Mold Muck Up - Get Happily Ever After For Your Tack By Avoiding the 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather

There’s nothing quite like the frustration and aggravation of discovering your tack or boots have gotten moldy. Oh the horror of finding white, green, brown, gray, black gunk coating your beautiful leather. Kinda makes you want to put on a Hazmat suit and chuck it all in the trash. Well, don’t be quite so hasty about tossing out your stuff. In this seventh and final article in our 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather series, learn all of the mold busting how-to you need in order to keep the green fuzzies at bay plus ways to salvage your tack if the fuzz has already come calling.

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Why Mold Mucks It Up

Simply put, mold just trashes your leather. Those spores are literally eating your leather alive, weakening and destroying the leather itself. Cheery thought! Plus, mold is a frightful health hazard. Easily transported and readily made airborne, mold and mildew can potentially cause respiratory distress and other illness in you, your horse, and any other people or animals that are exposed.

Prevent It

There’s a lot in the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the same holds true for protecting your equipment from mold. Mold loves a moist environment and feeds on dead organic material, aka your leather…and dirty or over-conditioned or oiled leather is an even stronger mold attractant.

Much of mold prevention is similar to what you read about in our Humidity Headache article, and this combined with a solid leather care routine gets you some serious defenses in place to prevent mold.

Your Mold Prevention Routine:

  • Condition your leather on an as needed basis only using the lightest amount of conditioner possible.

  • Store your tack in a well ventilated space with plenty of fresh air.

  • Consider putting a fan or dehumidifier in your tack room during high humidity months.

  • Clean your tack and equipment regularly, ideally after every use. This limits the amount of dirt, sweat, oils, and grime on your leather that mold is just dying to find and feast on.

  • Clean your leather thoroughly and with special care before putting it away in storage. You can also find more specialized storage tips in our article Utlimate Top 8 Tips for How to Store Your Leather Tack.

  • Clean and condition your leather using products specifically designed to help prevent and kill mold. For example, Sterling Essentials’ leather care products utilize certain key essential oils clinically shown to naturally prevent mold and mildew.

Fight It

Finding a moldy bridle really makes you think twice next time you consider putting it away without giving it a good ol’ cleaning. Alas, it happens to everyone at one time or another, so no need to feel so bad. The good news is that in many cases your leather can be salvaged. Yay!

We've put together a short video for you with our best tips on how to give mold the one-two punch using natural ingredients and methods. No harsh chemicals or bleach needed!

As you watch, keep in mind the three major tips:

1. Clean, clean, clean = dry it out!

2. Sunshine

3. Essential Oils

Check it out!

The Takeaway

Truth be told, mold is really everywhere, just itching for the chance to find its next meal. Fortunately, it is actually easy to prevent and deter mold from making a home on your leather tack and equipment if you stick to your guns about regularly cleaning your tack and following a simple care and prevention routine. If you’re struggling with mold, we invite you to take a peak at your routine and compare it to our tips. Are there areas in your current regimen that you may want to tweak? Give it a go, tweak more along the way if you need it, and leave the green fuzzies in the rearview mirror once and for all!

Miss the other articles? No problem! Check them out here:

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-water

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-light 

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-bugs-dust-grime

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-ph

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/heat-hurts-get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/the-humidty-headache-get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather

Posted on September 30, 2019 .

In the Spotlight: Niki Clarke, FEI Dressage Rider

Sterling Essentials Niki Clarke Dressage Unlimited IMG_5387.JPG

Meet Niki Clarke!

Member of Team Sterling Essentials and acclaimed FEI dressage rider!

Discipline: Grand Prix Dressage, USDF USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals (with an amazing past in Eventing, too!)

Home Base: Dressage Unlimited - located at Peridot Equestrian, San Marcos, CA

When did you start riding, and was it love at first sight?

It was definitely love at first sight, horses were my first word! I really started riding and taking lessons when I was 8, but I was born on a cattle ranch.

It always looks like you bring a lot of fun to your training sessions. What’s your motto or philosophy for how you work with your horses?

I always think its really important to keep the training fresh and incorporate play, so I use different techniques like the giant ball and cavalettis to help the horses use their bodies in different ways while having fun.

Photo Credit Sheryl Ross

Photo Credit Sheryl Ross

Which horse in the barn do you think has the most quirky personality or goofy habits?

