Winter is a great time to take some take to care for your tack. Temperatures in New York this week have been below zero with wind chills from as low as minus 25-30°F. It is far too cold for me to build and far too cold to work the horses. I have been bundling the boys up in their hoodies, giving them extra hay, and offering an extra meal at midnight of warm alfalfa “soup.”
While I’m indoors I like to clean my tack and condition my leather boots. Admittedly I don’t take well enough care of my boots but I do try to remember to show them some love.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of moseying about an Equine Affaire or Horse Expo (or possibly any other equine trade show) you might have come across people sitting on a small wooden stool all day long offering to condition your boots for free. These are the folks of Outback Survival Gear. They are easily recognizable with their yellow tins and benevolent bee mascot. What I didn’t realize until recently is that this Australian company has its U.S. office and manufacturing site in my own backyard of upstate NY (Saratoga).
I didn’t have leather boots at my first outing and when I bought my first pair of cowgirl boots I was super excited to go to the Horse Expo. I got a free boot treatment and bought myself a tin.
Outback’s Leather Seal is a safe easy to use product made of beeswax, eucalyptus, and avocado oil. It contains no lanolin or mink oil and will protect stitching. The eucalyptus makes it a natural bug deterrent. What I recently learned is this can be used for dry skin and hooves, too.
To use the Leather Seal is easy. Use your hands to apply to your surface…leather, wood furniture, even rubber and vinyl. Work it into the leather. Finally, wipe off the excess.
After conditioning my boots water instantly beads up and falls off the surface. The boots look incredible after, too. I don’t wear the boots often so I only usually need to condition them 2-3x/year. I’ve had the tin for a year or two at this point since a little goes a long way.
- Little goes a long way
- Smells lovely
- Natural ingredients
- Bug repellant
- Versatile; you can use this on a lot of different surfaces
- Might darken some leathers and Nu-Buck
- Not recommended for suede
Apply with your hands and you get a hand treatment at the same time!
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty (they are slightly slippery after) use a dry rag…I recommend Bella’Mar’s Tacksaver Mitt
Try on a small section of leather that isn’t easily seen before applying to all of your tack (to test the color properties)
- Effax Leather Balsam: This contains beeswax, lanolin, and avocado oil.
- Colorado Leather Balm: This contains tallow beeswax, lanolin, and essential oils. It smells wonderful and seems to work well.
- Sterling Essentials Leather Cleaner: Though I’ve heard good things about this product they are very secretive about their ingredients. I understand companies wanting to keep their trade secrets but it doesn’t make me feel good about using or buying it.
Outback Survival Gear’s Leather Seal is one of the most effective and versatile leather products I’ve come across. That you can use it on hands, leather, hooves, wood, rubber, vinyl, and even gun barrels makes the product very interesting. You can see their case studies on the website here: https://www.outbacksurvivalgear.com/pages/leatherseal
The balm is very easy to use and smells great. It’s also safe to use on skin and hooves.
The regular sized 5.5oz can costs about $20 and is worth it. If you have a lot of use for it you can buy the large 1kg tub for $75.
I highly recommend Outback Survival Gear’s Leather Seal. It’s a product I will likely keep in my home as a staple item for many years to come.