So... here's the thing. I really, really hate cleaning tack.
Okay, maybe I'm lazy. Maybe I enjoy hands on downtime with my horse more than I enjoy sudsing up a collection of tack that is largely strap goods. I don't know what it is. I just know that it is not something that I generally enjoy and is, therefore, something that I generally don't do.
I think that could change.
Enter Higher Standards Leather Care products:
Cute packaging, huh?
Libby from HS sent me an 8oz tub of Fox's Vanilla Lavender leather soap ($14.95 USD) and an 8oz tub of Handmade Leather Balm ($18.95 USD), which are available through the Higher Standards Leather Care Etsy Shop along with a couple of other mouthwatering scents of soap, including a limited edition Starla's Sugar & Spice scent that sounds like it is right up my alley.
When I opened them up, I realized one of the biggest reasons I am not much of a tack cleaner. Tiny tack sponges. I never have them, when I do get them, I can't seem to keep track of them. Huzzah, the leather soap has a tiny tack sponge with it, and it fits right in the tub, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of it, it just nestles right in the tub, cutelike. And did I mention that it SMELLS AMAZING? Seriously, I think that I have solved my tack cleaning boredom thing JUST by adding a good scent to the soap.
Directions are clear and concise and were in both the packaging that the product was sent to me in as well as on the product itself (bonus, another less thing to lose!).
Okay, now I am going to install a warning. If you are someone who loves tack, and loves clean tack, the picture I am about to show you might change your opinion about me forever. So if you want to keep liking me, maybe you shouldn't keep reading.
My saddle is synthetic so wouldn't benefit from this stuff as much, and I have two back to back group trail rides over the next couple of weekends during which I would like Bronwyn and I not to look like we just crawled on our bellies through the mud, so I thought it would be a good idea to clean my bridle as a tester.
This is my bridle:
It has never been cleaned or conditioned. When I bought it, oh... five years or so ago?, it was a cheapish new bridle and the girl at the shop who sold it to me said something along the lines of 'if you condition it up and take good care of it, there is little difference between it and an expensive one, especially for the type of stuff you do'. I had good intentions, I really did. But I never took it apart and cleaned it. It has had a wipe down a time or two, but never a legit, open all the buckles, take all the parts apart cleaning. Yes, I am probably a bad person.
So I took it apart. Some of the buckles were not so easy to open. Eventually, I got it into pieces, with the help of Morrie.
|PS: Morrie thinks cleaning tack is boring.|
Yeah, it was that dirty.
This is what it looked like after:
The soap smelled wonderful, the balm was AWESOME. Not too thick/greasy but clearly did the job. My bridle felt buttery soft afterwards and pretty much all of the buckles/loops that came apart hard came back together like butter. I will never make this $60 bridle into a $200 bridle, but if I had a $200 bridle, I would not hesitate to use this stuff on it!
Overall, for convenience, value, presentation, quality, and pretty much anything else that you can measure by, I give this product the highest marks. I blasted the tunes while I was working and really enjoyed the product.