Many older horse books state we should clean our saddles every time we use them. However, that may not be practical. How often you clean your saddle may depend on how it is used. If you only use your saddles on weekends for leisurely pleasure rides, you might not need to clean your saddle as frequently as someone who participates in a sport where the saddle is exposed to sweat, mud and dirt regularly.
Often, a quick wipe with a soft, damp cloth is all a saddle needs. But, it makes sense to clean them well before storing, before a competition, or before selling one. (And if your stored saddle has sprouted mold, don’t worry. Just follow the steps below.)
Gather all your cleaning equipment. You’ll need:
- Mild saddle soap (glycerin)
- Non-detergent leather conditioner
- Small sponge
- Towels (3 to 4)
- Small bucket or bowl of water (not hot)
- Stiff bristle or fine wire brush (optional)
- Cotton swabs and/or toothbrush
- Metal cleaner
You may also want a saddle stand, saw horse, or two chairs placed back-to-back to put your saddle on while you work.