Saddles can last for many years, especially with proper care and handling using a saddle care guide. There are many facets to caring for your saddle, particularly if it is made of genuine leather. Not only do you need to fully understand how to clean a saddle, but you also have to know how to treat the leather and how to properly store the saddle for long life. Before you begin caring for your saddle, take the time to find out what the saddle is made of so that you can follow the proper directions for care. There are many things that can destroy a saddle over time including salt from the sweat, dirt and even lack of moisture.
All saddles need to be cleaned on a regular basis, whether they are made of leather or synthetic. It’s a good idea to make sure that you are removing all of the dirt and sweat from the saddle to help keep it in good shape. You will want to select a product that is going to provide you with everything that you need to get the job done right the first time. A good saddle soap is vital to the protection and great cleaning of your saddle. Most of the higher-quality saddle soap is made of glycerine. Once you have chosen the right soap for cleaning your saddle, you need to prepare for the job at hand.
You want to use a saddle rack or something that will work to hold the saddle and to allow you to work on all sides of the saddle without having to turn it around. Start the process by using a damp sponge or cloth to gently remove dust from the saddle. This is a cleaning that can be done more frequently without the need for soap. Once every couple of weeks you will want to take a good clean to the saddle using the soap and your sponge. You will work the soap in a circular motion over the saddle. This should take care of the main parts of the saddle.
As you start to work over any basket weave or other intricate detail on the saddle, you will want to use a soft bristle toothbrush to get into the areas and ensure that they are getting fully cleaned. You can then use a damp towel to remove the soap from the saddle. A light drying of the saddle using a soft, clean dust-free cloth will provide you with a beautiful finished product.
Conditioning your saddle, especially leather saddles, is an important part of extending the life and look of the saddle. You can purchase any number of products to help you keep the saddle looking great. The major factor in a healthy-looking leather saddle is making sure that you infuse moisture into the saddle. This will give you a lush dark look that will stay with the saddle and allow it to be more pliable for years to come. This will reduce the likelihood that pieces of the saddle might chip or peel off and it will provide you with a saddle that looks like new. One of the most tried and true products for this purpose is pure neatsfoot oil, which is made from the hooves of cattle. This is used as an oiling product to help bring out the lustre of the saddle and to provide you with a more natural moisturiser. You may also want to consider a leather cream conditioner to help you with more regular use and will give you excellent results.
Storing your saddle properly is vital for a long-lasting saddle that will look great. You need to be sure that you store your saddle on a saddle rack in order to keep the shape. It is going to help your saddle to stay the way you want it to when putting it on a horse. Everyday storage should be done in a location that doesn’t have a great deal of dampness. You may want to throw a horse blanket or other type of cover over the saddle during regular storage.
If you plan to store the saddle for a long period of time, you will want to make sure it is still on a saddle stand or rack. You will want to remove brindle, reins or martingales that are long from hooks so that they are straight. Make sure that the saddle is wrapped with paper if you plan to leave it for a long time. You might also want to remove any metal pieces and put them in plastic for storage.
This will protect them and it will also protect the rest of the saddle from damage that the metal can cause if it becomes oxidized over time.
Saddles are an expensive investment and you want to make sure that it will last a good long time. This is best accomplished by hiring a professional to get the job done for you when there is a problem with the saddle. Repairing the leather itself can be a difficult job and the professional will need to determine exactly what the problem is in order to fix it. They will look at the stitching on the saddle as well as where the saddle is attached to the various pieces. Some of the repairs that might need to be made would include replacing screws, rusty buckles, and rings. They might also replace dee rings, horn and seat, stirrups and the pommel. It is important that you check your saddle over regularly, especially if it is coming out of storage before you ride. Faulty equipment can be extremely dangerous if it goes without repair.