Having a clean saddle means having a safe saddle, so although it is tempting to put off this rather time-consuming chore, it is important to protect your saddle against mold and other damaging conditions that can build up over time.? These problems can cause your saddle to deteriorate and wear in ways that will make it unsafe for riding.? Although a saddle should be wiped clean of sweat and mud after every use, a thorough cleaning can be done once or twice per year, depending on how often you use it and in what conditions you ride.? Follow these simple steps to make for an easy but thorough process.
- Take your saddle apart, to the best of your ability.? Remove metal fittings, straps, and buckles.? It is easier to clean these pieces separately than when they are attached, and this will also allow you to thoroughly clean underneath.
- Use a mild saddle soap made of glycerine to clean the leather.? Rub a damp cloth into the soap to create lather, and then apply to the saddle using small circular motions.? Do not use saddle soap on any suede or rough leather areas.
- Once the saddle has been thoroughly lathered, use a damp cloth to remove the soap.? Use a cotton swap to get the soap out of all cracks, crevices, and stitching.? Soap that is left behind will not only dull your saddle but will also trap dirt that will erode the leather.
- Use a dry towel over the saddle before applying leather conditioner.
- To condition your saddle, use a product such as neatsfoot oil or beeswax.? Don?t apply too much oil, as this can further damage your saddle.? Use a dry rag to lightly spread the oil over the saddle.
- Now is the time to work on all the fittings that you removed from the saddle, including stirrups.? If you have metal fittings, try using a metal cleaner to help them shine.
- Once the saddle and pieces have dried, you can then put it all back together.? Since it is often the sweatiest part of your horse?s saddle, don?t forget to wash his girth strap.