Day 10 activities for slt champ camp

Tack is an investment, so from a financial standpoint, it makes sense to maintain it properly. Even more importantly is the safety factor - by cleaning, conditioning, and inspecting your tack regularly, you reduce the chance of a tack failure causing a riding accident.

Start your camp day with a good look at how Olympian Beezie Madden's stable cleans and maintains their tack.

All About Cleaning Tack

Leather is skin, and it should be treated as such. Just like you clean and hydrate your skin so that sweat and dirt doesn't irritate it, you should do the same for your tack. The key to longevity for your saddlery is to clean it daily.

Almost every saddle and tack manufacturer has recommendations or product preferences, so it's best to check with them to make sure you don't void any warranties. However, these are good general guidelines for maintaining your tack.

The basic idea of tack cleaning is to remove sweat and dirt, and condition when necessary. Traditionally this was done by wiping the tack with a damp rag, then sealing with glycerin saddle soap to seal moisture in. Nowadays, there's many more options - a variety of one-step cleaning and conditioning creams exist, or you can use a two-step system of cleaning solution followed by a conditioner.

Regardless of what product you choose, be sure to clean the parts of your tack where sweat or saliva may collect, such as near buckles, billets, and stirrup leathers. While you clean, it's good to inspect for broken or missing stitching and cracked leather. Then follow up with conditioner when necessary, which will vary with climate and use - if the leather feels stiff or dry, it can use conditioning.

For tack that has been neglected, or is very dirty, you can use warm water and a soft brush to remove the accumulated dirt. Once that is accomplished, you can use a leather cleaner to remove the remaining grime. Follow it up with a layer of conditioner, or if the leather is very stiff and dry, a thicker balm or oil may be a better choice.

While cleaning your tack, be sure to pay attention to your horse's bit. It's much easier to clean it on a regular basis than to have to scrub off built up saliva and food particles. Many riders carefully dunk the bit in their horse's water bucket after every ride, but you can also use a damp rag.

Tack does best when used regularly and cleaned often, but if you have to store your tack, it's best to do so in a temperature controlled environment, away from extreme cold, heat, or humidity, and away from rodents.

There are many types of tack cleaning products that can help maintain the condition and prolong the lifespan of your tack, including tack cleaners, glycerin soap, leather conditioners, leather oils, leather balsams, aluminum/brass polish, and one-step leather products.

Activity: Horse Movie Quiz

Challenge yourself to learn more about our favorite horse movies, and then pick one to watch tonight!


Bonus Activity! Friday Movie Night

Pop some popcorn and settle in together to watch a family favorite horse movie (because we know you did't watch them all last week). Great ideas for the whole family include Dreamer, Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron, Flicka, Black Beauty, Secretariat, Black Stallion, National Velvet, Running Free, and Horse Sense.

If you have older campers, you might enjoy War Horse, Seabiscuit, Hidalgo, and The Horse Whisperer.


Put your tack cleaning knowledge to the test and ask your parent for something to clean. Maybe it's tack or maybe it's something dirty around the house, you can use your know—how to transform something dirty into something clean and sparkling!

Learn more about cleaning moldy tack from Practical Horseman: Learn Now

Caring for a saddle from Circle Y: Read Now

Tack cleaning tips from Horse Health: Learn Now

Step-by-step cleaning instructions from Horse Illustrated: Discover Now

Great tips from Wahl on keeping your grooming tools clean too: Learn Now

Don't forget to take care of your horse's bits from Practical Horseman: Learn Now

Make your saddle last with cleaning tips from Dressage Today: Read Now

Go beyond the basics with The Chronicle of the Horse: Uncover Now

Great books for all summer long! Check out our reading list ideas here

Don't forget our Kids Corner with additional activities: Check out additional fun activities here

  • Published:
  • Updated: 7/24/2020: 9:46:44 AM ET
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