After your horse, your saddle is likely the most expensive part of your equine gear. For this reason alone, it pays to take care of it and do everything you can to preserve it.
Even one named for the Duke
With a few exceptions, saddles are generally made of leather. You can care for and preserve your leather saddle just as you take care of and preserve your own skin.
Most saddles come from the factory or saddle maker’s shop with the leather properly conditioned and ready to ride. Saddle makers usually include information on how to care for their saddles and it’s best to follow their instructions. If you’ve lost the care and cleaning information, or you bought your saddle used, chances are the manufacturer has a website where you can find either instructions or a phone number to call for information.
Most saddles are made from hand selected saddle skirting leather, chosen for its durability and extreme strength. However, any leather must receive regular care to preserve this strength and long life. At least four times each year your saddle should be completely cleaned with a good soap or detergent, then oiled thoroughly with a good neatsfoot oil. In wetter climates this should be followed more often, as continued moisture is very harmful to leather. With a program of reasonable care, your saddle should last for many years.
Here are the 7 SECRETS of Saddle Care offered by Circle Y Saddle Makers……
- Do not store saddle in plastic or other non-porous covers.
- Allow a wet or damp saddle to air-dry naturally away from any other source of heat. Apply a little Bick 4 leather conditioner when the saddle is nearly dry to restore flexibility. Condition thoroughly with Bick 4 when the saddle is completely dried.
- To prevent mildew, protect the saddle from excessive humidity. In a dry environment, regularly condition the leather to prevent the saddle from drying out and cracking.
- Do not use waxes, silicone or other leather preparations that impair the ability of the leather to "breathe".
- Dubbins and greases are bad as they seal the pores and are greasy, thus picking up additional dirt and dust and slowing drying time.
- Never use caustic household chemicals to clean leather. Avoid preparations that contain alcohol, turpentine, or mineral spirits. We recommend Bick 1 as it is pH balanced to be compatible with leather.
- Do not use mink oil or other animal fats. They will darken leather. Animal fat can also turn rancid, causing the stitching and leather to rot.
Do you have secrets or products used for caring for your saddles? Tell us about that and share your hoof care tips on our Easyboot Facebook page.
EasyCare Office Manager
As the office manager, I make sure the general operations of the organization run smoothly and seamlessly from A to Z. I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot and booted.