Scoobi (Coral Reef ScoobiDooh) is the quirkiest because he is particular in who handles him and how he is handled. When anyone new approaches him he snorts at them. He has to approve his people before they can be in his inner circle and for him to trust them. He won't even take sugar cubes from anyone that he doesn't trust!

What are the best and worst things about the dressage world?

The best thing about the dressage world is watching great partnerships build between horses and riders and what can be done when a horse and rider believe in each other.

The worst part would be the constant criticism which tends to shift the focus more towards the negatives rather than the positives.

Photo Credit US Equestrian

Photo Credit US Equestrian

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Is there anything you still want to accomplish?

My greatest accomplishment is my son Colton, but in terms of horses the work that I have done with Coral Reef ScoobiDooh. Yes, I still have much more that I want to accomplish including being on the US team. That's one thing I love about this sport is that each horse brings new challenges and new goals and a new opportunity to learn.

Do you have any other hobbies?

My other hobbies are spending time with my family and anything that involves adrenaline rushes.

What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

Eucalyptus and Floral Citrus.

Keep up with all of Niki’s latest happenings by following at: http://dressage-unlimited.com/



Niki Clarke is sponsored by Sterling Essentials.

The Humidity Headache - Get Happily Ever After For Your Tack By Avoiding the 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather

Whether you are sweltering or shivering, humidity has a sneaky year round influence on whether your leather tack and gear is stiff or supple, moldy or spotless. Which way do you tend towards? I personally tend toward a slightly stiffer supple and spotless, of course. :) In this sixth article in our 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather series, catch the tips and know-how you need to manage and protect your leather from humidity in any climate or season.

Sterling Essentials Humidity in Leather Care 20190823_142714 3-2crop.jpg

Why Humidity Hurts

Say the word “humidity” and my mind automatically cues images of frizzy hair, sweaty faces, and running mascara. Well, just like me, your tack is really not a big fan of humidity either.

Modern leather ideally loves to be at its best in relative humidity ranging from 35-70%. Too little or too much humidity and your tack gets grouchy.

Leather is somewhat hygroscopic, which means that it likes to absorb moisture from the surrounding air. That sounds nice, like maybe your leather can just automatically condition itself from the air on a humid day. And it does to a degree! Unfortunately, what this means is that leather can easily suck up too much moisture on a humid day, especially when combined with conditioning. This makes it prone to mold and oversaturated leather fibers. Bummer because oversaturated leather fibers equals weakened and permanently damaged fibers.

On the flip side, leather can definitely dry out in an environment with too little humidity. As your leather loses moisture to the atmosphere, the leather begins to shrink, stiffen, and crack - picture a cellulose sponge shrinking up as it dries. Again, the leather fibers are permanently weakened and damaged to a degree when this occurs.

So…this is where a good leather conditioner comes into play as an important tool in your toolbox, but balance and awareness of your leather and environment are absolutely key to helping your leather stay in the perfectly moisturized sweet spot.

How to do this? Keep reading ‘cuz that’s next!

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What Can You Do?

No matter your climate or time of year, try these easy tips for keeping your saddle supple and healthy:

  • Condition your leather on an as needed basis only. This is the #1 hands down best way in our opinion to ensure a healthy moisture balance in your tack. US riders are notorious for overconditioning their tack, and fortunately, this is less common in other countries. Just don’t do it! Slapping on a layer of conditioner after every ride is not the way to go.

  • Your leather will tell you what it needs, so only use a very light amount of conditioner. This means using just enough conditioner so that it fully absorbs within about 2 minutes. If the conditioner is still partially unabsorbed after 5 minutes, wipe off any excess to avoid oversaturating your leather.

  • Condition more frequently during your cold dry winters and arid summers. Does this mean every day? Every week? Once a month? Again, you will want to experiment a little bit by applying a little conditioner to your tack and seeing what happens.

  • Condition less frequently during your rainy seasons, cold humid winters, and hot humid summers. This may mean conditioning once a month or even once every few months depending on your environment and the needs of your leather.

  • Store your tack in a well ventilated space so that it can breathe and try to balance itself naturally.

  • Consider putting a fan or dehumidifier in your tack room during particularly humid months.

