Mold. The enemy of tack. Its why people build climate controlled tack rooms. Mold just grows its ugly fuzz on the top of your nice (and even not nice) leather and gives everything a nauseous green glow.
At the barn, I get to use the instructor’s tack room. Right now, we only have four people working out of it, and so there is LOTS of room. Which really means my things have spread a little bit out of control, but it doesn’t matter because there is so much room for activities! We have a fan, and a mini fridge, and normally it just feels like the Hilton.
The downside of this tack room reared its ugly head this winter. It rained. And rained. And rained. And flooded everything. Including the tack room! I spent a lot of time troubleshooting. An eyewitness saw water running down the inner wall of the tack room, and so I looked to the gutters. They were overflowing, and I convinced one of the brothers to “help” me clean them out (I was mostly there for moral support and camaraderie). I nervously waited for the next bit of rain as I pushed the water up the tack room to the door so my things could dry out. I cleaned the mold off my tack.
It rained again. The tack room flooded again. My things are all in the back third or so of the room, which is also where the concrete slab has sunk or something, so the floor is about a quarter/half inch lower than the rest of the room. I broomed out more water and wondered what else it could be. I walked behind the barn and looked at the drainage. The farm is about a foot lower than the surrounding properties because someone decided topsoil was something to sell… and the property line is basically on the barn. I noticed there was a buildup of leaf litter on the concrete slab, and the downspout for the gutter didn’t have anywhere to go. Maybe the water was flowing down the spout and pooling, then leaking back into the tack room!
So I used my boots to make a ‘ditch’ for the water to run somewhere else. I made sure the barn foundation was higher than the surrounding dirt, and I crossed my fingers. I broomed out the water in the tack room and cleaned my tack again… At this point the moisture was in the air, so even though I cleaned the tack, it was moldy again within about two days. Ugh!
The next time it rained, the tack room still flooded!! I was really running out of ideas. I was considering taking my things home, or maybe just burning all the moldy things (not really, I’m broke). And then I happened to be in the tack room on another rainy day. And I saw water coming UP THROUGH THE FLOOR! Ahhh!
Now we needed to figure out how to fix the floor, before the next rain storm. Robert and I dutifully googled concrete fillers, and we bought some kind of caulk to fill in the floor. Five tubes later, we felt like the crack was all sealed up. And so we waited again…
And it rained… and rained… and rained…
And the tack room was mostly dry!!! Finally! We took all the blankets and saddle pads and washed all those things and only brought back what we needed. We cleaned all the tack again, and washed off everything else that was moldy. And mold-pocalypse was survived!
[No pictures, because it was just too depressing]