After quite an ordeal, I finally acquired a saddle that fits my horse and naturally I try to take very good care of it. When I first got it I did some research on leather care but there are so many differing opinions out there that it was very hard to form a conclusion. Information about leather care is surprisingly hard to come by for some reason. There doesn’t seem to be any straightforward, ‘right’ way to do it.
For a while now I've been using neat's foot oil (not the compound; pure neat's foot oil) because I read in a saddle fitting book that animal fats are best for leather. It made sense to me and I’m trying to play it safe.
However, I have been reading lately that glycerin is very good for leather too because it seals the oil in and makes it somewhat water resistant. I understand that you're supposed to use glycerin saddle soap and that the soap is very important for removing damaging dirt from the pores of the leather. I also understand that it's vital to wash all of the soap away after you use it because it's acidic and will ultimately damage the leather if you leave it on. I have some glycerin saddle soap (Leather New) that I have tried several times on my boots; all it does is burn my fingers (which makes me wonder why I'm putting it on the leather) and, after being washed off with water, leaves the leather stiff.
I was wondering if anyone has tried using plain glycerin? I thought that maybe if I was careful to apply it very sparingly it would have all of the benefits with none of the problems I've been having with saddle soap. I could just scrub more thoroughly to remove dirt. If it worked, I might not have to oil the somewhat cheap and very thirsty leather on my saddle so often. I could always try it on my trusty paddock boots first ;)
So, any input? I've really just pieced this together from what little I can glean from the internet, my saddle fitting book, and my own experimentation. I'm hoping that if someone has already tried this and had it go terribly wrong, I could at least know to avoid it. I really don’t have many horsey friends to ask, so I thought I’d see what the horse forum had to say.
Also, I know that we love our pictures on this forum so here's a bad one of my saddle just for fun.