The Takeaway

When you get right down to it, managing the damaging influence of humidity on your leather is really all about balancing natural humidity (the atmosphere) with supplemental humidity (leather conditioner). Your favorite jar of leather conditioner is simply a handy and powerful tool you have at your disposal to control the moisture level and health of your tack. The small challenge is that in order to use that conditioner properly you may need to develop a little bit of a different mindset and habit about tack care. Thank heavens it’s an easy new habit to get into - and it’s really about doing less work rather than more! :)

I know many of us were taught to condition frequently and regularly, so years ago I too was guilty of mindlessly conditioning my tack constantly! However, now you know the role humidity plays in your leather’s health and have the know-how to easily tailor your tack care to meet your tack’s needs on a day to day basis. By taking the easy first step of experimenting with and tweaking your conditioning routine you will be well on your way toward helping keep your leather healthy and in perfect balance.


**Be sure to keep an eye open for our next and final article in our Series coming out next month!

Miss the other articles? No problem! Check them out here:

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-water

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-light 

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-bugs-dust-grime

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-ph

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/heat-hurts-get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather

Posted on August 27, 2019 .

In the Spotlight: Matt Brown, International Eventing Rider

Sterling Essentials Matt Brown Lavender Leather Care.jpg

Meet Matt Brown, member of Team Sterling Essentials, and top level eventing rider and mentor!

  • Discipline: International 4* and 5* Three Day Eventing

  • Home Base: East West Training Stables - Chadds Ford, PA and Aiken, SC

When did you start riding, and was it love at first sight?

Horse was my first word. I always knew horses would be my path.

What’s your motto or philosophy for how you work with your horses?

A horse trainer trains horses, a horseman trains himself. Be a horseman.

Which horse in the barn do you think has the most quirky personality or goofy habits?

I wish I could pick just one. Somehow all of our horses seem to have huge personalities; they are all very much themselves and aren’t afraid to show it. We like to spend time learning about what makes each horse tick and really cater our program to their individual needs. We have Super Socks, who may seem kind of quiet or dull when you pass by him in his stall, but he’s got quite a big personality once you get to know him. He LOVES to be scratched, and will position you exactly to the itchy spots. He goes out in the field with my wife’s dressage horse, Galaxy, who has to wear a muzzle (he’s sensitive about his weight) and so sulks in the shelter a lot. Flaxen will be out grazing his heart away but when the bugs get bad he runs in to the shelter, body slams Galaxy and then itches his whole body on him. Thankfully Galaxy is a tolerant sort so just sort of mutters under his breath but indulges Flaxen. Flaxen also grunts all the time. He grunts in his flying changes, he grunts over every fence he jumps, he jumps when he’s being naughty and bolting 😜.

Matt Brown and Super Socks (aka Flaxen) flying on course on their way to the fastest time of the day and an overall 6th place finish at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky. Photo Cindy Lawler.

Matt Brown and Super Socks (aka Flaxen) flying on course on their way to the fastest time of the day and an overall 6th place finish at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky. Photo Cindy Lawler.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? And what do you see coming next on the horizon?

I think my greatest achievement so far is the relationships I’ve been lucky enough to build through riding and training horses. I’ve had some really incredible students over the years, and consider many of them family at this point. It’s really amazing how the horse world can bring people together. It’s such an intense way to make a living. It really is a lifestyle more than a job, so finding people within the horse world that share your passion in some way is incredible, and I’m just really lucky to have had some wonderful people in my life that I’ve met through the horses.

In terms of what’s next on the horizon, my wife and I have been working on buying a property in PA, so a lot of our energy has been going towards getting that going and finalized. It’s something that I kind of never dreamed we would be able to do, and it’s only through the incredible support of some friends and family that we’ve been able to be creative and work something out, so I’m really excited to have that nearing completion this fall and winter. It’s meant selling some horses that would otherwise like to keep, but I think it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to getting settled in to our new place and refocusing on some of the exciting young horses I’ve got coming up now, and of course, Super Socks is coming back to competing so I’d love to get overseas again with him next year some time.

Riding and training professionally is such an action packed schedule, but do you have a bucket list vacation that you would love to take if you had the chance?

I went on a trek to Nepal out of school, and I promised myself I would go back, so that would be on my list of places I need to visit again before too long.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I am a student of Kenpo Karate and really enjoy training in the martial arts in my down time.

What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

Lavender for sure!

Talented dressage rider and Matt’s wife, Cecily Clark, works together with Matt to keep every horse on their toes and in best form.

Talented dressage rider and Matt’s wife, Cecily Clark, works together with Matt to keep every horse on their toes and in best form.

Flaxen enjoys a daily sniff of leather conditioner, too!

