Care and Cleaning Of A Horse Bridle
Correct cleaning and care of your horses bridle is essential not only for your horses hygiene but also for rider safety.
Cleaning A Bridle
There are two methods used for cleaning a bridle, the complete method and the part clean method. A bridle should be fully dismantled and thoroughly cleaned once a week and part cleaned after each use during that week.
Reasons For Tack Cleaning
- Hygiene - Removal of grease, bacteria and dirt will help to prevent sores and discomfort from being formed around the horses head.
- Safety - Regularly checking all the stitching, billets, keepers and the bit will help to keep your bridle comfortable to wear and in good safe working order.
- Stable Management - A clean and well maintained bridle is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also part of keeping high standards of stable management.
- Tack cleaning hook
- Sink or bowl
- Warm water
- Saddle soap
- Leather balm
- Leather oil
- Bridle hook
The Part Clean Method
- Hang the bridle up by the headpiece onto the cleaning hook.
- Take all the buckle straps out of the keepers on the bridle but leave the buckles done up.
- Place your sponge in the warm water, squeeze out any excess water and start to wipe over the bridle.
- Remove all dirt and grease from the bridle.
- Undo each buckle individually to clean.
- Check the stitching and billets are safe and intact on the bridle as you clean it.
- Thoroughly clean the bit and check for any sharp edges and general wear and then dry off with a clean towel.
- If the leather work is very dry apply a leather balm or dressing and then start to apply the saddle soap.
- Apply a small amount of water to a dry sponge and squeeze out as much excess water as possible, you want the sponge damp not dripping.
- Apply saddle soap to the sponge and then start to rub over all the leather work on the bridle.
- When you get to a buckle undo the strap thoroughly saddle soap and then do the buckle back up.
- Use plenty of saddle soap during this process. If you end up with lots of white froth you have applied too much water to your sponge.
- When you have applied soap to the whole bridle, put all the straps back through the keepers to secure them.
- To finish the bridle off you need to secure the reins through the throatlash, to do this hold the buckle of the reins in one hand and then with the bridle facing you bring the throatlash around the front of the bridle then loop the reins through the throatlsh, then bring the throat lash back around the front of the bridle and do up to the short strap of the headpiece. The end result will have the throatlash crossed neatly at the front of the bridle. Then do up the noseband through the keepers to complete the bridle and ensure that both the nose band and browband are horizontal.
Complete Tack Cleaning Method
The complete method of cleaning a bridle is a very thorough clean of each part of the bridle and it allows you to really closely check all stitching, buckles, billets and keepers on the bridle.
- Undo each part of the bridle.
- Using warm water thoroughly clean each part to remove all grease and dirt.
- With each piece that you clean check the stitching is intact, all the billets are secure, that all the keepers are intact and that no leather work is worn.
- Clean the bit and check for any sharp edges or wear and tear and then dry with a towel.
- If the leather work is dry, you can apply a leather balm or leather oil which will help to supple up the leather.
- Hang the headpiece up onto the tack cleaning hook and thoroughly using a damp sponge apply saddle soap.
- Next apply saddle soap to the brow band and then slip it onto the headpiece ensuring that it is facing the correct way.
- Then taking a cheek piece apply saddle soap and then attach to the head piece, do the same with the opposite cheek piece.
- Next take your nose band and saddle soap thoroughly before slipping the long nose band strap through the browband and under the headpiece and doing it up to the correct hole.
- Take your bit and check which way round it should go before doing up to the cheek pieces.
- Saddle soap up your reins and then attach to the bit.
- Now secure all of the leather straps through each buckle and keeper on the bridle.
- To finish off the bridle loop the throatlash around the front of the bridle then loop through buckle of your reins before taking the throatlash back around the front of the bridle and do up to the short throatlash strap. By doing this you will end up with a neat cross effect at the front of the bridle.
- Then take the noseband and slip the ends through the keepers.
- Hang the bridle up onto a bridle hook with the noseband and browband facing outwards and horizontal.
When you have finished tack cleaning your bridle should be hung up on a hook to help maintain the shape of the bridle. When hanging a bridle up ensure that the browband and noseband are facing outwards and that both are horizontal.
Fly Fringes And Sheepskin Covers
If your horse wears one regularly wash their fly fringe and any sheepskin nosebands or covers that they may wear.