Posts tagged #equestrian lifestyle

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

And Can I Say Fresh?? JoslynJ Equestrian Reviews Sterling Essentials Leather Care Products

To say that Joslyn Jakoubek, the woman behind the curtain of the equestrian fashion and lifestyle blogging brand JoslynJ Equestrian, nailed it on the head is an understatement. In Joslyn’s recent review of our leather care products, she states, “It’s the best feeling ever to look at your saddle, bridle and boots when they are polished and clean, but getting them to that point, well that’s the beast of the matter.” Oh, how true! Even for us, these weird people who love tack cleaners, we experience the love/hate of taking care of our tack and equipment.

PC JoslynJ Equestrian

PC JoslynJ Equestrian

So if there is anything that helps soothe that “beast” and makes for more love than hate…it goes to say that most of us are going to come running and hop on board. Which is one reason why we developed our brand of leather care products. This then begs the question…do they work?

Well, enter JoslynJ Equestrian. After seeing Joslyn’s social media, blog articles, and photography, it is crystal clear that Joslyn is one very discerning equestrian. As a result, we were thrilled to receive her full review of our products. We won’t give away the whole story, as you’ve just got to read her blog and see her photos. However, let’s just say it has a happy ending!

Take a peak at: https://joslynjequestrian.net/2019/04/09/sterling-essentials-boot-care-and-tack-cleaning/

I was excited to try out the conditioner, and oh my gosh can I also mention how incredible these products smell???? I was sent the Lavender scented cleaner and conditioner, but they also have a Eucalyptus and a Floral Citrus version as well. I literally want to use the conditioner as a lotion, it smells and feels that good!
— JoslynJ Equestrian