Saddle need a spruce-up? Bridle need brightening? Try our nifty tips for getting your tack sparkling – all 18 of ’em!
* Use Brasso on any brass parts to get an extra shine!
* Use diluted fairy liquid on the white padding on bridles.
* Use ladies tights to polish your long boots!
* Throw your bit in the water you are using to wipe-over your tack – this will help you loosen up the grime that gets stuck around the the joints and makes it easy to wipe clean!
* Water isn’t good for leather. Dampen the soap not the sponge, to get the right sticky consistency to feed your leather tack and give a good shine.
* Clean those stubborn grease marks off your tack (they’re called jockeys) with a small pad of horse hair.
* Clean very dirty tack with a warm, watery, very soapy sponge, and then go over it with the sticky sponge. This is better than just making it wet and it gets rid of grease much easier.
* Poke saddle soap out of holes with a stalk of hay or a match stick.
* Wipe your tack over every time you ride and just after you have ridden. The warmth of the exercise makes any dirt or grease easier to remove.
…And here are some great tips from grooms to the stars!
* Taking bits and stirrup irons home and pop them in the dishwasher to make them extra shiny. It sounds strange, but it really does work!
* Avoid using saddle soap on top of the saddle or on the saddle flaps if you’re wearing white or cream breeches, as it rubs off. If you need to use saddle soap, give it a good polish with a clean cloth to remove any remaining soap.
* Use boot polish on your bridle to get really sparkling shine!
Liz Daniels – Geoff Billington’s ex-groom
* Always use separate cloths for washing off, soaping and polishing your tack.
Darren Pote – groom to Olympic showjumper Thomas Velin
* Bits and metalwork can get really grimy, especially after a show, so remove them from the bridle and soak them in a bucket of hot, soapy water before polishing them up.
* Add spray-soap to blocks or tubs of saddle soap to make it extra soft.
* Make your own saddle soap by melting a normal bar of soap, oil and milk in a pan, and leaving it to set in a tub.
Show jumper Lisa Hales’s head groom, Beckie Smillie
* Take your tack to pieces to clean it at least every two weeks, so you can give the billets a really thorough clean and oil – this is where the leather starts to crack first.
Dressage rider Gemma Green’s groom, Tracey Ross
* When you wash tack, let it dry thoroughly before soaping. When you wash and then hang the leather until dry, the leather absorbs the soap and, ultimately, gives it a longer shelf life.
Carl Hester’s groom, Catherine Owens