Being made from permeable animal skin, leather can never be 100 percent waterproof.
This means that mold is a threat for even new and treated leather, although older leather is more susceptible. Since presentable and functional equipment is just as important for an equestrian as proper riding, keeping mold off your tack is crucial.
For mold removal, it’s best to implement a three tier system comprised of preventative cleaning, proper storage, and spot cleaning problem areas.
The following guide should help any rider.
The first step of keeping mold at bay is cleaning your tack after every ride. Dirt and sweat accumulate on your leather and increase the chances of mold developing.
It’s essential that these particles are fully neutralized with water and some kind of germ-fighting substance like saddle soap.
Pay special attention to the underside of the saddle.
Equally important as cleaning your tack is letting it dry completely before putting it away.
If available, the sun works like a charm. If tack is put away wet, the leather will degrade much quicker.
Saddle pads and blankets should be cleaned and dried as well. It’s not just leather that’s susceptible to mold.
Mold’s favorite conditions are darkness and dampness. These could describe a lot of people’s tack rooms.
A properly climatized tack room is the second line of defense against mold.
If you have the resources, you can get your tack room climate-controlled.
Professionals can install, among other things, air conditioning, insulation and extra ventilation. If this is beyond your pay grade, a simple dehumidifier and open window can provide your tack room with much-needed light and moisture-removal.
If you believe that mold has infiltrated not just your tack, but the room itself, it’s recommended that you call a mold inspector. They will test the building with either a vacuum spore trap or a surface swab. If the mold is plentiful or dangerous, they will take the steps to remove it.
Spot Cleaning Problem Areas
No matter how vigilant you are in cleaning your tack and keeping your tack room climatized, if you’ve been riding for a while, you’re going to find some mold. Older leather is more often besieged by the annoying fungi.
When you find moldy tack in the tack room, take it outside to clean it. This is done to prevent other equipment from being infected by its mold spores.
In this respect, disposable rags should be used to remove the mold. Using a towel that you’ll use again will only spread the spores.
After the rag and water, a pH-neutral solution (see suggestions below) should be added to the tack to prevent new mold from accumulating. Once the cleaning is finished, simply leave the tack in the sun to dry.
Mold can be a constant problem for equestrians. Leather tack absorbs moisture from water and sweat, which can attract mold.
However, taking the above precautions can keep you one step ahead, and keep your tack in the best condition possible.