With the Show Season in full swing and the days even more jam packed than ever, it is hard to find that time to give your leather tack and equipment the attention it needs. Additionally, being away from home can present all kinds of surprises. Just recently, my friend road her morning warm-up in a torrential downpour. Needless to say, she and her gear were absolutely soaked and in need of some TLC. I don't think you can ever pack enough towels for a show! If you don't have time to fully clean and condition your equipment directly after you ride, I recommend you squeeze in a 30 second tack and boot clean as soon as you can after your last round of the day. Grab a towel with a little cleaner spritzed on it and quickly wipe down your saddle and tack, as well as your boots. This will get off the worst of the sweat and grime before it has a chance to sit all day and set into a stubborn, crusty mess. Then you can leave your gear until you get back to it at the end of the day for a full cleaning.
Also, no one likes sweaty, smelly boots on those hot show days, but what can you do about it? One tip is to loosely stuff tissue paper or newsprint into the foot of your boots to wick moisture and to set them somewhere shady but with ventilation. If you put the boots back in their boot bag, help them dry a little better by not zipping the bag fully closed. Another tip would be to use a boot dryer. There are several small, portable boot dryers on the market now. Some are sized so they just slip into the foot of the boot, which is perhaps more convenient than the regular stand style dryer. Some dryers are also able to even plug into your car's power socket. Getting those boots dry in a quick hour or two definitely helps reduce the odor and moisture related leather deterioration. Just remember that sweat also dries leather out, so a good regular conditioning will still be important.