    Default

    I usually scrub it with a hot wash rag, squeezed out till damp. Rub it all around. Depending how long it has been since last cleaning, chances are pretty good I'll rub in Kaocholine instead of saddle soap. Then I let it sit a couple of days before ridiing in it.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2008
    Location
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Posts
    558

    Default

    Black Country told me not to use saddle soap (at least on their pre oiled leather, which is lovely) or glycerin. They recommended wiping any dirt off with a damp rag. They said to only occasionally oil with a creamy balsalm starting with the underneath of the flaps and whatever is left on the rag to wipe across the top. They said the best rule of thumb was to treat the leather like human skin and use things that have the consistency you would use on delicate skin.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
    Location
    Happily in Canada
    Posts
    5,240

    Default

    I clean my saddle with plain water and a sponge. I use a lot of water so that I don't get uneven water marks - then as soon as I've got the dirt off & rinsed, I use a big towel to dry the leather. I have been told (and agree) that using saddle soap just grinds the dirt in and tends to strip the finish and/or dye from the saddle.

    To condition I use Passier Lederbalsam (most of my saddles are Passier), not too often. More often I'll use Nikwax liquid - you have to find the right kind - it's a leather conditioner and waterproofer. It doesn't make your saddle gummy or get your breeches greasy, which I like. It's also great for riding in the rain - I worry a lot less about my leather - and it doesn't get all gummy or slippery like saddle soap which has been left on does.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2000
    Location
    Kennesaw Georgia
    Posts
    344

    Default

    I use a gel type glycerin soap regularly only on the items that get sweat on them. Everything else is wiped off with a really damp washcloth. I use Neatsfoot oil on everything. Not the compound as that rots cotton thread but the pure stuff. Last January I rode in snow/sleet/rain and neither of my saddles or bridles or boots were in anyway damaged by it because of the oil. I have not found that to be true of conditioners and learned it the hard way with ruined leather goods.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    4,343

    Default

    I wipe everything down after every ride (pretty much) with either a tack sponge, lightly damp with glycerine or a rag sprayed with Belvoir (in a hurry). If I am in a hurry all week, the belvoir makes it tacky after a few days! Everything gets oiled once a month or so- I clean as above, lightly oil, let oil soak in, then wipe again with an almost dry sponge with glycerine soap.

    I have a crappy cardboard leather saddle that is much better now after a year or two of that treatment and my cheap bridle looks good as well- never greasy or tacky, just nice and soft.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14,016

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirdCharm View Post
    Posting here since I think event tack gets a little more abuse than average.... :-)

    This is prompted by some unusual tack-cleaning behavior I've observed.... Does anyone else scrub their saddle with plain water before cleaning to "get the dirt out"?
    And then "wipe it down" with a conditioner-soaked rag rubbed over a bar of saddle soap? And leave it on? Is saddle soap supposed to be left on? Should a saddle get wetted down and conditioned on a weekly (or more) basis?

    I grew up cleaning tack with a damp sponge, saddle soap to get the dirt out, wipe clean, then conditioner if needed.... and all my tack looks great.... I was just wondering if I was nuts....

    Jennifer

    I have heard of both those things. When my tack has gotten wet or really dirty...I've done this......warm water with a sponge to get the dirt off and open the pores of the leather. Then you let it dry completely. Add conditioner soaked rag wiped once over a really good bar of glycerine. Let it sit and dry...then buff with a soft dry cloth.

    This is not something that I would do every day but it does work well. I will use the glycerine with conditions sometimes before a show because it gives the leather an extra "shine". Normally, I will use warm water to clean or something like Effax and then work in one of the really good leather balms. The leather balms actually work into the leather better if you rub it in with your bare hands. I don't use oil at much anymore except when first new.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2005
    Location
    Eventing Heaven, VA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    If it's muddy, a damp rag to knock off the dirt. Let it dry.

    Light coat of neatsfoot oil (again, not compound) as needed.

    Finish off with a barely damp sponge and glycerine saddle soap. I love the stuff Stubben makes that comes in the plastic tub. Good stuff.

    Daily, a wipe down with the glycerine. If I'm in a hurry at an event, I'll use something like Leather CPR or Horseman's One-step just for a super-quick wipe down bewteen phases.

    I've also found that I like the little bit of tackiness that glycerine leaves on my saddle. Any little bit helps...
    Why do I work two jobs to support a horse I don't have time to ride?



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2000
    Location
    Concord, NH
    Posts
    5,190

    Default

    And if you end up having to compete in the rain as often as I have in the past few years.... Passier Lederbalsam works really well to protect your tack. My only complaint about it is that it will create jockeys, which then require more cleaning, but my poor saddle has been soaked to the tree several times and keeps bouncing back looking good.

    If I am feeling my PC roots I do the castile, oil, glycerine routine. If I am am not, I like the Leather Therapy cleaner and then their oil.

    If it's going to rain, I slather on the Lederbalsam so I don't have to do as much CPR later on. I don't have running water in my barn and I am not a daily cleaner, but when I do clean, I do a thorough job.

    Oh, and speaking of Leather CPR - Avoid at all costs if you want to actually hold onto your reins or stay in your saddle. It made my tack shiny and slicker than snot. Of course I discovered this at a show and had to really do CPR to my tack before XC.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 27, 2003
    Location
    southern pines NC
    Posts
    206

    Default

    one of the barns i used to ride with would wipe down the tacke with a mixture of water and pinesol to get the dirt off then glycerin, and light oil. I always thought the pinesol dried the leather out, so that is why they conditioned on a daily basis, some of it was gummy too and i don't really know why.

    When i was working for people i would do a quick wipe down with glycerin then a light condition (lederbalsam or something similar)

    with my tack i usually do a quick wipe down with a damp sponge and a little glycerin, every couple months or so i do a deep clean and condition. I'm not riding as much as i used to or my tack would probably get a deep cleaning more than every couple months. even when i was riding alot i was a minimalist in the tack cleaning department on a day to day basis and would take it all apart and do a really thorough cleaning before a show.
    R.I.P. Bourneville Jester 12/06/06



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