Rookie Maintenance: an Overview of Riding Equipment

Owning a horse is a big responsibility. You have to house it, maintain the cleanliness of its stall, ride it as much as you can, and feed it proper food to maintain its diet. Aside from these, owners should also take good care of their riding equipment. Of course, this vital safety equipment also needs special attention.

For rookie horse owners, check out our guide on how to take care of your horseback-riding equipment.


Bridles were built and designed to last almost a lifetime. However, constant use and exposure to the elements can cause your bridle to become brittle and rot over time. One of the best ways to maintain it is to take it apart and clean it thoroughly. Use a damp cloth to wipe the dirt off its components. Let it dry before conditioning it with cream.

Over time, the leather can become hard and dry. Apply oil to recondition the leather. Let it absorb the oil for the best effects. After riding through heavy rain, it’s best to hang your bridle to dry. Water dries out the leather and can cause it to crack. Never use hair driers or other heating devices. It will damage the leather.


Headstalls are often exposed to the elements, and riders need to take extra care of them. The sun’s UV rays can lead to cracks and fading on its leather hide. Dust can also lead to early wear. Before applying leather creams or oils, proper cleaning should be done to all its parts.

Use a sponge to remove dust and mud from the tacks. A cotton swab can also be used to clean hard-to-reach areas. Make it a point to clean the headstall and its components after every ride. A little water and saddle soap on a tack sponge will do the trick. Keep the leather soft and supple with a bit of leather cream or oil. Your horse will thank you for it.


A saddle is essential for both rider and horse. It provides comfort for the rider while the horse benefits from the equal distribution of the rider’s weight. A saddle also absorbs all the shock from the rider while riding a horse. Since saddles are significant investments – next to a horse – proper care is vital to keep them in pristine condition.

Finding a functional storage space should be a priority. Humidity and extreme cold can either dry the saddle’s leather or stretch it out of its original shape. Invest in a saddle stand, microfiber covers, and padding to keep it safe from scratches. Cleaning and maintaining your saddle is similar to your horse’s headstall and bridle. Just make sure to condition it with leather oils or cream while it’s in storage.

Additional Tips

Never use vinegar or baby wipes when cleaning your riding equipment. These might contain acids and chemicals that can damage the leather. Use disinfectant sprays to sanitize your cleaning brushes and other cleaning equipment. This is to prevent mold and other forms of bacteria from infecting your horse. It’s best to purchase separate cleaning brushes for each equipment to prevent cross-contamination.

Cleaning your riding equipment doesn’t only make it look good; it also keeps your horse healthy. Remember that horses and their riders share a special bond, and proper equipment maintenance strengthens it.

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