Taking care of leather tack

By Susan Akins of Akin Leather Repair

In the 17 years I have been doing saddle repair, I’m most frequently asked, “How should I take care of my tack?” The answer is really simple and true for both english and western tack. Using a damp rag, wipe any dirt, dust, and sweat off the saddle, bridle, etc. Let them air dry out of direct sunlight. If this is done after every use, your tack should need only a light conditioning periodically.

Now let’s talk about conditioning. There are many products available and most have merit. Some say they do it all, clean, condition, and protect. In my experience, they may do one task well but not all three. There are differences in the processing of leather for english and western tack. There are good products formulated for each. Do some research and find something you like. A product can only  benefit if you use it!

The biggest problem we have in our area of the country is mold and mildew. Mold and mildew need 3 things to thrive, carbon-leather, moisture-humidity, and darkness-night time/dark storage of tack. There are oils and conditioners available that contain mold and mildew inhibitors. How frequently you need to use one of these products will depend on your environment. Environmental controls such as a dehumidifier or leaving lights on in your tack room can also help limit mold and mildew growth.