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.
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: