angle-left Soap Your Saddle

Soap Your Saddle

A horseback riding must: Get your tack in tip-top shape.
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Rainy days present the perfect opportunity to clean your saddle. You'll need saddle soap, neatsfoot oil, several rags and sponges, and lots of elbow grease. Because it's a messy chore, it's best to put down a sheet of plastic and get to work in the garage or barn aisle.

Here are a few tips:

  • Remove all saddle parts: latigo, cinch, back cinch, stirrups, conchos and other silver pieces
  • Scrub the entire saddle - all but the sheepskin on the flipside - under the fenders and in all the nooks and crannies with saddle soap.
  • Remove stains from leather with cleaning fluids (or cleaning fluid mixed with cornstarch for stubborn stains).
  • Rinse
  • Use neatsfoot oil to condition the leather. Do not over-oil the saddle because this will soften it too much.
  • When the oil is dry, buff the leather with a soft cloth.
  • Use sandpaper to raise the nap of roughouts.
  • Straighten out the kinks in saddle strings by pulling them through a leather conditioner-treated cloth held between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Use a circular motion to brush suede or roughout seats with a wire, bristle or rubber brush.

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More Tack Tips

  • Use toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean grime off bits.
  • Hang your bridles from old saddle soap tins nailed to the tack room wall to help them keep their rounded shape.
  • Use the dish-washing tool with the sponge at the end of a hollow tube to clean tack. Fill it with liquid saddle soap instead of dish soap.
  • Use a chamois to rub down your horse after a bath.

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