Flaxen enjoys a daily sniff of leather conditioner, too!

Keep up with all of Matt’s latest happenings by following at: http://www.eastwesttrainingstables.net/



Matt Brown is sponsored by Sterling Essentials.

Posted on August 20, 2019 .

In the Spotlight: Noelle Roberts, Grand Prix Show Jumping Rider

Sterling Essentials Noelle Roberts IMG_6951.jpg

Meet Noelle Roberts, member of Team Sterling Essentials, and show jumping mover and shaker!

  • Discipline: Grand Prix Show Jumping Rider + National Champion Arabian Sport Horse Circuit

  • Home Base: Delacreme Equestrian located at Galway Downs - Temecula, CA

When did you start riding, and was it love at first sight?

It was so long ago, but I would say I never looked back. I’ve never been able to imagine my life without it, and I’ve given up a lot for it. I was actually supposed to play Division 1 Soccer in college, but I knew I couldn’t do both, so I quit soccer.

What do you enjoy the most about being a professional rider and trainer?

I LOVE teaching. Whether it’s the horses or the humans, I love when they have that “aha” moment and get it. That’s what drives me to show up every day.

In addition to your participation in the USHJA shows, you also show on the Arabian Circuit. What are the similarities and differences in how you work with your Arabians and your Warmbloods?

I would say the biggest difference is the Arabians are super smart and sensitive, so you have to be really thoughtful with them. You have to think about how you’re teaching them and what you’re trying to get out of them. I personally love that about them because once you teach them something once, they just get it. But it’s also what drives people away from them because they can learn the wrong thing just as quick. Recently Lane Clarke came to clinic, and with most of the horses we focused on one, maybe two significant things in our lessons. But with the Arabians, I was able to pick up 10 new things to focus on because they caught on so quickly.

Sterling Essentials Noelle Roberts 28577210_10101369424968491_2369096774993313792_o.jpg

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Is there anything you still want to accomplish?

Oh man, that’s a hard one. I don’t like to measure in Ribbons or Results. I’m super competitive and I love winning, don’t get me wrong. But my measure for myself has always been on my horsemanship. I measure in how I’m respected by my peers, my students, and my horses. So I guess my greatest achievement is having a successful 20 plus horse training business that travels nationally to compete. That’s more than I ever imagined when I started down this road 10 years ago. I don’t think I’ll ever feel finished though. That’s what drives me every day. My business/horsemanship philosophy is just to do my best to be better every day, and you’ll end up farther than you ever thought. I’m always looking to further my education, whether it’s by taking lessons, talking with my peers, listening to my students and horses, or pushing my business with new marketing techniques.

Which horse in the barn do you think has the most quirky personality or goofy habits?

Oh Val for Sure! D. Valiant JF is the horse I did in the smaller Grand Prix’s, and he’s a funny horse. He’s got tons of personality. His stall is right in front, and he’s always begging for attention. On the ground he’s a goof. He’ll follow you around like a dog, and when you’re hand walking him around he’ll walk behind you and push you with his muzzle the whole time if you let him. He is overly sensitive to bugs, so in the summer if you’re walking around on loose rein he’ll toss his head in annoyance, but as soon as you gather up the reins and go to work, he’s all business. He’s very confident and stoic, but goofy all at the same time.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I wish I had time for hobbies! When I’m not working, I’m with my family. My husband is my best friend and we have a 3 year old daughter who has more personality and energy than either of us know what to do with. She’s amazing and keeps us on our toes. We love Disneyland and have season passes, so we spend our down days there in the afternoons, or we just hang out at home. Family is important to me, so I really try to find balance between competing, training, and spending time with them.

What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

Eucalyptus because it’s light and fresh. I actually use it to clean the leather in my truck, and it works as double duty. Cleans and is an air freshener.

Sterling Essentials Noelle Roberts Eucalyptus Leather Conditioner

Keep up with all of Noelle’s latest happenings by following at: https://www.facebook.com/DelacremeEq/



Noelle Roberts is sponsored by Sterling Essentials.

Heat Hurts - Get Happily Ever After For Your Tack by Avoiding the 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather

When the temperature is on the rise, how do you help you and your horse deal? More walk breaks, chilling in the shade, lots of water, and a refreshing hose down are just the ticket - oh, and maybe a cold tall glass of lemonade for you, too! However, there’s another key element of your equestrian partnership that is also impacted big time by hot weather - your tack. In this fifth article in our 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather series, we will be sharing with you the full low down on how heat harms your leather plus tips for how to prevent damage.

