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Care Instructions for a Western Horse Saddle
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Care Instructions for a Western Horse Saddle

Western saddles are often chosen due to security and comfort for the rider and the horse. They are the saddle of choice on western movie sets as well as by rodeo riders and working cattle ranchers. A quality western horse saddle will provide years of dependable service, especially if care is taken to prolong the life and integrity of the saddle. To do so, consider following these helpful instructions recommended by most saddle companies for care of a leather western horse saddle.    

  • Wipe the saddle down after each ride with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt. Be careful not to saturate the leather with water. Pay careful attention to areas with excessive wear or loose stitching. 
  • Once a month, sparingly clean the saddle with leather cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A terry cloth rag and a lot of elbow grease is preferred to remove excessive dirt and mud. Never use an abrasive cleaner or scouring pad on leather saddles as either will permanently damage the finish.
  • Carefully read manufacturer’s directions for oiling and conditioning instructions. Leather western saddles made from Nubuck should never be oiled or conditioned. Nubuck saddles should only be washed, cleaned and buffed with a dry sponge.
  • Dry leather is prone to cracking. Most leather saddles will need to be conditioned regularly to prevent drying. Conditioning too often will result in damage to the saddle. The climate will also determine how often the saddle should be conditioned.
  • Apply conditioner in a thin coat to all of the leather portions of the saddle. If the conditioner is quickly absorbed into the leather, apply a second thin coat. If the leather does not absorb the conditioner, remove excess conditioner from leather by wiping with a clean cloth.
  • If the saddle is wool flocked, the wool will need to be replaced periodically. Follow the instructions of the saddle fitter for a replacement schedule. Generally, the wool should be checked every 6 to 12 months.
  • The saddle should be properly stored after each ride on a storage rack. The storage rack should be in a non-humid environment. Cover the leather saddle with a clean soft blanket to protect from dust and other damage.

*Photo courtesy of Saddle Up by Laura Bernhardt at Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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Leave a Comment

  1. TomCat
    Nice article.
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    1. Archippus
      Thanks for the vote TomCat!
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  2. immasweetiepie
    Great article!
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    1. Archippus
      Thanks Immasweetiepie!
      Log in to reply.
  3. DonnaJohnson1
    Good job.
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    1. Archippus
      Thanks Donna! Thanks for the encouragement and votes!
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  4. Randolp
    Good job.
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    1. Archippus
      Your encouragement and votes are appreciated Randolph!
      Log in to reply.
  5. MrsTomCat
    This is much that most people do not even consider.
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    1. Archippus
      It is important to take care of a your investment in a western saddle. A good saddle can last for years! Thanks!
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  6. BigCharlieN212
    I like this. Good and well written
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    1. Archippus
      Thanks Charlie! You've bought a few saddles over the years!
      Log in to reply.
  7. marccart
    What about oiling with olive oil?
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  8. Vennie4
    I have a billy cook saddle that I really like but I really wish the feeders were more flexible. Can you recommend a way to condition the feeders so they are softer on my horse's sides and make it easier to use leg cues. What kind of conditioner would you recommend.
    Log in to reply.
  9. Teresa Ray
    Good reminder , I take my saddle parts off to conditioned well
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