Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
If you are riding a LOT I recommend saddle soap. It will clean it, keep it clean and it softens the leather. Honestly, just like pruning fruit trees, people don't oil up their leather tack often enough. Just when you are depending upon it you'll find a piece cracked bc it is dried out.
Regarding Neatsfoot oil, I have heard that before, for almost 30 years. I don't use Neatsfoot oil all of the time bc it takes time to soak into the leather. The stuff that I bought 2 weeks ago was dry as a bone, so I used neatsfoot oil on it, then saddle soap, and then hung all of the leather up to dry. ALL of it is now supple. I will be riding with those reins and breastplate soon. Neatsfoot oil will make the leather stretch if it has soaked it up and you use it immediately. Once the piece has dried this will not happen.
There are many good leather conditioners on the market. The more you pay, the better the conditioner, but don't discount neatsfoot oil. If you ever pick up a very old piece of leather there are not a lot of products that can restore it, but Neatsfoot oil is one of them. It has always amazed my how old leather will soak it in after each pass and it looks as if you didn't even use it.