Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at
from Cherry Hill


February 2000

Your Horse Barn - DVD
How To Think
Like A Horse
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill

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This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.

My goal is to send you interesting stories and helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.

Are you having winter?  WE ARE NOT!!  WHAT IS GOING ON??

I fully intended to write an article about winter riding for this issue, but it has been hard for me to "get in the mood" since we have not really had winter yet.  At 7000 feet in the Colorado Rockies, this is odd.  It is so dry here that cracks are beginning to appear in the pastures and heavy traffic areas such at gateways are turning into piles of light, fluffy dust.  We desperately need snow.  To make things worse, we have had unseasonably warm and windy weather which further dries things out.  Gee, I need a drink of water! 

To tide you over, be sure to read my article on winter shoes.

And if you have too much snow, could you please send some our way??!!



Leather Tack Care and Cleaning
The Perfect Box for 4 x 4 Gauze Pads
Rhinopneumonitis shots for your broodmare
Maximum Hoof Power Special
Evaluate Your Position at the Halt
New Postings on the Roundup Page
Our Recent Magazine Articles
Cherry Hill doesn't do endorsements!
Coming Attractions


Leather Tack Care and Cleaning

Your dollar investment in tack and equipment can easily equal or exceed the value of your horse. Tack that is kept dry, clean, and in good working order is ready when you need it, more comfortable for the horse and rider, lasts longer, is safer during regular work and especially during stress, and has a first rate appearance. From the standpoint of economics and safety, taking care of your tack just makes sense.

Leather's greatest enemies are water, heat, dirt, and the salt from sweat. Fine leather articles should be stored at room temperature and out of direct sun and light. Humidity should be moderate and the room should be well-ventilated and as dirt-free as possible.

If a dehumidifier is impractical, discourage mold and mildew by wiping leather articles periodically with a mild acid solution, such as white vinegar and water or a 1:1 ratio of rubbing alcohol and water. If mildew persists, washing with a thick suds of a germicidal or fungicidal soap followed by exposure to air and sunlight will usually take care of the problem.

For routine leather care, follow these three steps to protect your tack: Clean it. Feed it. Seal it.

Clean it.  Warm water and Turkish toweling may be all that is necessary to remove dirt, hair, sweat, and previous applications of saddle soap and oil from tack. Tooled saddles may benefit from the use of a soft bristled brush (old toothbrush) and neglected saddles will require the addition of a cleaning agent to the water. A specially designed leather cleaning product such as Leather Therapy Wash ( gets leather very clean, but does so safely without stripping oils.  NEVER use a alkaline product like detergent to clean your leather tack or it will dry and crack in no time.  Some glycerin saddle soaps are also alkaline and should be avoided.  Naturally made oil-based soaps such as Kirkwood's or Murphy's will clean the leather without drying it but tend to leave a film on the leather which must be washed off with clear water before proceeding.  

"Jockeys" or dark spots which can appear under stirrup leathers, for example, may need to be gently rubbed with the end of a wooden match or a dull knife blade to loosen before cleaning. Wash thoroughly, rinse according to need, and wipe with a clean, soft cloth.

Feed it.  Once the leather is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed of soap residue, it should be allowed to partially dry. But while it is still damp, the flesh side of the leather should be nourished with oil. Damp leather absorbs oil more readily by drawing it into the pores as the water evaporates.

Leather loses some of its fat every day and needs to be fed. Over-feeding, however, can create a limp, flabby, greasy article with deteriorated threads and weakened leather fibers. Routine light conditioning is far superior to a one-time saturation. Choose a compound specifically designed for fine leather such as Leather Therapy Conditioner (see above URL).  Beware of compounds that contain petroleum-based products as they will emulsify the fats in the leather and dry it out. Pure neatsfoot oil, if used lightly is usually safe but it turns leather dark and too much can rot the stitching.  One-step leather cleaner/conditioners/preservers might sound like they are saving you time but the don't impart an overall healthy feel to your leather if used on a long-term basis.

Seal it.  Once the conditioned leather has had adequate time to dry, the conditioner should be sealed into the leather. This final coat not only locks in the conditioner, but it also makes daily removal of sweat and mud much easier. You can finish large leather surfaces easily with Leather Therapy Finish spray.  For articles such as bridles, you can apply a good quality soft saddle soap directly from the can using a small piece of sheepskin. Let it dry and then buff and polish the piece with a damp chamois. A chamois is a soft under-split of a sheepskin (no wool) that has been oil-tanned and suede finished.

For stirrup fenders and leathers, back cinches, and skirts, you can use Leather Therapy Finish spray or the hard wax method. For a hard wax shine, use a clean sheepskin applicator, a small amount of water, a glycerin saddle soap bar, and lots of elbow grease.  Work up a lather. Apply the foam liberally to areas which especially need protection from sweat and mud and to areas which come in contact with the rider's clothes. Let the foam dry for a half hour or so, then buff and polish the saddle with a dry, clean chamois (one that you use only for this purpose) or a soft, lint-free cloth.

Leather articles can be covered with fabric when not in use for protection from dust and dirt while allowing adequate ventilation. Take care of your leather tack items and they will not only last a long time but some day, when you least expect it (but most assuredly will appreciate it) they will take care of you.


