In order to maximize the useful life of your horse tack and equipment, you must properly maintain it.
Condition your leather
It pains me to see so many “thirsty” saddles being used at horse shows, so much so that I’ve been known to give my friends’ saddles a little conditioning before show time. Although I’ve used many great products over the years, my personal favorite is a one-step cleaner and conditioner. If everything I need is in one bottle, I’m less likely to misplace it and let’s face it, one step is easier!
No matter the product you use, it is important to condition your saddle at home first to be sure you like how your newly conditioned saddle feels when you ride in it. Some conditioners can leave the saddle sticky and may even cause residue to come off while riding (so be careful if you have a light-colored riding outfit). Personally, in my hunt seat equitation class, I’m comfortable with a little extra saddle grip, but you may find the new feel uncomfortable so be sure to test out your new conditioning products at home first.
Periodically, say maybe twice a year, it is beneficial to give your equipment a deep cleaning. Wash all horse blankets, saddle pads, polo wraps and grooming supplies, regardless of if they’ve been recently used. Once your “deep cleaning” is complete, be sure your storage methods help keep things clean. I store all of my clean, dry blankets and sheets in large plastic containers when they’re not being used. Be sure your containers are marked with their contents, which will make finding what you need much easier. If you find you’re consistently not using certain equipment, think about selling or donating those items after cleaning.