Maintaining your horse’s saddle is a top priority. Since saddles are usually made of leather, they require quite a bit of attention to make sure that they last and that you get you money’s worth out of them.
Cleaning your saddle on a monthly basis will help keep maintenance minimal and prevent the hefty job of undoing long term neglect. If you use your saddle on a more regular basis, you may need to tend to it more frequently. Saddles have a long lifespan in general, but if they are not cared for they can rot and deteriorate rapidly. It is also always important to use some sort of leather oil when caring for your saddle once you have cleaned it. This will help to preserve the leather. You can straddle your horse saddle over a fence to scrub it. You may use water and a mild soap to begin cleaning, but do not soak or saturate the leather too deeply. You can use a medium soft brush to scrub the leather, but be careful not to shred or tear it.
If you can dismantle the saddle to clean it, that would be ideal. Dirt and molds can build up in nooks and crannies. These can at the worst make you or your horse ill and at best cause quite a foul odor. It is always a good idea to do a thorough job of cleaning your horse’s saddle, rather than saving time by skipping the detail work. While you are scrubbing the main part of the saddle, soak the detached metal parts that are safe to soak. You will be finishing these later. Do not leave them soaking longer than it takes to clean the rest of the horse saddle. Do not soak any leather! Remember that the horse is in contact with the underside of the saddle, so do not forget to clean this part as well. You will also need to clean all straps and harnesses and any metal pieces that are connected to the saddle core. Be sure these are allowed to dry before the saddle is stored to prevent rusting.
After cleaning the saddle with soap and water, apply a leather protector to the leather of the saddle and oil all of its metallic parts. Spread the oil well over the entire saddle and do not allow it to dry in drips. This will permanently discolor the saddle. Once you have oiled your saddle and thoroughly dried off all of the leather and metallic parts, it is time to reassemble your saddle, Hopefully, you have kept careful track of all the parts that you detached. Do not leave any parts out when putting it back together or the saddle may fall apart or fail during use. It is essential to maintaining the lifespan of your saddle that you give it proper care and attention on a regular basis. Like maintaining your teeth or the the finish on a car, there are both aesthetic and functional purposes for good maintenance on a horse saddle. Rust and rot makes metal and leather brittle, mold and fungus can make you or your horse sick, etc. So take care of your horse and yourself by taking care of your horse saddle.
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