Your saddle’s use will likely determine how frequently you should clean it. If you only use your saddles on the weekends for leisurely pleasure rides, you may not need to clean them as frequently as someone who regularly engages in a sport that exposes the saddle to sweat, mud, and filth, such as long riding or cross-country jumping. Here are some ways to clean a leather horse saddle.
- Saddle Rack
- Saddle Soap
- Cotton Swabs
- Saddle Soap
- Leather Conditioner
- Metal Cleaner
Place Saddle On A Saddle Rack
Remove all accessories from the saddle, including the girth and stirrups, and undo any buckles. You can more readily access the crevices where dirt collects if all the fittings are removed. Put your saddle on a stable fixture or saddle rack so it may rest comfortably without dropping. To get rid of any mud or grime that has come loose, wipe the saddle with a wet sponge or paper towel. You can begin deep cleaning once the loose mud and debris have been removed.
Clean With Saddle Soap
In the water, wet the sponge. You want it to be somewhat damp but not drenched. Make a lather with the saddle soap by dipping it in it. Avoid covering the entire saddle with saddle soap and hope to thoroughly wipe it off before it dries. Work with the sponge in small circles, rinse it often, and re-lather it. Starting with the top layer, work your way down. Avoid touching any suede components with the saddle soap, but if your saddle has a leather surface there, make sure you get behind the saddle flaps. Give the stirrup leathers some extra attention as well.
Clean The Leather
To the leather, apply the lather. Work in small circles, covering the saddle’s top, bottom, and areas in between flaps. Rewash and re-lather the sponge frequently. Avoid washing suede or other leather surfaces like seats or knee rolls with soap or water. Use a hard brush to rough up these, just enough to get the dirt off. Avoid wearing through these softer leathers.
Continue the soaping only a few times without overwetting the leather in spots in which the jockey is piled up thicker, blacker coating of dirt that frequently accumulates beneath the stirrup leathers. Pay close attention to any areas of leather where sweat has permeated it.
Wipe The Saddle Clean
To ensure that all soap residue is removed from the leather, wipe it with a damp towel first, then wipe it again with a dry one, taking care to thoroughly clean all the crevices. To eliminate any grime, a toothbrush works wonders. After cleaning, you might also try using some cotton swabs to get the soap out of the folds.
Condition The Leather
The leather should be treated with a non-detergent leather conditioner, such as neatsfoot oil, lanolin, or beeswax. Make sure you’re using genuine neatsfoot oil and not a synthetic substitute. It will state something like “animal-based” or “100% Pure” on the carton. The leather of the saddle will remain soft and last longer using any leather conditioner. Apply very little oil on the saddle with a dry cloth, just enough to make the leather darker. If there is too much oil present, it could penetrate the leather and harm the underlying cushioning.
Clean Metal Parts
Remove any leftover soap or conditioner that may have amassed on all metal fittings, such as stirrups and buckles, by wiping them down. To remove any small areas where soap or conditioner is caked, use an old toothbrush or cotton swabs.
Put Suade On The Leather
On rare occasions, you might want to enhance the appearance of knee rolls, suede, or fabric seats. Brush up the nap with a brush with stiff bristles. Use this very rarely. If you brush the suede too much, holes will eventually appear.
Air Dry Your Saddle
Ensure that you let your leather saddle and any other leather tack you cleaned air dry to finish the procedure. As long as you do it in an area with little to no airborne dust, a fan can assist speed up the drying process.
Final Thoughts On How To Clean A Leather Horse Saddle
You may wish to clean your saddle if you leave it exposed in a dusty stable or if you ride in a dusty arena to prevent grit from damaging the finish and drying out the leather. Usage a breathable saddle cover and clean it off with a dry cloth after each use to safeguard your saddle. Your equestrian lifestyle also includes taking care of your riding equipment.