You’ve invested time and money into curating the perfect tack collection. Or, maybe you haven’t made the investment yet for your “forever” pieces, but need your tack to last until you are ready to make that happen. In either scenario, one thing remains essential – proper care for your tack. Not only will it extend your tack’s longevity and appearance, but it will also help you ensure your safety. The winter months pose specific challenges for leather care. The dampness and harsh temperatures can put leather through the ringer, so here are some tips to help you keep your tack in prime condition.

Prep Before the Weather Change

Just as you work on winterizing your barn, checking windows, repairing anything in need, organizing the winter blankets, and breaking out the heaters, a good tack-cleaning session should be added to your pre-winter checklist. In damp, cold climates, mold and mildew will be your biggest enemy. On the other hand, area heaters can cause the leather to dry out and become stiff. Luckily either issue can be avoided altogether with proper leather care.


Spend extra time to give your tack a “deep clean” before heading into the winter.

Absorbine Leather Therapy Wash for Tack Cleaning available at FarmVet

This Absorbine Leather Therapy Wash and Conditioner duo is one of our favorites. The wash will remove any buildup of sweat and dirt without leaving any residue behind. The conditioner will then restore the life, color, and supple feel of your leather. Additionally, regular use of this conditioner will help prevent mold and mildew – just what we need as we head into winter.

Carr & Day & Martin Tack Cleaning Sponge available at FarmVet

Pair with this Carr & Day & Martin Tack Cleaning Sponge for a long-lasting, durable sponge option.


During this cleaning session, carefully inspect your tack for signs of wear and tear, taking apart each buckle and strap for cleaning and then reassembling. You will want to be aware of any cracks or damage before the cold increases the risk of these getting worse.

Winter-Long Maintenance

Winter demands consistent care for your tack, ensuring its longevity despite the cold. Even though you took the necessary steps to prepare for the colder months, there are now a few things to do to maintain that soft, supple leather.


Number one on that list is to wipe down your tack after a ride. This is especially important if your tack gets drenched – perhaps due to an unexpected downpour or snowy ride. Immediately use a dry sponge or a clean towel to wipe it down, followed by a nourishing conditioning treatment.

Lexol Leather Conditioner Wipes for Tack available at FarmVet

These Lexol Leather Cleaner Wipes and Leather Conditioner Wipes provide a simple solution for quick and easy yet effective maintenance.

Then, let the tack air dry on its own. Avoid placing directly near a heater, as the dry heat can harm wet tack.


While you’re taking the necessary steps to maintain the leather itself, also take note of your tack room conditions. If you notice your tack is not able to dry properly, the room may be too humid. Consider a dehumidifier for a safe storage environment. Alternatively, especially in heated tack rooms, if you notice your tack becoming too dry or stiff, consider a humidifier to rectify the climate conditions. The ideal storage conditions for leather are between 50-70 degrees F and a 30-60% humidity level. Although this may not be perfectly achievable in all barns, it is a good reference point to track what improvements may be necessary. If your tack room conditions are drastically different than those listed, consider storing any seldom used tack or things that can be put away for a few months at your house instead.

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Keeping your tack clean all winter long isn’t the only challenge. Here are five hacks for keeping your horse clean this winter, too!