There’s no denying it: cleaning your horse tack is a chore. At the end of a long day of other barn chores and schooling or showing, you’re tired, your body aches, and the last thing you want to do is more work. Cleaning your horse tack, however, is essential to preserving the life of your tack and keeping it in working condition. Having tack that functions as it should keeps accidents from happening while you’re using it. Dry, cracking stirrup leathers or bridle parts can snap, putting you in a risky situation. Make sure you have what you need to take proper care of your tack items, and set yourself up to clean everything in a streamlined process.
The Essential Tack-Cleaning Supplies
There is a multitude of tack cleaning products available, from various soaps to many ways of conditioning and keeping your leather horse tack supple. Start with finding your favorite of these:
- Tack Sponges – You’ll need these to apply whichever products you select to clean your tack with. The tried and true standbys are the little round sponges, which come in a 12 pack so you always have extras. There are also natural sponges which many riders swear by. Combined with a rag to scrub the tough to remove grime, any sponge will work great.
- Leather Cleaner – A good leather cleaner will remove dirt and sweat from the horse tack you use daily, and also clean away mildew and grime from any leather tack that has been sitting in improper storage. If you’re not sure which leather cleaner to buy, one of our favorites is the Belvoir Tack Cleaning Spray. Using leather cleaner is the first step in the horse tack cleaning process.
- Leather Conditioner – Once your tack is dry from the cleaner step, you may wish to apply a leather conditioner. New leather tack needs conditioning frequently to help stiff leather become suppler in its early life, but a good conditioning is beneficial to tack of all ages. You can use a formulated leather conditioner, or go with straight Neatsfoot oil. If you use oil, it is best applied with a brush- our hoof dressing applicator can works as a great holder and applicator for leather oil as well.
- Glycerine Soap– Glycerine works to seal the pores of the leather, providing a like-new glossy finish and protecting it from dirt. Wiping your saddle with glycerine after the cleaning process will allow you to just wipe down the leather quickly with a damp cloth for the next ride or two, instead of doing a full cleaning.
- Bit Wipes – You can always give your bit a good rinse and scrub with water and a sponge, or run it through your dishwasher for a super clean. If you want to treat your horse though, bit wipes provide a great cleaning and leave a tasty flavor for your horse to enjoy on the next ride. These are a favorite of ours to stock the horse trailer with for on-the-go wipe downs.
Create a Horse Tack Cleaning Station
Setting up an area in the barn where you routinely clean your tack can make the process easier and more inviting. The same way you have a specific location for things like pitchforks and brooms, and feeding supplies, dedicate an area to tack cleaning and related products.
- Start by hanging a chrome tack cleaning hook from the ceiling to make cleaning hanging items a snap. This kind of hook holds really securely, and keeps bridles from falling down as you stretch out the reins to wipe them clean, giving you leverage for those tough to scrub out dirt spots. Your tack can also then air dry for a bit on these hooks, rather than piling up in the corner.
- Stash a saddle rack near the cleaning hook for easy saddle cleaning. A portable saddle rack is easy to store and can be used in whatever location you need- at home or on the road.
- Store all your tack cleaning products in a utility bucket near your cleaning station. You’ll want to include sponges, rags, cleaning solutions and leather conditioner as the basics. When it’s time to clean your tack, the bucket can be used to hold the water for cleaning. Bonus if there is a water source in your tack cleaning area.
Caring for your tack regularly may require some extra work, but it’s worth it. By taking care of your horse tack after every ride, you’ll extend its life and save money on replacements. Put together a tack cleaning kit, allocate a space in your barn to get the job done, and clean away!
Protective helmets are not merely a fashionable accessory while mounted, their use on show grounds is mandated by the U.S.E.F. and the F.E.I . When riding a horse, there is always a chance of a fall for any multitude of reasons, and afterwards there is a lot to think about. Are you ok? Is your horse? Why did the fall happen? Could it have been avoided? What exercises can you work on to lower the chances of a fall again? The last thing you want to be thinking about is, “how can I afford a new helmet to replace this one?”
Helmet manufactures understand this concern and are sympathetic. They also accurately believe and try to enforce that you should never ride again in a helmet that sustained a crash. For this reason, they all have wonderful crash replacement policies to allow you to get a replacement helmet a fraction of the cost in the event of a fall where your helmet is impacted. Generally you will need to send your original receipt, an accident report form or letter explaining the incident, as well as the crashed helmet, but make sure you follow the specifics for each manufacture. We’ve helped to outline differences in helmet ages and contact information for some of our manufactures below, so you know where to start if you find yourself on the ground and needing a replacement.
Let Dover Help You
GPA and Charles Owen helmet crash replacements can be done through Dover if you purchased your helmet with us. Just give us a call or come into one of our stores.
- GPA: Helmet must be purchased within the last year.
- Charles Owen: Helmet must be purchased within the last 3 years, with age of helmet determining discount on the replacement.
- Uvex: Helmet must be purchased within the last 3 years, with age of helmet determining discount on the replacement.
Contact Manufactures Directly
Do you have a “barn section” of your closet? Many of us do. The clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty, the ones meant to wear around the barn for ventilation and protection, and certainly not to be mixed with your good daily wear clothes. But what if you didn’t have to separate fashion and function? Goode Rider offers you just that.
