I love this time of the year in Northern Nevada! Getting out the horses in the nice breaks in Spring weather here and going over all of your tack to make sure everything is in working order.
A lot of focus goes into cleaning all of your leather tack and making everything look show-ready, but many people gloss over tack that is needing to be repaired or replaced.
A few areas to watch out for:
The cinch connector; the keeper between the front and rear cinch (if you use both) is extremely important. If you are using wire, rope, or a leather scrap to keep the two latched together it is time to replace it with a nice new connector. Leather is always popular and works well, but you do have to watch out for rot or tearing. Nylon is okay when you watch it carefully for fraying, but biothane, a PVC coated nylon is nearly indestructible for a few years.
The Cinch; often overlooked because it doesn't get polished, pay attention to the condition of this vital piece of equipment. There are a hundred different types of cinches on the market, but a cinch needs to accomplish a few key goals: Keep the horse cool and comfortable, stay centered under the belly, be snug enough to hold the saddle in place. There are many variables to a used cinch, but I replace any cinches that are worn at the buckles, to D-ring hardware that attaches to the breast collar or the cinch connector. If your horse galls easily it's best to replace your cinches every year. Cleaning them is an option. Neoprene and PVC material is easily washed, and you can disinfect cinches quickly with a sport boot wash from Eqyss or even BioWash. Mohair, blends or cotton cinches can be washed out too, and I would hand wash a fleece cinch at least once a year to make sure the material is in good working order.
Chicago screws; this is a great time to check all of your existing hardware on the saddle, breast collar, headstall and reins. Many people forget to inspect the tightness of screws that hold buckles to the headstall. Better to do it now than to lose a vital piece of equipment when you're out riding.
Of course your entire rig needs to have some attention, but these key areas are among the most common offenders when I see folks in for repairs. And remember if you have any questions simply ask any one of the crew here at Rogers.