Posts tagged #sun protection

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

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

Get Happily Ever After For Your Tack by Avoiding the 7 Worst Enemies of Your Leather: Sunlight

Who doesn’t love a sunny day? Especially after gloomy winter skies. When that sun pops up, do you envision a nice leisurely trail ride, a hack in the outdoor ring, and days at the showgrounds? It is fabulous that you are so happy about that glowing bright orb in the sky (we are, too), but now the other shoe drops. Your saddle and other leather equipment and boots are sadly just not as big a fan as you are of those warming rays.

Truth be told, your leather has vampire tendencies - a predilection for dark places and a fear of the sun! Welcome to our second installment in our series of 7 articles about the worst things for your leather. No doubt you’ve guessed it. In this second article we are talking about why light is such a bummer for your gear and how to best protect your prized tack. Don’t worry - coffin not required! :)

Why Light Hurts Your Tack

It’s the usual good old story of how sunlight bleaches out the color in items that sit in the sun for too long. The sunlight’s UV rays do a number on leather, fading its color and dulling its patina just like it does to your car’s paint job and your patio furniture. As if wrecking the beautiful rich, deep color of your tack and boots isn’t enough, the UV rays are also able to penetrate deeply enough into your leather to cause fiber damage. This results in weaker, more brittle leather and a shortened lifespan for your favorite saddle.

Although sunlight is often the most common light source we think of in our equestrian pursuits, keep in mind that indirect and artificial light is also damaging. Tack room and barn lights, as well as arena lights, all emit UV rays and contribute to fading and fiber damage over time. And as you’ve learned about through the care of our own skin, you are aware that UV exposure even occurs in the shade and on cloudy days.

Ok, so it’s not exactly like you can slap a coat of sunscreen on your saddle and call it good. Hmmm, though we haven’t tried it, but strangely I don’t think we’ll get all busy with the Banana Boat just yet. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to shelter our tack and equipment from harmful light sources.

How to Avoid Light Damage

The good news is that your leather probably doesn’t normally get that much exposure to sun and other lights. Unless you just leave your saddle sitting naked out in the sun or in a lighted space regularly, your saddle isn’t picking up too many damaging rays. The real key to minimizing light damage is to shield your equipment.

Here are a few easy and inexpensive tips and habits to adopt:

  • Gotta have your tack outside, such as at a show or at your trail campsite? Keep your tack in the shade when not in use. A handy awning, tree, shade of a building…anything will do.

  • Cover your tack when not in use. Loosely cover your saddle with a saddle cover or a towel or blanket. Do the same for your bridle, girth, and other tack - pop it in a bridle bag or use a towel or blanket.

  • Don’t leave your tack chilling out in the sun while at horse shows. This is kinda a pet peeve of ours. Even if you aren’t able to get your tack cleaned and put away right away after your ride, just quickly drape a towel over it to protect it until you can come back to it.

  • Cover your saddle when you put it away in the tack room, your home, or wherever you keep your tack.

  • Store your boots inside and out of direct sunlight. Take it even a step further by keeping your tall boots in a boot bag or in the original box.

Of course, we are big fans of a regular cleaning and conditioning routine for all of your leather, too. (Find all the products you need here!) This will help keep fibers healthy and strong enough to stand up to and slow down damage, fading, and aging caused by normal use and light exposure.

The Takeaway

How fantastic is this that you can do wonders to protect your tack by just tossing any old towel over it? You have to admit that this is a pretty simple, zero effort, basically zero cost habit to get into, and your leather will love you for it! So cover up, Buttercup, and enjoy all the sunshine you want!

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

Miss the first article? No problem! Check it 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