Monday, July 11, 2011

Attack of the Damp Disgusting Mouldy Tack Room Spore Monsters!!!

Things went kinda wonky when I was hiding in my room for a month.  Actually things were pretty much dysfunctional in the barn for the last six months or so.  I was feeling right bummed out Saturday for no discernible reason - it happens - and my idea to sweep the floor turned into a four hour Clean Rearrange Tack Room Frenzy!

Thing is, since crawling out of my bedroom exile, I'd noticed that the boots I'd set under a saddle rack last fall without cleaning first... had not survived winter and spring well.  They were mouldy.  I'd never seen anything that fuzzy.

Tentatively, apprehensively and anxiously, I lifted the cover off the saddle on that rack...


It wasn't just that fuzzy white and pale green mould.  

This was full on FURRY.  

Mounds of mould fur.  YELLOW AND BROWN.  

Bad. Bad.  Very bad.  On my cute saddle that I picked up last summer for $250 and felt so smug about.  


And the boots.

Are you getting this?  Getting how awful they are?

EVEN THE LACES ARE MOULDY.  They aren't even leather.  Almost cried.  I've had these boots SINCE 1995 and I've never let them get this bad.  

The tack room's in the ground floor of a 130-odd year old barn, give or take a decade.  Most of the downstairs is built into a hill, and it gets damp in there, especially during our humid Ontario summers.  Keeping leather things non-fuzzy is a constant challenge.  

Well I set myself up in the corral and got busy cleaning tack.  Luckily I love cleaning tack.  Unluckily this grossed me out.  But I toughed it up, man.  I put on a paper dust mask cuz I don't want that crap going up in my nose.  That mould fur is actually dry and kind of poofs all over when disturbed.  Eeeeuuuuurrrgggghhhhhhh.

I cleaned the saddle first and then gave the boots a very quick brushing up with the sponge and leather soap - just enough to keep them from ROTTING until I get out there to spend an hour cleaning every little friggin stitch.

Noticeable improvement, at least.  

And the saddle?

It's gonna live!

I tend to get really ADHD Hyper Focus about saddle cleaning, and have to get into every little carved crevice.  I scrubbed 'er up real good.  I let it dry over supper and then lovingly rubbed Lexol conditioner all over it.  

Made it all glowy and soft and wonderful again.

I'm so relieved that my stuff wasn't ruined.  But this is the kind of thing that will destroy your leather tack.  Stick a saddle in a damp old barn for a few years, with all the temperature fluctuations and humidity changes, and eventually it's done.  Once it gets cracked it can't be brought back.  And that really is the kind of thing that makes me cry!

I might need to send these Before and After shots to the nice people who make saddle soap and conditioner.  

You know what else I'm gonna do?



mugwump said...

yes. I rode today.

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm next!!!!

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh hey, that clean saddle rode real nice this evening!!!

Boots worked pretty good too.

Paul Tee said...

Is that not strange. I, too, cleaned the saddle, polishing it. Oiled all the gear, tightened all connections, making sure to take lots of water. Then I mounted, and with God's blessing, I was off.

Stranger still, I was in middle of a huge pack, all of us pumping, forward, on and on.

Why were all the signs in French? Why were all the people cheering on the roadside as we swept by? Flags everywhere. People hanging out of windows... What the...?

Of course! I was in the Tour de France. Or wished I were. On a Cervello bike, with Contador on my left, The Schlecks on my right. Evans and Basso somewhere near. I can smell them. Which is also strange for I'm sweating and boiling off a scent. But it feels good. I just got to hang on and not wake up.

Ahead I can see the Pyrenees looming... Oh, heck...

Great to see you return to form.

Heidi the Hick said...

Watch out. I hear you can bucked off pretty bad off one o' them mechanical horses...!

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