Best way to store tack long-term?
I'm selling the horse I ride and all I will have left is the pony and the mini. I don't plan on selling my western, english or aussie saddle, we reasoned that if a few years down the rode I wanted to go somewhere to ride or want to ride again it will cost more to replace them then we would get for selling them. What would be the best way to store them long term?
Your first step is to clean all of your tack as thoroughly as you possibly can. Then just find somewhere cool and dry to keep it. Nowhere damp will work as your leather will mildew. If you're storing bridles I recommend that you take them apart before you store them as then they will be easier to deal with when you need to use them again. Good luck in storing your tack!
Store your saddles as though on the horse. With bridles I like to hang on a bridle hook with the reins looped so they hang evenly close to the headstall. Take your throat strap and wrap it around the whole works. This keeps it tidy. Bits should be removed as there is always some type of action going on between the metal and the leather. With an english bridle with a cavesson, again loop the reins, do the cavesson up by encircling everything, then the throat strap.
I put my saddle in storage, expecting it to be unused for about six months. I cleaned it, oiled it, strung up the leathers and stirrups, and covered it with a saddle cover and left it on a saddle rack in my barn so my instructor could keep an eye on it. I'll see how it works out in October I guess.
In after thought, because I was rushing when I did it, I wish I removed my stirrups and leathers. Also, make sure your saddle cover fits the saddle, or it may curl up your flaps.
Use a synthetic oil or oil compound to oil your saddle. Natural oil has fat in it that can cause mold if left unchecked. Waxing (beeswax or some leather wax conditioner) it after cleaning and oiling might help for long term to keep the leather from drying out. You might consider using diluted lemon juice on any moldy spots. I wiped my billets down good with lemon juice before oiling them because they came to me moldy when I bought the saddle.
Still, I would keep an eye on the saddles and check on them every few weeks to make sure the leather does not dry out or mold over. Mold can be as subtle as a filmy layer on the leather, to outright white or green fuzz and will break down the leather. Once that happens, you can't fix it.
And yes, try to store it in a dry place. Humidity is not nice to leather.
I store my show tack in my indoor tackroom in a saddle case and bride bag. Keeps them looking brand new.
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