Here at Prime Stables we love everything about leather saddles, the look, the smell, the feel. But we also know that, if you own a leather saddle for your horse, you will want to keep it in good condition for years to come. Taking good care of your saddle will not only increase the length of its life, but will also help retain its value. Below are some helpful tips on how you can care for your horse’s saddle.
It is not uncommon for sweat and dirt to build up on your saddle, especially if you tend to ride through rough muddy terrain. If you do not wipe down your saddle after every ride, the build-up of dust and dirt may lead to leather cracking and breaking. Therefore, it is important you wipe down your saddle with a damp cloth or sponge after each ride. If your saddle is extremely dirty, take the time to give it a good scrub with soapy water, rinsing off to finish. You will find that a shiny new saddle not only looks good but rides better as well.
Conditioner helps to keep the leather of your saddle pliable, preventing it from drying out and cracking. The best time to apply conditioner to your saddle is when it is dry. How often you should condition your saddle varies and will depend on the type of leather and riding conditions you are subjected to. However, your saddle should never feel limp, if it does it is likely you are over-conditioning it and weakening the fibres. If your saddle is often left in storage for long amounts of time, or over the winter season, rub a light coat of conditioner over it every now and then to keep the leather soft and avoid it stiffening and drying out.
Oiling helps to keep your saddle looking shiny and new. However, it is best done infrequently as over-oiled leather can stretch and become weak. A very light coat of oil two to three times a year is usually enough, unless you get absolutely soaked on a ride in which case a layer of oil should be applied as water tends to pull oil out of the leather.
It is best to keep your saddle on a saddle stand or rack whenever it isn’t on a horse. Do not store your saddle lying on its side, hanging on a rope, or standing on its fork as these positions, over time, can put the wrong kind of pressure on your saddle and cause it some damage. Saddle stands help to display the weight of the saddle evenly so that it is properly supported. Be sure that whenever your saddle is on its stand, it is covered so that it is protected from the dust and dirt in your stables.
Cool and Dry
Your saddle should always be kept in a cool and dry place to avoid any permanent damage to the leather. Unfortunately, temperature and humidity can play a big part in the weathering of your saddle over time, which is why it is worth protecting it from the elements. Humidity is particularly hard on leather. The best way to prolong the life of your saddle is to store your saddle inside the house during those days where the weather is particularly cold, wet or humid.
We hope you have found this article useful and that it has given you some helpful tips on how to care for your horse’s saddle. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Also, be sure to check out our shop for all the relevant horse products, accessories and tools.