It’s March and we are still dealing with cold weather and many of us across the country are experiencing a fair amount of “winter mix” weather, but the fact is that winter is almost over and sunny days are soon to come. With that, now is a great time to take a sunday afternoon and go through your tack room. The majority of folks are fair weather horsemen and haven’t paid much attention to your saddle since before the holidays.
This is the time of year that our repair shop gets pretty busy and, depending on the repair, your normal wait on getting something fixed could be a couple weeks or better. Now is a great time to go through your saddles and check key areas that may need attention before your right in the middle of the season and your saddle is in the shop.
Here are a few areas we suggest you check over for signs of potential repairs needed:
- Check the stirrup leathers and buckles- your looking for signs of severe cracking or tearing around the adjustment holes where your buckles fasten. Also check the buckles for corrosion around the posts and rivets… this can lead to the buckle breaking or pulling out during use.
- Check the fenders/sweat leathers for damage- fender patches are our most common repair in the shop and we can usually patch most tears or damage on fenders without having to replace them. The most common damage is found at the leg of the fender just before where the stirrup hangs.
- Check the riggings – Whether you have inskirt rigs, flat plate, or a standard double dee rigging, you want to give it an overall look to make sure you don’t have any dry rot or stitches coming loose. Check any rivets for corrosion and also give the hardware a look to make sure you don’t see any worn spots that could lead to breaking.
- If you do a lot of roping out of your saddle normally, take a minute to check your tree for any breakage or movement that you may not have noticed before the offseason. This is accomplished by standing your saddle up on its horn on a hard concrete surface and pushing the cantle downwards towards the horn. If you notice more movement then usual then you may have a broke tree. If you question this I suggest getting an opinion from someone who knows what they are looking for. We offer this at no charge and can tell if its broke in a few minutes
- Last and equally important is to check all your small straps and connections on all your gear. Curb straps, girth connectors, latigos, off billets, tug straps, bit hangers, headstall ties, tiedown poll straps, etc. All these little things are just plain annoying when they break… and they always break at the most annoying time. Just give them a quick look.
Most repairs can be caught early, aside from a wreck or accident most things don’t get weak overnight… they have been neglected or used up overtime. Taking this small step before you get back into the busy season can keep you out of the repair shop and from possibly getting hurt.