Regular cleaning is important to extend the life of your saddle, it should take about 30 minutes depending on the condition of your saddle.
- Saddle soap
- Bucket of warm water
- Nylon-bristle brush
- Leather oil or wax conditioner
- Soft rag
- Using saddle soap, water and nylon brush, clean the saddle with just enough pressure to work up a lather on the leather, spend extra time on areas that directly touch the horse (fenders, stirrup leathers, billets, latigos and back cinch).
- With the sponge and water, flush clean the areas you’ve lathered. This process removes surface dirt and opens the leather’s pores, which releases dirt that’s penetrated the leather.
- Allow the leather to dry completely.
- Apply leather conditioner. Use a paint brush if it’s an oil-based product or your hands for a wax-based conditioner. Pay close attention to areas that contact the horse.
If the leather is particularly dry (evidenced by stiffness), use neatsfoot oil. Apply the oil sparingly, because over-oiling adds weight to the saddle, causes the product to bleed from the leather in hot weather, and can break down the leather’s fibers.
Wax-based products are suitable for all saddle surfaces (front- and backsides). The wax helps seal the leather so dirt and salt don’t readily penetrate the surface. Hand-rub wax-based products into the saddle’s surface when the leather is warmed to room temperature or outside on a warm day.
After applying conditioner, buff off any excess product with scrap sheepskin or a soft rag so the saddle’s surface isn’t sticky and doesn’t attract dust.