You found your dream home, had a custom horse barn built, acquired a horse you LOVE – Now….it’s time to ride!
Whether for sport or recreation, you don’t have to be a horse lover to know that horseback riding is an exhilarating experience anyone could enjoy. As you know, one of the most fundamental pieces of equipment for horse riding is the saddle.
Saddle maintenance doesn’t need to be another tiring chore in your long list of horse barn responsibilities. However, it is important to address a few things to ensure the safety of both you and your horse. Like cleaning the barn, a little routine maintenance will keep things in order.
I suggest cleaning your saddle on a monthly basis to prevent any damage that might come from long-term neglect. Relative to how much you’re actually using it of course. Saddles will last a long time if you keep them clean and oiled – equally, they will deteriorate in a hurry if you’re not taking proper care of it.
Straddle your saddle (say that 10 times fast) on a fence, or if the weather’s bad, something similar inside your horse barn. With a bucket of water and mild soap use a medium to soft brush and give it some scrubbing. Be sure you don’t scratch or tear anything.
If you can, it’s even better to take apart the saddle completely and scrub it thoroughly. This helps prevent mold or dirt from building up in those impossible to reach locations. Unattended to filth can create very unpleasant smells, and in worst case scenarios, make your horse sick. So don’t forget the nooks and crannies.
While the saddle is disassembled and you’re scrubbing the leather, soak the metal pieces for a few minutes – don’t soak the leather!
Once the saddle is clean, including the underside that touches the horse’s skin, apply a leather protectant to the leather and oil all the metal pieces. Spread the oil evenly so it doesn’t dry in drips and runs. Then dry off the saddle and metallic parts and reassemble.
When you’re done, be sure to pick up the cleaning area to keep your barn safe. I suggest dedicating a storage cupboard in your horse barn to keep all your saddle cleaning supplies.
Then saddle up and get a ride in – you know you want to!