How to wash and look after your saddle pads and other products

Although you don’t get any extra marks for the turnout of you and your horse and it makes absolutely no difference to how happy your horses are, but a well presented combination does give others an impression of professionalism and tidiness. I love my matchy and will always buy high quality products for myself and my horses, and having us dressed smartly makes me feel more confident. There are PLENTY of days where I am definitely more mismatchy than matchy, but most days I do try to semi-presentable with my outfits! Recently I've often seen lots of people asking about how to look after and wash your your saddle pads, bandages, boots and other equipment to make sure they stay looking like new, so I thought I'd share my tips and tricks of keeping them looking their best. Let’s find out! ๐Ÿ’ญ
1. Buy quality products:
In general, the price of the product will influence its quality to a certain extent. It's logical that a saddle pad which costs £50 will last longer than one that costs £5 ๐Ÿ’ญ For example, cheaper saddle pads usually wear more quickly than expensive ones and soon become tatty after multiple washes, whereas quality ones can last years and years of consistent use. So the old saying that "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to all equestrian products, but especially saddle pads.

2. Washing different coloured saddle pads separately:
Whether you are washing dark or light coloured saddle pads, use the coldest possible water (I use between 20°C to 40°C depending on how dirty they are!) and wash them separately. I tend to put my matching saddle pad and bandages in the wash together, then after that do another quick wash with my bandage pads, over reach boots and any other products that need washing. I very rarely wash two similarly coloured pads at the same time, and so far nothing that I have owned has ever gotten damaged in the wash ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป And whites are always washed totally separately!! I know some people soak their pads before washing them - whilst soaking the pads won’t necessarily get the dirt out, removing the dirt and hair will be helpful. I personally don't have the time for this, but I'm sure it helps.

3. Wash often:
I was my saddle pads if they get wet with sweat and when they develop any build up of grease or hair as this can easily rub my horses. I always wash my white ones after each use (I very occasionally will use them twice) and everything is washed if the horse as sweated a lot. I would say on average each pad is washed after every 4-5 uses, bandages go for longer but bandage pads more often, so whenever they get sweaty.

4. Be very careful not to overdo boot polish, as that can’t be removed once it stains:
For the love of all things clean - don't polish the inside of your riding boots.  And use only your grossest oldest saddle pads if your tack is freshly oiled (or just oil your tack during a time when your horse is having a holiday/week off!) 

5. Competition whites:
If you really need to pre-treat your white competition saddle pads and bandages, you could mix up some water and an oxy-type stain remover and let everything soak overnight. Any tub or bucket will do as long as it then becomes the competition gear/tack soaking bucket and won't get mixed up with your other buckets ๐Ÿงผ
6. Beware of hair!
If you have very hairy horses then small vacuums are the best at removing dust and horsehair, or you can always brush the saddle pads if there is no vacuum close by. Over the winter to summer transition period when my horses start to shed no matter how diligently I groom my horses, you can bet that some loose hair will become stuck to the saddle pads. So I tend to brush my saddle pads after each ride because they get so hairy that it ends up looking like there's more hair on my saddle pads than on my horses. By removing as much as possible of the hair by hand before you put your saddle pads into the washing machine it prevents lots of hair getting into your septic system and your washing machine's filter.

7. Drying saddle pads:
Do not dry your saddle pads in a tumble dryer as it will cause damage to the fabric. The best way to dry everything is by hanging them up and allowing them to air-dry. I like to dry them in the shade, as the sun's rays can be harsh if you have a coloured saddle pad or bandages. I have seen SO MANY saddle pads and bandages ruined by being left outside in the sunshine to dry ☠️ Over reach boots, boots and bandage pads I often leave to dry in the sun.

Do you have any top tips for keeping your equestrian products immaculate? If you do, let me know your secrets in the comments section below!

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