Buying saddles or tack? What about COVID-19?

Mid-pandemic, tack shops and equestrians alike are still marketing their saddles and bridles and other horse tack. Money is tight for many, as jobless rates soar with pandemic-related layoffs and business closures (both temporary and longer), and the stock market fluctuates more wildly than the greenest colt.

But some horse-people still shop for equestrian equipment.

How does COVID-19 affect your purchase of a saddle or tack?

Safety is definitely a concern, as the coronavirus is extremely contagious. By government decree and/or merchant caution, many brick-and-mortar stores are closed, but still offering their wares online. And individual sellers still advertise used and new items on websites, in blog sidebars, on online bulletin boards, and through social networking.

The buying and selling has not ceased, although folks may have grown more frugal in the current economic climate.

Even remote buying and selling merits some caution.

Is your new stuff coming in with an unexpected add-on, the dreaded virus?

 Some experts believe the virus is able to linger on various surfaces. Here are a few pertinent examples for horsey folks (thanks to WebMD):

  • Aluminum – 2-8 hours
  • Cardboard – 24 hours
  • Ceramics – 5 days
  • Copper – 4 hours
  • Glass – varies (up to 5 days)
  • Miscellaneous metals – 5 days
  • Paper – varies (up to 5 days)
  • Plastic – 2-3 days
  • Silver – 5 days
  • Stainless Steel – 2-3 days
  • Wood – 4 days

Think about that fancy saddle or bridle, with hand-tooled leather and silver conchos. Consider the shiny new plastic water bucket or grooming tote. Ponder the handy halter, the sweet wooden dandy brush, the fluffy saddle pad, or the metal shedding blade. How about that brand-new new hoof pick?

COVID-19 may last from hours to days on porous items like fabrics and leather. (Check out that beautiful new show coat, those flashy breeches, or that amazing pair of boots.)

Don’t assume something is virus-free, just because it’s brand-new.

Any one of these could still carry coronavirus, if it was handled by someone who was infected. Especially if you picked it up in person or paid extra for express delivery.

Even that sweet pedigree paperwork or breed certificate on the new foal could be contaminated.

And all that second-hand stuff? All bets are off there too.

Have you heard the glitter analogy about COVID-19?

This analogy helps to paint a clear picture of the situation. Let’s assume (for safety’s sake) that anything you obtain these days is tainted with the virus. Pretend it’s shiny like glitter, so you can see it. And it’s all over your new stuff.  Now you have to wash the glitter off before you use your new stuff.

Let's just consider everything contaminated for now, for the sake of safety. If we are over-cautious, we still may come out healthier.

What can you do?

Go ahead, and buy that pretty bridle. Order that sensational saddle. Splurge on that spiffy show shirt.

When your stuff arrives, you can open it outside, and toss all of the outer packaging. Don’t even bring it into the barn till you disinfect it (in a safe spot, like outdoors or in the wash-rack, if you plan to clean that after you’re done). Household disinfectants, laundry detergent, cleaning wipes, and even soap and water can clean your newly acquired items. Saddle soap does the trick for leather goods, if you scrub a lot and rinse and buff well. You may even opt to hire a professional tack cleaner for your new saddle or bridle.

Be sure to toss all of the outer packaging.

Then wash your hands.
Public domain photo

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