Why Heat Hurts

For all of its perceived toughness, leather sure is finicky. Leather doesn’t like it too hot or too cold, preferring to hang out at room temperature. Basically, around 68F is it’s favorite temperature. Higher temperatures are rough on your leather because they dry the leather (and stitching) right out in a big old hurry. This of course causes brittleness, hardness, and ultimately loss of leather fiber strength. The impacts are cumulative, as well, increasing with repeat exposure.

Right….so who lives in that perfect room temperature world? Even with a climate controlled tack room (drool-worthy!), constantly maintaining your leather equipment in a moderate temperature range is ridiculously unrealistic and impossible. And that’s ok, because we’re all in it together to live our horsey lives to the fullest and accept and embrace the wear and tear that comes with it! The trick is to just try to keep your leather out of as many high temperature situations as possible in order to minimize heat damage and keep your equipment supporting your horsey life for as long as possible.

What Can You Do?

Here are some super simple, easy, and realistic tips for keeping your tack happier in the heat:

  • Store your tack in a cool, well ventilated location whenever possible. For example, this could be a climate controlled or air conditioned room or a tack room with open windows/doors. Even running a fan in your tack room is a great help.

  • If your tack needs to sit out at a horse show or while on the trail, keep it in the shade and cover it loosely with a towel or cover.

  • Don’t store tack in your car for very long if at all possible. Even with the windows down on a hot day, that car will get super toasty in a heartbeat. If you wouldn’t leave your dog in the car, the car won’t be a good place for your tack either.

  • Get as much ventilation as you can in your horse trailer tack room in order to help keep your tack cool while driving. As with cars, once parked, try not to store your tack in your horse trailer for very long either.

  • If your tack trunk at horse shows will be sitting in the sun, try not to store your most precious tack in it. Those tack trunks literally turn into ovens in the sun, making french toast of your leather in the process. If you can, hang up your tack first thing in the morning (on the stall door, in the grooming area….) and then put it away in your trunk when you leave at the end of the day (when hopefully it is cooler and the sun will be down shortly). We highly recommend never keeping your saddle in your tack trunk unless the trunk will be kept in a ventilated and constantly shaded area. Even then, if possible it’s a great idea to prop open the trunk door/lid for ventilation.

The Takeaway

Ok, so none of these ideas are too bad at all! Of course, you might not find them to be practical all of the time, but every little bit helps, and these as simple things that will turn into automatic habits before you know it. Keep cool out there and save us a popsicle!

**Be sure to keep an eye open for our next and sixth article in our Series coming out next month!

Miss the other articles? No problem! Check them out here:

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-water

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-light 

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-bugs-dust-grime

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-ph

Yes, pH Matters - Get Happily Ever After For Your Tack By Avoiding the 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather

Quality leather tack is certainly one of the bigger investments we make as part of our time with horses. So it goes without saying that you’d like your precious saddle, harness, and other leather gear to last for an awfully, awfully…..awfully long time. We’re just like you…always babying your tack, cringing at every scratch and ding, or freaking out every time it gets put away “wrong”. We probably look crazy to non-horsey people, but hey, they’d probably get a little out of sorts too if something that cost them a few dozen Benjamin’s got roughed up.

No matter your discipline, most of the ways you protect your leather focus on addressing environmental or factors external to your leather, as we’ve been discussing the past few months in our 7 Worst Enemies of Leather Series. However, you can also protect your leather by taking into account its actual inherent physical properties.

And this is probably the MOST IMPORTANT, but least known and most ignored factor when it comes to the health of your leather. (It’s ok, you are not alone. We didn’t know this either until we started working on our company and creating our own line of leather care products.) :)

So we’re going to let you in on the big secret that nobody else is talking about by covering this little known fact about leather care in this fourth installment in our series of 7 articles. Just what exactly does the physical make-up of leather have to do with the leather care products you pick, and then how do you make sure you pick the best products that will keep your leather as happy as a cow in clover?

It’s all about two letters: pH

One of the very best ways to protect your leather tack and your investment is to ensure that you care for your leather using products that support the natural pH of the leather. Ok, so what on earth do we mean by natural pH?

The term pH refers to the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a material on a scale of 1 to 14.

On the pH scale...

