This winter has been very long and very wet, causing a multutude of issues especially from damp and flooding. If your Tack Room has been a victim of the weather we have got some handy hints to help you get it back in shape for spring.
- Check ALL of your tack, especially the items you have stored away and not been using. In damp weather tack can very quickly turn mouldy or dry out and crack. If you do have any tack that is mouldy or dry and cracked you will first need to clean it, do this with warm water and the soft side of a sponge. Try to use as little water as possible, to prevent the tack getting further damage. Once it is clean leave it to dry in a warm, dry area away from direct heat e.g radiators or heaters. A wardrobe or airing cupboard in the house is perfect for this. Once it is dry give it a really good oil with leather dressing or neatsfoot oil, and again leave overnight for it to soak in. The next day wipe off any excess oil with a cloth and then use saddle soap to buff the leather back up. Make sure you carefully check the stitching as this can be weakened after prolonged exposure to water.
- Check rugs and saddlecloths for damp and mould. Tack them outside into daylight and thoroughly check them over, be sure to check buckles for rust and damage as well. If the rugs are clean, leave them hanging outside to fully dry out before putting them away. If they are dirty or damaged make sure you wash them and repair them before putting them back. You can buy cheap replacement buckles from Amazon or eBay if needed. Make sure you check the girth loops on saddlecloths for any frayed stitching or damage.
- Grooming kits are another place that can harbour water, damp and mould. Make sure you empty the bag or box out fully to check. If you do find any mould or damp in there give it a wash out with some disinfectant such as Milton or Dettol or even Hibiscrub. Make sure you thoroughly rinse it and then leave it to dry completely. It is also a good idea to give the brushes a good wash too. It is best to use something like horse shampoo on the brushes, to make sure they do not irritate your horses skin afterwards. If you are using a disinfectant on the brushes, make sure to give them a really good rinse a few times, again leave them to dry thoroughly before using.
- Have a look through your boots and bandages and check for damage and feel for damp etc. Again if they are dirty, damp or mouldy give them a wash. You can hose them off or put them in a bucket of water first before putting through the washing machine, than afterwards leave them to dry thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean the bag/box you were storing them in too.
- If you have other things such as lunging rollers and head collars hung up, inspect those for any signs of damp or damage too, again give them a clean if necessary, and dry thoroughly. Make sure you pay particular attention to stitching, buckles and clips when inspecting for damage.
- Don’t forget to look at you feed bins, the loose bits of feed in the bottom are a minefield for mould and damp when wet, and they give off spores which will damage and contaminate the other feed – even if its inside a bag. So be sure to pull out all the feed and get right into the bottom and the corners. If you can give it a good wash out and dry thoroughly before putting the feed back into it.
- If your tack room is suffering from damp invest in dehumidifiers. You can pick up the small plastic pots and sachets very cheaply from Amazon or eBay and you can pop them into boxes and bags with rugs, boots, bandages, saddlecloths and tack. If you need to dry out the actual room, look a hiring a dehumidifier for a few days to help with this. Plug in heater will also be a good investment to help, but make sure you have them on low to dry it out gradually, and do not leave any tack near them. Remember to turn off any appliances such as heater or dehumidifiers when you are not there.
- Finally if you have a lorry or trailer you have not been using dont forget to give that a good check over before using again. Pay particular attention to the floor and ramp areas, if you can give the trailer a good wash out with dettol or Milton on the inside. Caravan wash is excellent for using on the outside. Give the window seals a good wash out too, as these are breeding grounds for green damp/mould to grow. Make sure you check all the bolts and clips etc are working – especially the quick release bolts on the outside (if you have them). Check the spare tyre is ready to go, should you need it, and finally take the trailer out for a little drive to make sure the wheels have not seized up, and all the lights are working. Don’t forget to check any baling twine you have in the outside for tying up to. If you haven’t used your trailer or lorry all winter, it is a good idea to get it serviced before you start using it again. if you are in doubt get it to a proper mechanic who can give it the once over and put your mind a rest.
We hope you have not been affected by the floods, and if you have any hints or tips please do share them with us.
Don’t forget to check out our fantastic range of tack cleaning products
The Tidy Tack Rooms Team