Well-made nylon tack is great stuff! It’s strong and sturdy, and it comes in an incredible array of colors to suit your taste and keep your horse looking his best. Despite its strength and reliability, this kind of tack does need to be looked after. Taking good care of your nylon tack will help keep you safe, and it will help make your favorite bridle, breast collar, and other items last longer, too.
Check Your Tack Each Time You Ride
Just like leather tack, nylon items need to be checked before every ride. Look for areas of unusual rubbing or wear, including around adjustment holes.
Take a close look at the buckles on your tack, along with any Chicago screws that might be present. Be sure that everything is in good working order.
Double check your saddle, and be sure that there is no excessive wear or tearing on the cinch or billets straps. Check the breast collar straps, too. Whether these are leather or nylon tack, they are subject to quite a bit of wear and tear, particularly in the area where they come into contact with the rings that hold the breast collar together. Hidden damage can cause catastrophes, so take the time to be thorough!
Keep Your Horse Clean
It’s best to keep your horse as clean as possible at all times, and doubly important to be sure that he is nice and clean before you set out for a ride. Check his back to make sure there is no debris that could cause discomfort, and check all other areas that will be coming into contact with nylon tack and other saddlery components. Use your bare hand to feel around his belly in the area where girths and cinches go, and do the same for his chest. Even with soft nylon tack, an irritating piece of debris can cause your horse to act up!
Never Use Your Reins to Tie Your Horse
It can be tempting to use your reins to tie your horse, especially if you’re going to be gone for “just a minute!” Even though nylon headstalls and reins are strong, they can break or cause injury to your horse in the event he panics while tied. If you absolutely have to leave your horse and don’t have a halter and lead rope available, then wrap your reins around a post or tree branch a few times without tying them. This way, they will give a little bit of resistance if the horse steps back to “test” the equipment. If he decides to pull hard, he will be loose but your reins will be intact. This isn’t ideal, but it is a better situation than a loose horse wearing a saddle with no bridle and / or broken reins.
Clean Your Tack after Riding
Just like leather, nylon tack needs to be cleaned after each ride. It’s easy to rinse, and maintaining it this way will help keep the colors true and prevent the material from becoming stiff and crusty. A quick soak in a bucket with some mild soap and water will loosen up even caked on dirt. Be sure to dry your tack carefully after wetting it! Leaving it exposed to moisture will cause buckles and other metal components to rust, which is a sure recipe for disaster. Just a little TLC makes a big difference!