Dust can cause leather to dry out and crack so it is important to protect bridles from this when storing them, other things to consider are damp, moisture, sunlight, animals and rodents.
The best place to store any leather is in an area with an even temperature, this will help prevent the leather from becoming too dry or too wet, both of which can cause damage to leather and stitching. Unfortunately not many of us are lucky enough to have a temperature and climate controlled tack room. However there are other ways we can make sure our bridles are protected.
For bridles in regular use bridle bags are great, they are easy to use and give very good protection from damp, dust, sunlight and dirt. They have pockets for all the extra bits you need. You can also put dehumidifier sachets into the bag with the bridles to help keep moisture levels down and prevent mould from growing.
When using bridle bags makes sure the leather is dry before you put it in, so if your bridle has got, wet or sweaty when in use make sure it is cleaned and dry before putting it away.
Bridle bags are also great for transporting your bridle. When choosing a bridle bag look for one that is long enough to allow your bridle to hang with out being crumpled and also make sure there is room for the brow band to sit in it, without being squashed or pushed out of shape.
If you have spare bridles that are not in use take them apart to store. Give them a good clean, soap and oil and then leave them in pieces. Placing them inside a pillow case is an easy way to keep everything together and protected. You can also pop some dehumidifier sachets inside the pillowcase too. If the bridles are staying in your tack room or in an outside building such as a garage or shed, place them inside the pillowcase and then into a plastic box. This will give them extra protection from rodents, damp and damage. If possible try and keep unused bridles somewhere with a regular temperature, in a wardrobe or airing cupboard (ones without the water tank in) at home are ideal places.
Check any unused tack over regularly and swop over the dehumidifier sachets for fresh ones. Tack kept at home inside can be checked once a month, but if it is being stored in a the tack room or garage etc it will need to be checked more frequently especially through winter and wet periods. Make sure you give stored tack a soap over every couple of months to keep the leather hydrated and supple, also pay attention to the buckles and clips to check for signs of any rust forming.
Finally if you are storing a lot of bridles together try and give each bridle its own pillowcase, bridle bag or hook. Keeping the bridles separated will stop all the pieces getting mixed up and will also help stop the spread of mould if one part does get damp and start to get mouldy. Also make sure not to hang bridles in direct sunlight as this can dry out leather and cause cracking along with sun bleaching the colour from the leather.
Cassie Capsey – owner and founder of Tidy Tack Rooms Ltd