When it comes to tack, every equestrian knows that caring for your leather can be the difference between a clean round and the kind of equipment failure that can send you tumbling to the ground. Of course, we also love the excuse to shop for more tack. Although most of us don't actually require an excuse. We just buy more tack. New. Used. We're not picky. More is the key. Right?
Still. I think one of the most important pieces of learning to be a responsible horse owner and rider is doing your best to clean and maintain your equipment. So, with that in mind, I thought I'd share one of my favorite products for this task. Actually, not just a product. I pretty much love this entire line of leather care products.
The name sounds like a sneeze or something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but the company is based in Germany and they know their stuff. If you Google Effax you will come up with millions of results and yet you won't immediately find a company website because their products literally speak for themselves. As in, their products are pretty darned popular and are available everywhere online.
Here is an overview:
Effax Glycerin Soap- Comes with a little sponge inside. Do not be afraid to get this puppy super wet and make a mess. The mess is actually what cleans the scum off your leather. Apply as much foam as you can and scrub. Wipe clean and let dry. Repeat as many times as you need to in order to get the scuzz off and remind yourself that if you did this more often it would take less repeats.
Effax Leather Creme Soap- Now, if you clean your tack pretty often or if you've already gone at it with the glycerin soap a few times, you can use this product to clean and condition in one go. This stuff is magic on bridles. It's got avocado and coconut oil in it so prepare to get greasy, but that grease is fantastic for pretty much any leather including your boots and your saddle.
Effax Leather Combi- This is a rather awesome and bizarre product. Mostly because it actually has the consistency of rubbing alcohol and yet manages to both clean and condition leather. I find this super useful on bridles that have seen one too many cleanings. Leather Combi does a great job rehydrating leather that just can't seem to absorb enough oil to stay supple after about a billion uses.
Effax Leather Balm- If you have a Custom Saddle (the company, not necessarily a custom made saddle) this is the product that they recommend for the care of their saddles, but it works for any saddle and can work for bridles that have passed dry all the way to crackly.
Prepare yourself for mega goo because a little bit of this stuff goes a LONG way. The recommendation is actually to use a brush, something like a short bristle body brush. Apply the greasy balm to the brush and start to work it into your saddle as if you're currying it. Don't wipe off the excess right away. In fact, if you let that saddle sit overnight, it will absorb the leather balm and you'll suddenly have a beautiful, slightly tacky leather that will be supple and comfy to ride in. The balm can really do a great job rehabbing those saddles we find in someone's barn too. It may take several applications, but you'll be surprised how much life you can bring to an ancient piece of what was once really high class leather.
And just so you know, Effax makes this nifty sample box of products that comes in a handy plastic carrying case that you can put in your trailer or tack trunk. Or, you might consider gifting that to your favorite trainer *ahem* or barn buddy this holiday season! Just an idea...