The Perfect Box for 4 x 4 gauze pads

I found the perfect container for 4 x 4 gauze squares that are used in wound cleaning and care.  It's a Rubbermaid Servin' Saver 2 cup container #3870 - you'll probably be able to find one the housewares aisle of your grocery store or your favorite discount department store.  As you know, if you have tended a wound, you will use a good number of gauze square soaked in a betadine solution to care for the wound.  You can put a tall stack of 4 x 4 squares in this container, pour enough betadine solution in to saturate the pads, and snap on the well-sealing lid.  There is just enough room around the edges of the pads for the betadine and for you to be able to easily grab pads.  Store the full container out of the sunlight.  When you no longer need it for daily wound care, store it empty and unlidded.  


Rhinopneumonitis Shots for Your Broodmare

Pregnant mares should receive vaccinations against rhinopneumonitis virus (equine herpes virus 1p and 1b) to help prevent abortion due to infection by the virus.  Vaccinations should be given at the 5th, 7th, and 9th month of pregnancy.  Other horses on your premises might also require rhinopneumonitis vaccines. 

Ask your veterinarian to recommend which rhino vaccine to use for your situation.  Only administer injections if you are fully capable of giving an aseptic IM (intramuscular) injection.  If you would like to be able to vaccinate your horses in the future by yourself, read my section on injections in Horse Health Care then ask your veterinarian to demonstrate and coach you so you can learn. 

The rhinopneumonitis vaccine must be administered IM, deep in heavy muscle.  Be sure your horse is able to exercise following the injection to promote absorption and to prevent muscle soreness.  For mares heavy in foal, handwalking 15-30 minutes per day for 3 or 4 days is a good idea.


You Need to Walk Before You Lope
and You Need to Halt Before You Go!

In this excerpt from my book 101 Arena Exercises I offer some things for you to check and think about when you stop your horse.  The halt should be square and balanced with the horse's legs under his body. The halt is a perfect time to check your position before you begin moving your horse. The halt (or stop) is necessary for all levels of dressage, hunt seat, saddle seat, and all western competitions.

If your horse halts square, you will tend to move off in balance.

CAUTION:  A young horse might find it difficult to stand square and still under your weight and might move around trying to find a comfortable way to take the weight on his yet undeveloped back. Sit balanced and quietly and gradually extend the period of time you require the young horse to stand square and still.

It is a privilege to ride. It is a responsibility to ride correctly. Close your eyes. Do you feel balanced?

Develop your own personal mental check list so that when you first mount, you can evaluate and correct your basic position. Only then will the rest of your riding proceed with correctness.

HOW TO Evaluate Your Position At the Halt:

(Note: In each question, the desirable is mentioned first.)

  • Is your breathing deep and regular or are you holding your breath?

    Is there equal weight on both seat bones or is it difficult to feel one of them? Are they in the deepest part of the saddle?

    Are your hip bones directly over your seat bones or are they behind your seat bones in the "Cadillac" position?

    Is your lower back relaxed or is it braced and tense?

    Is your upper body above your hips or is it leaning extremely forward or backward?

    Is there a straight line from your shoulder through your hip to your heel or are your legs way in front of your body or are you slumped forward or leaning back?

    Are your shoulders back or rounded forward?

    Is your sternum lifted upward or collapsed inward?

    Are your shoulders level or is one higher than the other?

    Are your head and neck straight or are they tilted to one side or rolling forward?

    Are your eyes looking straight ahead or down?

    Are your thighs relaxed or are they gripping or forcibly stretching?

    Do you have appropriate lower leg contact or are you holding your lower legs away from your horse?

    Can you see just the toe of your boot when you glance down at your foot or is most of your foot and part of your lower leg visible?

    Is there equal weight in each of your stirrups?

    Are your hand(s) at an even, appropriate level? Is there a direct line from the bit to your elbows?

    Is there even contact on the reins?

    If your horse disappeared suddenly, would you topple over or stand when you landed on the ground?

  • *************************************************************************

    New Postings on the Roundup Page

    How to Tell if a Mare is in Heat 

    Horse Won't Move Forward 

    Outdoor Arena Fence 

    Personal Space 

    1999 was a 5 book year for Cherry Hill


    Our Recent Articles and Books

    Here's a roundup of the most recent magazine articles and books by Cherry Hill and Richard Klimesh, the "Klim-Team":

    Dec 1999 Western Horseman        "Wise Up on Winter Blanketing" p. 142

    Dec 1999 Horse & Rider                "To Clip or Not to Clip" p. 30

    Dec 1999 Horse & Rider                "Planning an Indoor Arena" p. 66

    Jan 2000 Horse & Rider                "Save That Tail" p. 41

    Feb 2000 Horse & Rider                "How to Use a Chain Shank" p.32

    Feb 2000 Horse & Rider                "Winterize Your Barn" p. 42

    Jan 2000 Storey Books                Stablekeeping, a Visual Guide to Safe and Healthy Horsekeeping

     Jan 2000 Storey Books               Trailering Your Horse, A Visual Guide to Safe Training and Traveling


    Cherry Hill doesn't do endorsements!

        I don't accept payment to recommend or endorse any horse products in my articles, books or this newsletter.  I do, however, mention names of products that I am currently using and find satisfactory.  I do this to give you a starting point or help narrow the field.  Sometimes finding the right product or piece of tack is the beginning of the answer to a training or horsekeeping problem.

    Coming Attractions

    Winter Riding
    The Senior Horse
    More Training, Riding, and Horse Care Tips

    That's it for this month.

    Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

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