Started by two women who were tired of wearing horse-riding clothes that gave no attention to style, Goode Rider focuses on providing clothing that can make the transition from a day spent in the saddle to an evening around town, without sacrificing comfort and functionality. They offer clothing in current fashions with practical features, including four-way stretch material and stain resistance, which we know is necessary at the barn. These exemplary products from the Goode Rider line are a few of our favorites:
- Pro Breeches: Goode Rider’s breeches come in a variety of styles designed for women who value style. At first glance, these Goode Rider breeches may look like they are purely for fashion, but you may be surprised when you feel just how comfortable they are, and see how well they hold up to the demands of riding. The microfiber stretch material quickly recovers from whatever abuse you throw at it, keeping you looking great at all times. The low-rise waist flatters your figure, while the reinforced knee patches and Velcro ankle closures make them useful in the saddle.
- Elite Shirt: This particular shirt has many of us struggling with whether to wear it to the office or the barn. Looks like a post-work outfit change can be avoided! It is suitable for formal or casual wear, indoors and out, and comes in unique patterns and colors. Sleeve tabs mean that you can wear the sleeves rolled or not, for whichever look you prefer. It’s also made of lightweight cotton with knit stretch panels at the sides for unrestricted movement and to keep you cool in warmer weather.
- Regal Dressage Show Coat: As far as the show ring
goes, it’s always important to sport your best equine fashion. For dressage, this means a classic, long-sleeve, black show coat, which unfortunately is not always practical. This coat is both stylish and comfortable to wear, with a soft outer shell that moves and breathes with you to keep you cool, no matter what your competition might be doing. The traditional four-button front styling gives you the classic look that the judges expect. No one will realize you are wearing a piece of high-tech clothing with the benefits that modern fabrics provide.
These are just a few of the well designed clothes the Goode Rider brand has to offer. Browse the entire collection of Goode Rider show shirts, breeches, and tops for men and women and you surely won’t be disappointed. No one combines fashion and function quite like Goode Rider does.
With spring leaving us and summer weather settling in, barnyard insect pests are out in full force. The armies of horse flies, black flies, house flies and all other flies invading your horse’s personal space can seem overwhelming and are irritating for both you and your mount. Help keep the summer invasion under control with these fly control tactics.
- Keep Stable Grounds Clean: Removing items of attraction for flies is the first step to insect control around your barn. Ensure that manure is being removed from stalls and paddocks throughout the day, and that grassy areas around the barn are kept trimmed. For manure that cannot be removed regularly, Fly Predators is a natural way to stop pest flies where they start. Insects are also drawn to standing water as it serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the like, so emptying any unused water tubs overnight can help. Additionally, make sure grain is secured in containers that won’t let water in, and will keep feed fresh while keeping bugs out.
- Fly Free with Air Flow: Stagnant or stale air holds in barn scents and moisture, which attract flies. By keeping air circulating throughout your barn, you help to keep a fresh environment where flies and other insects don’t see the appeal. Installing some fans throughout your stable can help keep the interior environment more comfortable for everyone.
- Shield Your Horse with a Fly Sheet: A fly sheet can be great armor against flies and other biting insects that pester your horse during turnout. Since flies are typically a problem in summer months, it’s important that your fly sheet is lightweight and allows maximum air flow to keep your horse cool while protecting him from flies. Weatherbeeta’s Airflow fly sheet does just this and if your horse is particularly sensitive to flies, the detachable neck cover is a great add on to this fly sheet to reduce bites on the neck as well.
- Add Additional Armor: Fly sheets are not the only means of defense. A fly mask like the Airflow by Weaterbeeta, will shield your horse’s eyes and ears from nagging insects. Protecting these sensitive and vulnerable areas is important and helps to reduce the stress your horse feels from having to shake off pestering bugs. Additionally, fly leg wraps can lessen continuous stomping while turned out or in a stall.
- Spray Them All Away: Of course the most common and widely used fly control is fly spray. The wide array of fly control products available allows you to choose the perfect product for you, your horse, and what you will be doing. Fly spray should be liberally sprayed on the horse before turnout, before being ridden, and after any bathing or rinsing off so that they have a fresh coating.
Utilizing these strategies should give you a one up on the flies, and will certainly help to make your horse happier. Outfitting your horse in a fly sheet and fly mask has the added benefits of protecting him from the harmful UV sun rays. Avoiding sunburns on light areas of the coat will help keep your horse looking their best all season long. Feeling free from flies is the start to a wonderful summer with your four legged partner.
Closeout Alert! Save up to 45% on select Winter Breeches! Shop now! And don’t forget to check out our tips for buying winter riding breeches.
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*Discounts are from MSRP. Pricing valid 11/29/13-12/01/13 until 11:59PM ET. Hurry, quantities are limited. To redeem this offer, please click the above link, visit our retail stores or call toll free (800) 406-8204 and provide promotional code CM13DTHANKS. Order must be placed by 11:59 PM ET., 12/01/13. Restrictions apply. Excludes Premier Products. Limit 1 coupon per household. Not valid on previous purchases.
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With every purchase of a Breast Cancer Belt or Key Fob, Dover will donate to the Susquehanna Health Breast Health Center in Williamsport, PA. While supplies last.
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