Leather saddles are a huge investment. While they may cost a pretty penny upfront, they can last you years upon years when properly cared for. There’s more than just taking a rag to your saddle though. It needs to be properly cleaned, conditioned, and stored for longevity. These secrets are a great starting place!
You can find a detailed cleaning tutorial at ‘Clean Your Western Saddle Like A Pro‘.
Top Saddle Care Secrets
1. Be careful of the environment you store your saddle in. In dry places, you’ll need to regularly condition the leather. This will prevent it from cracking or drying out. Tack rooms with lots of humidity can cause mildew to form on your saddle.
2. Let your damp saddle air-dry. Don’t use artificial heat to quicken the process. Once the saddle is almost dry, apply a light layer of conditioner like Doc Tucker’s Leather Conditioner. Another layer should be applied once it’s completely dry.
3. Don’t store your saddle in anything plastic. You want your saddle to be able to breathe, so stick to porous materials.
4. Avoid the use of animal fats and harsh household cleaners. Animal fat can cause your stitching and leather to rot and alcohol products can be drying. Keep them away!
5. You should also avoid grease and wax. These products prevent the leather from breathing. They seal up the pores. Furthermore, your saddle it likely to collect dust when these items are used.
Caring for your saddle can be tricky! Your saddle’s manufacturer likely has instructions on how to care for the leather. They may even offer their own cleaning products.