Clean your horse’s suede and patent leather tack!
- Often, we use tack that has pieces or parts that are made of non-traditional leathers such as suede, patent leather, or white leather. You may find suede as the seat of a saddle, and you may find patent leather or white leather on the cavesson or browband of a bridle. White leather is typical of piping that is used to accent traditional leathers.
Caring for suede tack
- First and foremost, prevention is the key here to keep suede fluffy. Try and prevent sweating while sitting on a suede saddle. Just kidding. But wouldn’t life be easier? It’s best to pre-treat any suede with waterproofing and stain-preventing spray before the suede is used. You can find these sprays at outdoor stores, and you may want to check at shoe repair shops also.
- You can also just say “bleep it” and let your bum rub the suede smooth over time.
Your rump might smooth out this suede seat over time.
- One is to use a washcloth, a nail brush, a toothbrush to bring up the “nap” of the suede. The nap is the fuzz, you want to make it fuzzier to clean it.
- Next, use a suede eraser (also available at shoe repair shops) to lift dirt and stains. This is actually a giant eraser, so over time, it will shrink as you use it.
Small brushes like this are great for suede.
- You MAY be able to use white vinegar on stains to lift them out of suede, be sure to do a tiny spot test before you attack the stain. You can also use a dry brush and towel to dry off most of the suede should it get wet. Air dry after that!
Cleaning patent leather tack
- This is a bit trickier, as scuffs and scratches are very obvious. You have a few options here. For scuff marks, grab a felt tip pen in the same color as your patent leather and a damp paper towel. Color the paper towel and use that to buff the scuff out.
- For general cleaning, use a tiny amount of mineral oil or petroleum jelly on a super soft cloth to clean. Follow with another cloth to buff to a shine.
Patent leather can be found on bridles and boots, among other things!
And patent leather on a saddle.
What about white leather?
- White leather is commonly used as piping on some bridles and saddles. While this is so snazzy in the show ring, it’s a Groom’s nightmare. Let’s be honest here, we love brown and black tack because it’s the color of dirt. It blends. Add white into the mix, and our day got a bit longer.
- The easiest thing to use for your white leather trim is plain old saddle soap and a toothbrush on a daily basis. Get into the seams! Have a clean cloth handy to wipe the soap suds as you clean. It’s very important to also keep these trimmings well conditioned, as any cracks are dark and will be very obvious. For more tips on white leather, you can read this spiffy gem of an article.
- You may want to also find some sort of implement, like your fingernail or a toothpick, to get into the junction of the white piping and the darker leather. This will clean things up a bit!
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Do you have a technique for dealing with these specialty leathers?