Proper care of your saddle and leather accessories
It is important to keep your saddle clean so that it doesn’t irritate your horse’s hide. Ideally, saddlery should be cleaned after each use. At the very least, it should be given a quick wipe, cleaning thoroughly once a week by:
- Using saddle soap to rid the leather of accumulated sweat and grime
- Rinsing off any soap product completely
- Applying moisture/conditioner
Highly recommended is a leather balsam conditioner which can effectively be used on all leather items you may have. Read the article by Jochen Schleese on “Choosing a Conditioner for Your Leather Tack” published in The Hoofbeat in January 2014.
When using oil
- Use leather oil as a one-time application over the entire saddle or other tack to darken the original color
- Only use it on the panel thereafter as a lubricant, since the wool will soak up any excess. When you use it on the seat, it will soak through and onto the laminated and glued layers of the tree, possibly resulting in the eventual breakage of the tree (especially if you have an English spring tree). Even with saddles built on other trees, it is not recommended to apply oil more often.
- Don’t use oil used anywhere the leather comes into contact with your person (breeches, gloves) as it tends to discolour these materials
- Don’t use too much oil on the flaps as it makes the leather too flexible
- Make sure you use products that are meant for leather (don’t use baby oil or olive oil)
Storing your saddle
To store your saddle or tack over a longer period of time, keep at room temperature, but never cooler than 5 degrees Celsius (about 35°F), and at a humidity of 30-40% to retain the suppleness of the leather. If it appears mildewy when you take it out, give it a good wash and a leather conditioner will soon restore the original looks.
Girth Care and Conditioning
- Rinse off the sweat and if in very hot climates, if the girth is soaked with sweat, you can use a hose liberally or dunk it in a bucket. If there is only a little sweat, you may simply take a wet rag and wipe it off.
- Condition it with oil (Neatsfoot is recommended) (Passier cream appears to irritate the skin in the ‘girthing’ area of some horses). Avoid using Hydrophane oil. Remove all of the sweat and dirt before you apply oil. If you only wash your girth but do not follow up with conditioning it with oil, you will run the risk of your girth drying out and cracking.
(Our current tack tags, attached to all new items, indicate that we have recommended Passier Cream – this is true for all other tack with the exception of our girths. New tags for the girths will be coming soon and will also explain the aforementioned procedure)
Italian Calfskin Care and Conditioning
Please condition all saddles made of Italian Calfskin, (such as our Jeté and the upgraded Merci) with Passier Cream only. If you insist on using oil, only Neatsfoot is recommended (no hydrophane!)