Your saddle is a big investment but even more important, the care of it can keep you and your horse more comfortable while also protecting your investment.
First and foremost, it needs to fit properly and should be checked by a certified SMS or N2 saddle fitter every 6 to 12 months at a minimum! Our fitters are trained to work on most brands of saddles so they can even check your non-N2 Saddle.
Care and Conditioning
New Saddle – Steps 1-3 below, (Effax 2 or more times per week for the first 3 weeks)
YOU DON’T NEED TO USE A CLEANER. Cleaners strip your leather of its natural oils and the dye at a much faster rate. We recommend you use Effax Lederbalsam with your saddle. This is a great conditioner that works wonders on both the buffalo leather and on smooth leather saddles. Please follow the instructions below:
- With a tack sponge, apply a generous amount and rub the Effax Lederbalsam all over the saddle. Apply it on the seat, top and bottom of the flaps and the skirt, knee pads/rolls, the panels (don’t forget underneath) and sweat flaps (if your saddle has them). DO NOT CONDITION THE BILLETS!!Take a medium bristle brush (we sell these and recommend you have one just for your leather goods and keep it in a “Ziploc” bag). Take the brush and “brush” the entire saddle that you just applied the Effax on. This get the Effax nice and even over the saddle, gets into the cracks and crevasses, and maintains the texture of the leather with time and use.
- After you have brushed your saddle, notice that now the bristles of the brush are covered in Effax. After each ride, use the brush to get the residue Effax onto the leather as well as get rid of any dust and dirt accumulated with your ride.
- How often? Use the seat and knee rolls as your gauge. If they lack tack or grip, they are dry. The seat and knee rolls (if they have the Makela/rough out/reverse leather) should stay tacky and grippy. Smooth means dry. Sometimes they need more conditioning than the flaps and skirts. Your climate determines how often. If it’s hot and you are sweating a lot in the saddle, do the seat more often. Over conditioning the leather is just as bad as under conditioning.
- Don’t forget the underpanel. When the saddle is new, it helps the flocking form to horse. Later on, it keeps the panel from getting dry and cracking from sweat and use. Keeping the panel soft enables the wool and panel to form with the shape of the horses’ back as it moves. If the panel is allowed to go hard, then the wool can get hard and thus reduces the panel to form with the horses’ back as it moves.
- The rough out leather on the seat will smooth out over time, but with proper conditioning will keep its grip.
Respect Your Tack
- NEVER mount your horse from the ground or pull on the rear of your saddle to mount your horse. This will waken or twist the tree of your saddle and also is PAINFUL TO THE HORSE! PLEASE USE A MOUNTING BLOCK!!
- NEVER ride in Denim jeans with inside leg seams and be sure your stirrup leathers are not rough or cracked (this is also a safety issue). This will wear away the surface of the leather.
- NEVER dry leather with heat or direct sunlight. Minimize the time the saddle is in the sun. Protect the leather.
- NEVER place your saddle on gate posts or fences, this will damage the gullet of your saddle.
- Be aware of how you store your saddle, ask your fitter if your saddle rack is appropriate.
Contact us or your local fitter if you have any questions, or need to purchase Effax Lederbalsam, or our special Haas Saddle Brush.