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...
And I ALMOST CRIED.
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.
MY SADDLE TURNED MULTICOLOURED MOULD FURRY GROSS YUCK.
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?
PUT THE BOOTS ON MY FEET AND THAT SADDLE ON A HORSE!