Our saddle experts know how to clean nearly every type of saddle. This is the method they use to take a dirty, dull, dry saddle into a clean, soft ride. Taking proper care of your leather tack is essential to its life and durability. Most saddles and equipment are regularly exposed to moisture and the rigors of the environment, and if not properly treated, your leather tack will begin to become brittle and lose its strength.
The saddle cleaning instructions seen in this video can be printed in a condensed format here
Thanks to our used saddle consignment program, our saddle experts know how to clean nearly every type of saddle. This is the method they use to take a dirty, dull, dry saddle into a clean, soft ride. Taking proper care of your leather tack is essential to its life and durability. Most saddles and equipment are regularly exposed to moisture and the rigors of the environment, and if not properly treated, your leather tack will begin to become brittle and lose its strength.
Step 1: Gather all your cleaning supplies together
Farnam Leather New
This is a leather cleaner that is self-polishing, which means you won't have to scrub to get the dirt out of the leather.
Lexol Neatsfoot Formula
This product is for oiling your saddle. To keep leather moisturized and soft, it needs to be maintained. We like this formula of Neatsfoot because it doesn't darken light leather like ordinary Neatsfoot. This product does not leave the leather with a greasy, oily feel; it imparts a warm, smooth, satin finish to the leather.
You will need a medium size head brush and a small toothbrush-type brush to get in the small areas like under the cantle and around the conchos and strap holders. Also if you have suede or roughout leather you will need a stiff headed brush to clean these materials with.
You will need a cotton rag to rub off the foam when done scrubbing the leather and a fleece type material to apply your oil with.
If you have silver, you will need Hagerty Silversmith's spray polish and another cotton rag.
Step 2: Start cleaning
When you start cleaning with your leather cleaner, do smaller sections at a time. Don't try to clean the whole saddle and then wipe it all off. Our saddle experts like to start with the jockey, then move to the leather under the cantle if it is a double layered skirt. Then we do the top layer and move to the bottom and so on. Be sure to clean under the jockey and top layer of the skirt.
Take the stirrup off the fender and clean all the leather straps with just the cleaning rag that has the excess cleaner on it, unless you want to give it a very thorough cleaning. This leather normally just gets dirty after the first ride by either the sweat off the horse or the dirt from your boots. Lastly, we go ahead and give the stirrup a good once-over cleaning just to keep it nice looking.
You will want to spray enough cleaner on the leather to make a nice lather when using your medium headed brush. If your leather is really dirty you may need to do this a couple times in the same spot. Keep doing this until the foam is fairly white in color. That means you have most of the dirt out of the grooves and time to move on to another spot. Keep doing this until the entire saddle has been cleaned.
Step 3: Polish the silver
Now it's time to do the silver. It's a good idea to spray the silver cleaner on the rag and then wipe the rag over the silver. This prevents overspray that could discolor the leather.
Step 4: Oil the leather
Once all the silver is done, it's time to oil your saddle. Spray the oil onto the leather that has bigger areas to oil and work it into the leather with the fleece rag. For the smaller areas, spray the oil onto the rag or toothbrush and then work it into the leather until you've covered the entire saddle. DO NOT oil suede or roughout leather. This will discolor.
For suede or roughout leather, using a stiff brush, gently brush the dirt from the suede or roughout leather. Don't rub too long in one spot, or you'll rub off the suede or roughout leather, leaving a bare spot. If you have a really tough spot, you could try rubbing dry cornstarch on it and then brush the cornstarch away. Use it sparingly or you'll have to work to get rid of the cornstarch.