Clean Tack: Readers Keep Their Tack in Good Shape

More than 860 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "How often do you wipe down your tack after riding?”"

results of poll on cleaning horse tack

Results were as follows:

  • Occasionally: 50.35% (434)
  • Always: 28.42% (245)
  • Never: 11.48% (99)
  • Weekly: 9.74% (84)

Readers shared what they did with their tack in the comments below.

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  • Never for riding, but always after driving
  • After wiping down my horse, I wipe down my tack. Especially hate dirty bits and girths.
  • Take it apart and clean it each time
  • deep clean 2 x's a season unless in rain or mud
  • Bridle & girth, always; saddle 2-3 times /week; riding 5 days/week
  • I was trained in England to do more!
  • I wipe the bit every time
  • I have harness horses and bio harness very easy
  • Depends on the weather - when it's muddy I wipe it down after every ride
  • I figure I wipe it off pretty good with my rear!
  • I have very expensive tack;I keep it for many years,just how I was trained as a youngster
  • Guilty of letting my tack go for way too long!!
  • It depends on how often & where i ride. Always with non-glicerin, non-silicon products
  • I rinse or scrub the junk off the bit and wipe down all the leather.
  • It is pretty close to never. Cordura-leather headstalls regularly
  • Maybe 3 times a week if not in winter
  • or if it gets rained or mud on it
  • I use synthetic tack
  • Live in AZ (dry, hot) - vacuum off dust mo., clean & oil leather
  • I wipe it down alot right after I clean it, then less & less until it's filthy and I clean it again.
  • have expensive leather saddle (replacement cost >5k). Bridle not so often.
  • Clean tack before horse shows only
  • Cleaning tack allows you to evaluate its condition
  • Do the bridle more often
  • Always for my bit. It gets washed. Not so often the leather bits.
  • every time, of course!
  • once a monthh
  • I use biothane and have a wintec saddle. much easier to keep clean
  • clean once a year
  • Depends upon weather-muddy stirrups!
  • I'm a tack fanatic & my good tack lasts forever!
  • I should do it more often, but unfortunately I don't!
  • my tack still looks new! I use sheepskin wraps on the leathers as well!
  • clean tack is safe tack--I don't like tack failure surprises when it is easily preventable
  • More so in hot weather to wipe off all that sweat.
  • Admittedly not often enough.
  • As needed plus spring and fall
  • When it starts to look grubby.
  • I'm more inclined to wipe it down before I ride: safety inspection
  • Saddles are expensive; I need to be better about caring for them...
  • Only when its obvious its been sweated on, wet or dirty
  • summer - every time; winter - every-other-time
  • I drive and a clean harness is imperitive
  • I always clean the bit but only clean the saddle as needed.
  • Probably should do it more than I do.
  • Bridle each time, martingale each time, saddle as necessary
  • once or twice a year, not often enough
  • I always clean it before a competition or training day.
  • Always clean bit but slack with saddle
  • The only tack I use is a nylon bitless bridle, cleaning is easy.
  • 40 years of tack repair, clean with Kirke's Castile soap, avoid oil more than once a year
  • I realized that it only takes a few minutes and saves me from a long day of heavy cleaning later on
  • every ride!
  • each and every time I ride
  • Even if I only have a chance to damp wipe it, then clean/condition next time
  • More often in summer, less in winter, when there is less sweat.
  • I really know better, but show season is so crazy, I don't have time.
  • There should have been a fifth category: almost always, which I would have checked.
  • I clean my bridles & bits after each use. Saddles weekly .
  • I am trying to get better about this. I rarely clean my tack after I ride, except on a show week.
  • Weekly if I can or a very in-depth clean every 2.
  • or hardly ever...
  • depends on how muddy it is
  • depends on time of year and how often I am riding, summer, almost every time, winter maybe once a mo
  • I LOVE MY WINTEC SADDLE & BRIDLE. TOO EASY TO CLEAN!
  • I wipe my tack down every time I get out of the saddle
  • Every month or so, when it looks dirty, and always before showing
  • my tack is cordura. i wipe the bit after use, and the headstall goes in the machine when needed.
  • when it gets spattered with mud, wet, or dusty
  • not as often as I should
  • I rarely ride.
  • i always rinse the bit
  • Sweat/rain gets wiped off but if it's dry I'm lazy and don't do it.
  • If wipe donw means run over with cloth, then every time. If it means clean, then occasionally.
  • Only before an event
  • Rarely, and shame on me.
  • I prefer to use tack which is nice and clean
  • Every ride, that's how I was taught why change now?
  • I do it once in a while.
  • Bio-thane Rocks
  • Clean my tack almost everytime I ride. I love putting clean tack on my horse!
  • Not often enough . . .
  • my bridle is biothane and my saddle is equisuede
  • I completely clean all tack at the begining of the year and before parades
  • Should do it more often but I ride every day.
  • not as offten as i should.
  • I always use a clean saddle pad.
  • The fifteen minutes it takes to clean my tack after riding is built into my schedule.
  • After so many years it is habitual.
  • not as often as I should - depends on the dirt and weather
  • I rinse my bit after every ride and wipe sweat from my bridle, breast collar & girth.
  • more often in the summer.
  • vary by ride condition preoil if rain threatens and wipe dry. dame w sweat, dust. store on rack
  • A quick wipe every day with a damp cloth and every couple of weeks a good cleaning with a leather ca
  • Only when needed
  • 1x yr
  • After every ride I wipe all the tack down and clean the bit. Since I do long trail rides I can check
  • Clean tack about twice a year
  • its hard to find the time- I am normally squeezing in ride time as it is
  • I'm too busy cleaning the horse to worry about the tack (he's a grey, nearly white). Tack is later.
  • I only clean or wipe it when it is dirty.
  • Here in the Northwest mold is our enemy and keeping tack clean helps prevent it.
  • One must be diligent!
  • Wiping down tack with a damp microfiber cloth keeps the grit and grime from becoming imbedded.
  • only when it's been raining on us
  • wipe it? all the time. thorough cleaning? once every couple weeks. :)
  • There are actually riders who don't? Gross.....
  • lobor of love is now just labor
  • I should probably be more diligent - maybe it will be my New Year's resolution!
  • When needed.
  • gets cleaned 2-3 times a year
  • Never wipe down - Clean 2 times a year
  • I wipe it down once or twice a month.
  • When dust and/or dirt are visible
  • If its very sweaty or muddy I wipe down, otherwise not.
  • It's just easier to keep up with it
  • almost every time if i can. ive had the same saddle for 30 years and it still looks great.
  • I know I should, but:
  • I used to do it every time I rode, but now I use synthetic tack and wash it only a few times a year!
  • I ride bareback
  • I clean tack after every use...that means almost every day!
  • I'd like to say always, but.....
  • Before show or lesson.
  • I give it a wipe before untacking after a ride. It gets a good "do" about four times a year.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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