Spring Horse Saddle And Tack Seasonal Checklist
It is very important to have your horse, saddle, and tack ready for riding. Let’s face it, the saddle and tack is all you have to protect horse and rider when out on the trail or in the show arena. Inspecting saddle straps, saddle screws, conchos, fleece and tree are at the top of the list.
We are not going to focus on getting your horse ready after winter, there are plenty of articles out there on this.
Inspection of saddle and tack
Main safety points to inspect
1. Check all cinch straps for crack and tears, this very important this is what connects your saddle to horse. If there is any damage to straps replace them. replacement straps are not expensive and very easy to install.
2. Check all rigging hardware on saddle, saddle dees and rings. Make sure hardware is securely attached to saddle, if not, repair before tacking up the horse. Depending on what needs to be done you may have to have it fixed by your local saddle repair shop. We do sell the hardware for this and would gladly walk you through installation, please contact us for help.
4. Check all saddle screws and conchos, make sure they are tight. This is what hold your saddle together. Replace as needed. Replacement of saddle screws and conchos can not only add safety but can make your saddle look great. In most cases saddle screws and chochos are easy to install.
5. Check fleece, make sure the fleece is complete with nothing sticking out, See cleaning instructions below.
6. Check Tree, How to: check tree. Place one hand on horn or pommel and the other on cantel (back of seat) pull and push to see if there is any play, if no play your good to go. If there is excessive movement then you really need to have a pro look at it.
We just touched on the basics, please comment below or contact us for questions.
Saddle & Fleece Cleaning
When it’s time to give your saddle a really thorough cleaning, remove the stirrups and cinches to clean separately. Turn the saddle upside-down on a blanket or feed bag, then vacuum the sheepskin.
Next, set it on a saddle stand in the aisle of the barn or in the shade outdoors. Remove all of the dust with a vacuum cleaner, brush, or rag. Use a small, unused paint brush to remove any dirt that got under the skirts, down in around the bottom of the horn and gullet, and around the conchos.
Then go over all of the leather with a sponge wrung out in clean water. Change the water often to keep from rubbing dirt-via dirty water-right back into your saddle. Use a vacuum cleaner, stiff brush, or a suede sponge to remove any dirt from a rough-out seat.
After dirt removal
After you remove the dirt, then it’s time to use saddle soap. A tin of saddle soap usually is in everyone’s tack box. Saddle soap is formulated to clean your saddle without causing any harm-as long as you don’t get too heavy handed with it. So, like soap or shampoo, it should be used judiciously and rinsed completely off. For that reason, I’m not a fan of combination saddle soap/conditioners.
Check the ingredients list to be sure there’s no alcohol, mineral spirits, or similar chemicals that could be harsh on leather. If your saddle is light-colored leather, test your cleaning product on an inconspicuous spot first to see if it will darken the leather. Rinse all of the soap off with a sponge dipped in clean water, then let the saddle air-dry outside in the shade. Since heat harms leather, never use a hair dryer, heat lamp, or direct sun to hurry the drying time.
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