Readers Come Clean on Tack Maintenance Schedules

More than 1,050 readers of responded to a poll asking, "How often do you do a full cleaning (polish silver, clean/condition leather, etc.) of your tack?"

results of poll on cleaning tack

Results were as follows: 
  • Once a year 31.75% (335)
  • Once a month 23.41% (247)
  • Before every horse show 21.23% (224)
  • Only when it looks dirty or something breaks 20.38% (215)
  • Other 10.31% (142)
  • I don't clean my tack 3.22% (34)

Readers shared tack cleaning tips in the comments below.

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  • I try to clean my tack quarterly as it really improves to look and feel of the leather.
  • Once a year, or sooner if it needs it.
  • If you're not cleaning or insepcting your tack you're at risk for an accident!
  • Wipe it down after every use, full cleaning once a year
  • once or twice a year
  • Use a disposable tack cleaner wipe cloth in between times.
  • toothpaste cleans silver up nicely! and a toothbrush is essential for cleaning tooling!!Before shows we brush our bits with toothpaste - the bits shine and the horses love the taste!
  • not so much the silver, but olive oil the leather every month and especially after it rains!
  • keep up with it and it is always ready to go
  • what silver on tack.......huh?
  • give a quick wipe after every ride and annual cleanings are much easier
  • once per week
  • cleaning and maintenance ensures less accidents from breakage.
  • 2 a year. Once in the spring and Once in the fall.
  • Every time I use my tack.
  • Soak the leather in a bag of oil. Dishwasher the stirrups and bit.
  • Actually 2-3 times per year
  • not enough...
  • Being in So FL we have shows practically every 2 weeks-super clean tack!
  • I clean and condition after every ride, which is six days a week.
  • Buy a wintec saddle then you just have to rinse it off.
  • I wipe my bridle down after each ride, and condition my saddle every few days.
  • Or more if we have an event to attend
  • but i know it does better when i clean it more often!
  • More often if we are competing in CTR heavily
  • Clean it twice a year and also keep it covered between rides.
  • I have to say, in a southern climate like GA twice a year is o.k. and mine are kept in a tack room.
  • use Synthetic tack, hang it on the fence and hose it.
  • I wipe my tack off with real neats foot oil after every ride and saddle soap good monthly
  • quick clean after every use,oil after 2 cleanings
  • Lexol!
  • Every day
  • I wipe over my tack after every ride & clean it thoroughly 1x a month or as needed.
  • 2x annually
  • The correct answer is not even listed! You should wipe down your tack after everyuse to remove dirt
  • a quick wipe after rides plus a once a month breakdown, inspection & cleaning takes no time at all
  • usually 3-4 times per year & depends on how wet the weather is
  • Murphy oil soap in water is great for cleaning leather harness.
  • Perfect activity for a rainy day when horse is off
  • Golden Gaits tack is cleaned each day.
  • I clean it each use, but in depth b4 a horse show or Clinic.
  • and before a horse show
  • call me lazy.......
  • Thorough cleaning after every use (leather, bits, etc.) Conditioning, oiling & polishing 1x/week
  • Once a month or after heavy use.
  • usually early spring and mid summer
  • Tack cleaned after every use, fully cleaned on Sundays
  • usually once a month, but if it looks dirty, I'll clean it!
  • Only my saddle is leather ,all else is synthetic and rinses off with water
  • We need a better range of choices / 4-6 times per year is a good average
  • Deep cleaning once a year, but i am always cleaning my tack.
  • Before a show/clinic, which equals about 4 times a year
  • A group of friends gets together and makes a party of it every Labor day weekend
  • When showing I cleaned tack all the time - now retired and very remiss in cleaning
  • 4x/year
  • By doing it monthly, it gives me the chance to see if things need fixing. or replacing..
  • not as often as I should, no time after riding
  • sometimes i do it every week just depends on how busy i am
  • fine leather tack will last a lifetime if taken care of properly
  • not enough poss. answ.-I wipe tack after every ride, clean thoroughly when ride was sweaty or dusty
  • I clean everything after ride, wash saddle cloth & girth, wipe saddle & bridle so its always clean
  • not enough!!!!
  • one a month
  • I wipe down my tack after every ride and give it a full cleaning as needed.
  • biothane - cleans up very quickly and is soft and supple
  • There aren't enough hours in the day!
  • But I take it apart and clean in after every use
  • Typically twice a year but I wipe it down after each ride.
  • I own synthetic, it gets hosed off with every use, along with the horse
  • I have a synthetic saddle, just wipe it down with water and go, I keep my leather equipment very cle
  • I do spot cleaning/oiling every month but don't always take everything apart.
  • In the winter.
  • twice a year and regular wipe downs. Extra cleanings if we got grubby on trail!
  • I do a clean wipe down after every use, but do a thorough cleaning once a month
  • Biothane harness. Gotta love it.
  • My saddle has been cleaned every 2-3 months for the last 15 years and still looks brand new
  • After every ride I dip the bit in a bucket of water and wipe all saliva off.
  • Certainly not often enough!! Pretty sad, actually.
  • 4 times a year
  • I clean my bridle after every ride and my saddle once a week. I do a really good job before a horse
  • wintec isnt as easy to clean as they say it is. toothbrush needed and their cleaner doesn't do much
  • Always a quick clean after every ride, full clean once a month
  • clean it after every ride, thorough cleaning and conditioning once a month
  • If you give it a once-over whenever you ride and protect it when it is not in use, it is easy.
  • synthetic saddle, only one leather headstall, pretty much all else is nylon
  • I wipe my tack down everytime I use it.
  • Unless I'm riding,I keep all my tack in my living room -great decor & conversation pieces!
  • As a judge I am quite put off by competitors who do not think enough of themselves to clean their ta
  • I clean it when it needs it, about once a month in the summer.
  • Clean inbetween, but not "show" clean
  • Once every week
  • After each ride!!
  • partial usually after each ride.
  • I really need to do that!
  • Clean 1x/mo. & wipe my tack with a well wrung out microfiber cloth after every use.
  • My leather saddle is lucky to see saddle soap once a year. Synthetic gets a hose regularly.
  • After every cleaning condition your tack. It will keep it supple.
  • I clean my tack daily
  • whenever I actually have time!
  • daily
  • Once a year I take it all apart and give it a good cleaning, surface cleanings regularly.
  • Silver is cleaned before show season. Tack is cleaned at least 1x year or more if needed.
  • I clean my bridle after every time I ride. Quick wipe down with a damp cloth
  • Usually give it a good going over before every ride.
  • I wipe of the sweat after every use, soap & oil several times a year.
  • only about 4x a year ;>
  • once a week
  • whenever i feel like it or have the time to clean it. or when it gets wet
  • I wipe down tack every time it is used The small impregnated wipes are great for this
  • I do mini-cleans often, but full-on it's about twice/year before a show/clinic
  • Cleaned for monthly shows. Vinegar works on moldy tack
  • Cleaning tack after every ride makes the full cleaning less demanding.
  • I ride dressage and clean my tack every time I ride which is 4 or 5 times a week.

I wish I had the time to do it weekly!

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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