1) How do you keep your tack & tack room dry?
We've never had a problem with our tack getting moldy before. We stored it in our garage, inside a cedar storage locker that Brad built at our old place. It was off the floor & securely attached to the wall. We quickly outgrew it, so the frequently used tack lived on racks & hooks in the garage. I was sad to leave our cedar storage behind, but it didn't make sense to bring it now that we have a tack room. Not to mention it would have been a huge ordeal to move the beastly thing.
We don't have a door on the new tack room (yet) so I never gave our tack a second thought. With huge fans in the aisle, there is plenty of circulation. Until the day I walked by and saw my old Circle Y Saddle covered in dust, 'er wait, that was surface mold! GASP!! As you know, I haven't ridden since we moved here, so other then grabbing a grooming bag by the entrance I haven't paid any attention to our tack. Big mistake. The new wood must have a lot of moisture, plus the endless rain
Thankfully our new saddles are stored in covers and were fine, but our bridles had some mold. They are also stored in a bag, because we had to haul our tack to our trainers barn. Boy were we surprised!
I searched online for suggestions to remedy the situation, and hung my head in shame because no, the pieces of tack that got surface mold were not stored spick & span clean. Obviously, clean tack is key to preventing mold.
I looked for Silica gel locally, but couldn't find any. If we go that route, it looks like I'll have to buy it online. I don't have enough shoe packets to make a difference lol, plus I re-use them in my camera bags.
We are thinking about getting a de-humidifier. For now, I am turning the light on during morning chores & running a fan.
2) What do you use to clean your tack?
Just curious. There are tons of products and methods out there. Many contradict. Our saddle maker suggested holding off cleaning until really needed, then wiping clean (with gentle saddle soap if needed) and following with a very light application of household oil.
We used to use a really nice custom handmade combo cleaner/lubrication spray from a local saddle fitter. Unfortunately it's a PITA to get now that she lives so far away.
For the moldy saddle, I wiped the mold off with a separate cloth, and since we are out of the custom spray I used Lexol cleaner & followed with Lexol polisher. It's what I had. It says it's for leather tack, but I find the cleaner drying and would like to find something better suited for saddles. For the bridles, I take them apart and briefly dunk them in warm water first. Old toothbrushes sure come in handy for cleaning tack!
3) What do you keep on hand for first aid?
Of course what one keeps on hand depends on what ails your horses. I have the general non medical stuff, like vet wrap, padding & gloves. I also keep bute, and have some some antibacterial wound ointment. I am thinking about getting an annual tube of banamine to keep on hand, even if none of our horses have ever coliced, as well as mineral oil. Shirley's Beamer colic episode prompted this. You just never know when that day might come. We would rather spend the annual $30 and throw the tube away, then be caught helpless. I definitely need to get a thermometer for the barn, and our vet clinic suggests a stethoscope. Not sure if I'll get the latter.