How to care for an all leather saddle?
So, as my mother and her sister no longer ride (for various reasons) and I do (even though I do not currently own a horse that can be ridden), they thought I might like to have both of their custom made all leather saddles.
Now, I'm planning to keep these in good nic and store them whether or not I ever have a horse that can use them, but before I do this I'd like to know what people think is the best to clean them with?
They are 100% leather Syd Hill saddles that I have given a once over with a wet rag and dried them down, but they haven't been properly cleaned in some time so my question is:
What is the best 'stuff' to use on an all leather saddle to keep it good?
Best way to get rid of some of the tarnish of the metal D-rings?
Anything I should know about storing them? (Temp, how they're sat etc etc).
Thankyou for any advice!! :D
I'd recommend cleaning with any saddlesoap. Then use Passier Lederbalsam to treat the leather. You could probably get away with using Lexol.
I don't know about cleaning the brass.
If possible, store on a padded saddle stand inside a house. If not, sit them so they rest on the front part of the saddle.
I like to use Leather CPR, it conditions and cleans in one step. If it's super dirty I'll use a saddle soap and condition with the Leather CPR.
I use saddle soap following by Effex conditioner. To clean buckles and d-rings I used Weiman Silver Cream from my local WalMart (recommended to me here by smrobs) with success (you want to be careful though about it not getting on leather).
Always store a saddle as tho it is sitting on a horse underwise in time the leather develops a direction. Feibing's yellow paste soap will do a nice job and it has conditioners built right in. Mildew is leather's worst enemy as it weakens the fibers so don't store in a basement unless you hang them up near the ceiling. During periods of rain, run a small fan to blow on them and that will help prevent mildew from forming.
The best saddle care products will ALWAYS work on your leather. However, if you're not using it you probably won't remember to oil it. I have a few 100yo+ saddles in various conditions and others not so old. (I also live in a 100 yo house.) Basic oil soap, straight, will clean and oil leather and wood in a pinch especially if you don't have Lexol or other good stuff. ($3.00/liter) I have partially restored some of my wooden windows with just oil soap, poured on and wiped off. I also really like saddle soap.
If the saddles aren't really dried out you can take a hose and thoroughly rinse, then soap, rinse and towel dry, and then oil them.
I use saddle soap and Effex conditioner , too. :)
Be careful about getting your saddle super wet, because when it dries out the leather will be weaker. If it ever gets soaked from unexpected rain out on a ride then try to recondition it while it is still damp. :)
@B--I only do this on well conditioned saddles that I'm cleaning in the middle of the summer. The sun and breeze dry them off pretty quickly, and I have a reputation (at least at home, =b) for having supple leather tack. The dirt can get into the pores of leather tack and sometimes they just need to be rinsed off. Leather is surprisingly resilient. Can't tell you how many times I have used oil soap on my leather and when I wipe them with a white towel it turns black--and the leather isn't black!
Re: OP--do NOT use mink oil on your saddles or else you'll seal it any moisture and any dirt. Just FYI.
Saddle soap and leather conditioner. I'm not huge on the oils, but some people really like them. Neatsfoot rather than mink if you do.
Figure out what type of metal the dees etc are (silver, aluminum, etc) and then clean them with an appropriate metal cleaner. Then put saddle covers on them and keep them in a temperature controlled area to avoid mold.
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