Having a trusty leather saddle is a must when you are riding your horse. Imagine riding your horse without it – it will certainly be a bumpy ride. If you want to make your saddle last longer, you should learn how to maintain a leather saddle. Here are a few tips:
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Know when to clean your saddle. It is not a good idea to clean your saddle all the time. Only clean it as often as you use it. If you only use it occasionally, then you will also have to clean it occasionally as well. On the other hand, you will have to clean it often if you use it often. Be gentle in cleaning the leather so that you will not scratch it
How to clean
When cleaning your leather saddle, you will need a mild soap especially made for saddles, leather conditioner, a slightly damp towel or soft cloth, a soft sponge, optional wire or stiff brush for hard dirt, metal cleaner and cotton buds. Remove all the fittings and undo the buckles of the saddle. Use a slightly damp towel to wipe the saddle down to remove dirt. Gently brush off stubborn dirt like caked mud using a stiff brush. Use a damp sponge to make lather out of the saddle soap, and then proceed to apply the lather on the leather.
Use small circular strokes to clean the entire surface of the saddle, from top to bottom. Rinse and lather as often as necessary until it is clean and free of soap residue which can damage the leather. You can use damp cotton buds or a toothbrush to remove the residue in those hard to reach places. Then, wipe the saddle dry with dry soft cloth or towel. Air dry only to avoid stretching the leather. Finish by applying leather conditioner, but do so sparingly. You can use neatsfoot oil for this purpose. Use the metal cleaner on the metal parts of the leather saddle.
Avoid moisture on the saddle to keep it mold-free. Store in a well ventilated dry place when not in use. If you get the saddle wet, clean and dry it immediately using a soft cloth.
Be wary of early signs of cracking in the leather, the latigo, fenders and stirrup straps and girths. Replace parts when necessary.
Make sure the lining of your saddle is in good condition.
Use a saddle stand so that your saddle will retain its shape. If you do not have one, use a heavy chair covered in towels so as not to deform your saddle when placed on it.
Cover the saddle with a huge piece of cloth when not in use to avoid getting the saddle dirty.
As a rule, you have to know how to properly clean and store your leather saddles. As you can see, the ways on how to maintain a leather saddle is relatively easy. Follow the above tips consistently and you can extend the life of your leather saddle.