-          Acids have a pH between 1 and 7

-          Alkaline materials (also called bases), such as soap and most cleaning products, have a pH between 7 and 14

-          Neutral materials, such as water, have a pH of 7

And modern tanned leather has a pH averaging around 5 (give or take), so leather is acidic.

 

Why does pH matter so much?

Ok, so now it gets super interesting. (Have we mentioned before that we really love science? LOL!)

A chemical reaction occurs when materials of differing pH touch each other. This means that when a product with a pH that is not near the pH of leather is applied to your saddle, your saddle leather reacts just like an elementary school science project volcano. Do you remember adding the vinegar to the baking soda in the volcano and then watching it foam and erupt? This same reaction is taking place in your leather at a cellular level.

The reaction caused by using leather care products not matched to the pH of leather results in damage and premature deterioration to your tack, including:

-          Hardening

-          Brittleness

-          Darkening

-          Loss of strength

Although this damage may not be immediately visible, microscopic damage is still occurring every time a non-pH matched product is used, and this irreversible premature deterioration will become apparent over time.

However, isn’t leather just like our own skin?

Shouldn’t the leather be able to withstand alkaline products since we use alkaline products, such as detergents and soaps, on our skin all of the time?

Yes, leather is essentially just like your skin (our skin is similarly acidic) and should be treated with the same tender care. However, the difference is that your skin is able to constantly renew and repair itself. Leather is unable to repair itself, so we are the gatekeepers to preventing deterioration of our leather tack. Deterioration is often chalked up to leather “just normally aging”, but often this isn’t really the case and is actually the result of improper care.

One of the challenges to ensuring proper care is to find leather care products that are matched to the pH of leather. Many common leather cleaners and saddles soaps on the market are alkaline, so they will unfortunately react with and damage leather.

The Takeaway

Ok, so basically, you’ve gotta just say “no” to alkaline products. Anything “soap” is out for sure. More acidic products like vinegar (pH around 2.5) and lemon juice (pH around 2) should also be avoided.

When searching for leather care products, look for products that are formulated to be the same pH as your leather. Look for wording such as “pH balanced” or “pH matched”. Products with a neutral pH are also a good choice, as these will not react with your leather either. Wondering about our products? This is why Sterling Essentials’ Leather Cleaner is pH matched to your leather and our Leather Conditioner has a neutral pH. With consistent care, using pH matched leather care products will go a long way toward helping you keep your leather in mint condition and lasting for years to come. 

**Be sure to keep an eye open for our next and fifth article in our Series coming out next month!

Miss the other articles? No problem! Check them out here:

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-water

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-light 

https://www.sterling-essentials.com/blog/get-happily-ever-after-for-your-tack-by-avoiding-the-7-worst-enemies-of-your-leather-bugs-dust-grime

Introducing the Sterling Essentials EIS COOL Shirt

Big News! Introducing the Sterling Essentials EIS COOL Shirt! It’s been a long time in the making, and we are delighted to bring you these beautiful and top-notch custom shirts.

Look your classy best and turn heads in our official logo sunshirt by Equi In Style. Exclusively available through our website and for a LIMITED TIME ONLY! Pre-order yours now through July 1, 2019. The item will ship mid-July.

Shop now at: https://www.sterling-essentials.com/products/sterling-essentials-eis-cool-shirt

How Much Should You Condition Your Saddle and Leather?

How much conditioner should you use on your saddle and other leather goods?

We love this question - the answer is so important to your leather's health. It's a whole lot like when you are working with your horse - use the lightest touch you need to get the job done.

Watch the video to learn how to condition your saddle to perfection! And for more tips, head to our website Learn page: www.sterling-essentials.com/learn

Posted on June 10, 2019 .

Why is The Sand Arena Ballerina Hooked on Sterling Essentials?

As you may have seen, we’ve recently been able to reach out and deliver our products to our friends in Australia. This has been a super exciting development, and the cherry on top with it all has been that award winning equestrian blogger, Andrea Parker of The Sand Arena Ballerina, checked out our products and gave us a stellar review!

Thank you so much to Aussie gal, Andrea, for her thoughts on our brand!

PC: The Sand Arena Ballerina

PC: The Sand Arena Ballerina

These exquisitely crafted products are infused with essential oils designed to leave your leather looking and feeling a million bucks. They also smell fantastic and will leave both your saddlery and hands free of any greasy residue.
— The Sand Arena Ballerina, May 2019