Spring cleaning is just beginning around the barn. Don’t forget to give your western saddle some extra love. Maybe the colder weather has kept you from riding or perhaps you’ve just neglected your saddle for way too long, go ahead and get it out and shine it up! Follow these steps to have your saddle looking like new.
- Gather your supplies. This should include a dry cloth, a soft sponge, saddle soap, and leather conditioner. I like Fiebing’s Liquid Glycerine Soap and Fiebing’s 100% Pure Neatsfoot Oil, but there are many options on the market.
- Place your western saddle on a saddle stand and remove any attachments like breast collars or cinches.
- Use a cloth to wipe off any dirt or dust.
- Start on one side and spray the saddle with the saddle soap. Make sure to get in cracks and under flaps! You may want to spray more in spots that are extra dirty or come in contact with the horse.
- Use the sponge to work in the soap by going in circler motions. Keep the sponge damp and wipe off extra soap that isn’t worked in. Do not use too much water.
- Clean both sides of the saddle and allow it to sit out to dry before applying conditioner.
- Once the saddle is clean and dry, apply a light, even layer of Neatsfoot Oil with a soft cloth. You should only apply oil once or twice a year and never to rawhind materials.
- Let the saddle sit for about an hour. It is now safe to wipe off excess oil from the saddle with a dry cloth.
- Keep your saddle covered in-between usage. After each ride, use a damp sponge to remove any visible grim, dirt, or sweat.
Tip: Use special rawhind cleaner, such as Vaquero Rawhide Cream, where necessary.
Cleaning your saddle should be part of your regular barn chores. It will help it to withstand years of riding and keep it looking great. These tips are simple and can be used by even a beginner. Take the time for your saddle and it’ll last you longer!