I'll just put this out there: I like cleaning tack. I like having clean tack. I love the smell of leather.
I've done enough reading of snotty horse books to know that ideally, I would clean my tack after every use. I've also done enough living in the real world to know that even I just can't do that. Things happen. It's true.
That said, I do aim to clean all my leather tack about every two weeks. I just bring it home, then scrub while I watch Pride and Prejudice. People at my barn (which is extremely laid back) think I'm a little crazy, but I just hold my supple, glowing reins and smile at them. I've contemplated starting my own on the side tack cleaning business, but I don't know if I'll go through with it. I prefer to just clean my own, then clean my trainer's, to make up extra work hours. She's incredibly amazing to me and doesn't really care if I get all my hours in as long as the work gets done, but I like to think she's not losing labor.
On top of that, I'm still sifting my way through the leather items Michelle and I pulled out of the grain room a couple weeks ago. I've found some very interesting stuff, but it is a lot of work to clean tack that dirty. One pair of laced reins took me almost two hours to clean and condition.
Izzy update: I own two bridles and two bits. I ride Cassie in an eggbutt snaffle. My second bit is a full cheek snaffle with a fixed cheek that I bought in our early H/J days because everyone had them and I liked how they looked. It doesn't work for her, though, because she wiggles her bit so aggressively that it rubs a bald spot on her lips. I have been using the same bridle on both girls and just readjusting it constantly, which works, but doesn't appeal to my neat and lazy side. I'm thinking that I'll ride Cassie in the old bridle with the eggbutt and put the full cheek on Izzy, since she doesn't wiggle her bit and it shouldn't bother her.
Beyond that, they both did well today. I'm working on Cassie's simple equitation stuff. I think she has the best shot of doing H/J again. She never did care for dressage. That means lots of w/c/w transitions, going forward, that sort of thing. We still do some leg yields and shoulder-in, but Cassie's happier going forward and jumping than she is messing around on the flat. Another advantage to this is that I can do all her schooling without stirrups. The last horse book I read (Hunter Seat Equitation) recommended doing about 25% of ridden work without stirrups, something I haven't done in years, literally.
Izzy did ok. We're still working on the whole steering/stopping/going thing. I like to think she's doing better. We had a major freak-out on the lunge, but it was due to a spook instead of general orneriness. Other than that, she actually mostly lunges like a trained horse. I'm kicking around introducing sidereins so she can begin to understand going forward and rein contact, but most of my reading indicates that they should be used to reinforce training, not introduce it. I'll wait for now. We still have trouble walking off from the half and walking by interesting things. She gets distracted and just stops. It's frustrating, but I can deal with it. Her balance at the trot is improving. I'm not sure that we'll hit the canter by the end of the month, like my original goal, but that's ok. Goals are to give me something to shoot for, not to force my horse into something she can't deal with.