You keep your horse spotlessly clean, so it only makes sense to do the same with his tack.
Cleaning tack isn't fun. It's time consuming and makes your fingernails even dirtier than they are after a grooming session with your horse. However, fun or not, it is an important part of the equestrian life.
After all, your horse wears this stuff every time you climb aboard, so it serves a pretty important purpose. Here are three good reasons to keep your tack as spotless as your horse.
It makes it last longer.
Let's face it, tack is expensive. If you're going to spend that much money on a few pieces of leather, you should try to get as much mileage out of it as you can, and you do that by keeping it clean.
Saddles, bridles, harnesses, and halters all last longer if they are cleaned regularly. Even if you don't have time to clean your tack fully after every single ride, wiping off the sweat and setting aside one day a week or even every other week to do a full cleaning will go a long way to increase your tack's longevity.
It's for your own safety.
Do you really look at your tack before you throw it on and off your horse? Probably not. But when you are cleaning it, it is much easier to spot issues -- a cracked rein, a girth that needs repair.
Cleaning tack is about more than cleaning in the same way grooming a horse is about more than grooming. It allows you to time to assess its overall condition and address any issues you may find.
And it's much better to find that cracked rein while you're sitting on an overturned bucket in the tack room than to have it split in two as you're sitting on your horse in the arena.
It improves your overall appearance.
In the equestrian world it sometimes seems like everything is based off of your ability, from the horses you get to ride, to the classes and divisions you show in. Knowing your limits is important in a sport where you're dealing with thousand-pound animals that have the potential to hospitalize you or worse, but sometimes it's nice to know that, in a few areas at least, talent isn't everything.
You can be the least talented rider at your barn but if you care enough to put in the hard work, you can still have spotless tack and present a beautiful overall appearance. And in the horse world, hard work is always respected.
Next time you're grooming your horse, consider spending a few minutes on your tack as well. Doing so can earn you respect, save you money, and maybe even save your life.