I am afraid I am being very British and writing an entire blog based on the weather…but really, here in Hertfordshire the weather is vile. According to the local weather forecast, its going to be sticking around for a while! For all dog owners, equestrians and country lovers its business as usual but maybe with slightly less enthusiasm.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no fair-weather rider, but when you’re lying in bed in the morning, listening to the rain hammering on the windows, the last thing I want to do is get up and brave the weather to feed horses and walk dogs (and get cold and wet in the process!) While we always strive to carry on as normal, there are many jobs that are put on pause during weather like this. Therefore, I think it’s the perfect time to be doing some basic leather maintenance.
Ideally you want to avoid getting your leather wet…but unfortunately in the UK that’s just not an option! If your leather does take a good soaking it is important to make sure you dry it out thoroughly. Please try to avoid putting it near a heat source, I know it’s convenient and quicker, but it really isn’t great for the health of your leather. The best way to dry leather is just in a well-ventilated area, at room temperature.
Funnily enough, water damage to leather causes it to dry out. This is due to the fact that the water molecules bind to the oils in the leather when it becomes soaked, so when the water evaporates it takes the oils with it. Therefore, it is really important to refeed your leather if it has got very wet, once it has dried. Personally, I like to use a beeswax-based leather balm that contains a mixture of natural oils and fats, but there are many products on the market to choose from. Try to avoid using neatsfoot oil unless your leather is REALLY dry, as it can make the leather greasy and cause the stitching to rot prematurely.
Even if you are staying indoors until all this weather settles down, your leatherwork would still appreciate a little spa treatment. Also, while you are taking the time to treat your leather, it’s an excellent opportunity to perform a basic safety check (for help with these I’ve done a blog post about basic tack safety checks).
Whether you are planning on braving the weather this week or staying indoors, or maybe you are fortunate enough to not have rain this week, have a lovely week. Please remember if you have any queries about your tack or leatherwork, speak to a professional.