What to do with Wet Tack

How to take care of your leather tack to avoid water damage after exposure to rain.


Riding a horse in the rain

Have you been caught riding in the rain? Before you panic, there are ways to save your leather bridle and saddle even if they’re dotted with rain drops or soaked from a downpour.

  1. First, take a soft, dry cloth and wipe away any excess water. This will also allow your rub rag to remove any grime and sweat you’ve neglected to address before.
  2. Next, let your tack dry. Do not run a hair dryer over your damp leather or put it in a low-temperature oven. Both dry the leather too quickly and rob it further of its natural oils.
  3. When it’s close to being thoroughly dry—in other words, you can’t wring rainwater out of your reins—then apply a leather conditioner specifically designed to re-instill nutritious oils and to prevent mold and mildew. You want to make sure you are eliminating the chance that your once lovely tack will soon be sporting a fuzzy film of leather rot.
  4. Finally, hang your tack in a dry place with a mild temperature. That could be your tackroom or the inside of your house. By taking care of your tack during inclement weather, you’ll be sure to have safe equipment come spring time.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


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