You’re out for a ride with friends, when all of a sudden the skies open up and rain down on you. By the time you get back to the barn, you, your horse, and your tack is drenched. Worried about whether your saddle and bridle are ruined? They’re probably not. Here are 5 tips to save your tack after riding in the rain.
1. Act Quickly
The number one rule in saving your tack after it’s been drenched by rain is to take care of the problem immediately. Yes, you can towel off your horse and change your clothes first, but don’t leave your tack sitting in the tack room overnight. The more proactive you can be in your approach, the better the end results will be.
2. Sop Up as Much Water as Possible
Find a soft towel and sop up as much water from your rain-soaked tack as possible. Wipe down your bridle and hang it up, then try to absorb any excess water from your saddle. Make sure that you take your saddle off of your wet saddle pad – allow the pad to air dry, and place the saddle on a rack where air can circulate beneath it.
3. Clean and Condition Your Tack
Using a quality leather cleaner, clean your tack. Be sure not to add any excess water in the process. Then – and this is important – follow up with a quality leather conditioner. Don’t be excessive with the conditioner, and only use as much as your tack will absorb.
For more tack maintenance tips, check out our article 4 Ways To Get Rid Of Tack Mildew.
4. Allow Tack to Dry – Safely
Once you’ve cleaned and conditioned your tack, it’s important to let it dry safely. Never put rain-soaked tack out in direct sunlight or in a heated room to dry – this can speed the drying process too much, leaving the leather warped, brittle, and cracked. Instead, leave your tack in a room, ideally with a dehumidifier, and allow it to dry slowly. For a saddle which has been soaked, this process may take a day or more. Don’t put anything on top of your tack, and leave your saddle uncovered while it dries.
5. Condition Your Tack Again
Once your tack has dried, follow up with another round of conditioner. Once again, use as much conditioner as your tack will absorb. Conditioning your tack appropriately reduces the chance that the leather will be damaged or become too dry. Keep an eye out for mildew over the next few days, as it may grow on your tack until the tack has thoroughly dried.
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Do you have any tips for saving tips after riding in the rain that we missed? Post them in the comments below!