While cleaning and taking care of your saddle, you should keep in mind that over-conditioning and over-cleaning can cause irreparable damage to the saddle.
A good saddle can make horse riding a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience. But just buying a good saddle is not all that is required. You have to take care of the saddle for it to last you long, and not become uncomfortable or hard. Taking care of the saddle includes regular cleaning, which is very important, not only to maintain its beauty and shine, but also ensure it is safe for riding. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the use; the more the use, the more the maintenance. Even if the saddle is not in use, it should be cleaned and conditioned at least 2 -3 times a year.
Cleaning a Horse Saddle
It is important to clean the saddle not only before a competition but even before storing it. For beginners, this job may seem difficult, but by following a few simple steps, they can get a clean and shining saddle. Most saddles are made from leather, though a few are made from synthetic material. If your saddle is 100% synthetic, then just take a hose and clean it water. But if you have a leather saddle, then the following steps will help you in the cleaning process.
- Warm water
- Saddle soap
- Two clean sponges
- Leather conditioner
- Old toothbrush
- Remove the saddle from the horse, and place it on a sawhorse, saddle rack, or something that can hold the saddle while you are cleaning it.
- Soak one of the sponges in warm water, and wring out the excess water. Now, wipe the saddle and tack to remove the dirt and dust. This opens the pores and prepares the leather for further cleaning.
- Rub the sponge onto the saddle soap till you see some lather. Gently rub all the parts, both inside and out, with the soapy sponge.
- Use a brush to remove stubborn and hard-pressed dirt from the saddle.
- Take the other clean sponge, and soak it in warm water. Wring it, and wipe off the soap from the saddle. Make sure no soap residue is left.
- Now, using a towel, apply a light layer of leather conditioner on the saddle. Avoid using petroleum-based conditioners as they tend to dry the leather.
- Clean the non-leather parts with the help of a damp cloth.
Cleaning a saddle is easy, and if you keep a few tips in mind, then it can give you better results. Following are some of the tips you should keep in mind while cleaning a horse saddle.
- Apply the leather conditioner when the leather is still damp. This will help the leather to absorb it better.
- In place of leather conditioner, you can also use olive oil.
- Wax-based products are suitable for your saddle.
- If there is mold growth on the leather, then brush it with a vinegar and water solution. Vinegar will change the pH levels, which will kill the mold.
- When the oil or conditioner dries, buff off the excess product from the leather.
Benefits of Cleaning the Saddle
Cleaning and conditioning the saddle can give you numerous benefits. Following are some of them.
- It increases the life of the saddle.
- It keeps the leather supple and soft.
- Clean and soft leather is comfortable for both, the rider and horse.
- It prevents rubs and sores on the horse caused due to the stiff leather.
- It gives an impressive and shiny appearance.
When your saddle is on the stand, cover it with a breathable material, so as to protect it from dirt and dust. Store it in a cool and dry place. Regularly check if the saddle still fits your horse, as an improper saddle can harm your horse's skin. Clean other horse equipment as well to get rid of sweat and dirt.