Check Your Horse’s Tack Before WinterBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 18, 2011
With the approach of winter, many riders will hang up their tack until warmer weather returns. Now is the time to check every piece of tack and have any necessary repairs taken care of so you’ll be ready to get back in the saddle as soon as spring arrives.
Check all of the stitching and rivets on your saddle. Look for broken stitches and loose connections.
Look at stirrup leathers and hardware. Be sure all holes and fasteners are in good condition. Examine stitching and points of connection to the saddle.
Check the girth or cinch, looking for wear, cracked or dry leather, and rough places that could rub your horse’s skin. Examine rivets, screws, and stitching where the billets or cinch straps are attached to the saddle.
Wash your saddle pad and then take a good look at it. Is it worn, matted, or thinned enough that it may no longer give the horse cushioning protection? If so, consider replacing it.
Take your bridle apart and look at each piece. Examine stitching, holes, cracked or dry leather, and rough places that might rub. Pay attention to places where the leather is folded, bent, or knotted, as these areas may wear out before the rest of the bridle shows any signs of fatigue.
Check your bit, curb chain, and any other metal parts for rust, cracks, and places that are rough or worn.
Look at cruppers, breastplates, martingales, and other pieces of tack. Check stitching, wear, and rough spots.
Take care of repairs and replacements as soon as possible. Give all your tack a thorough cleaning, and lightly oil any pieces that are becoming dry. Store your tack in a dry place that is protected from weather, rodents, and bird droppings. Hang your bridle over a rounded holder rather than a nail, and use a saddle rack instead of setting your saddle on a flat surface. To keep the tack clean, pull a pillowcase up over the bridle and tie it in place, and lay a piece of lightweight cloth over your saddle.