View Full Version : new saddle care

Mar. 26, 2011, 10:44 PM
We just bought a new saddle for my DD. What kind of wax based cleaner would you use for the first cleaning? When I bought mine the company took care of the initial cleaning and it has been great just using their conditioner and cleaner. I want her to be able to learn, she is 9, so she can take care of her own stuff....she is very excited about this...

Mar. 27, 2011, 07:22 AM
I have found over the years it is better to ride for a bit in it .
My typical plan is I lightly clean with Belvior and then Oil with warmed up Olive oil
in the beginning. Be extremely careful of how much you do to early with the butter saddles!!!! The leather gets so soft.

Mar. 27, 2011, 08:06 AM
it is a collegiate..she loves it and it puts her in a good position..it fits the pony well also..

Mar. 27, 2011, 09:26 AM
I've been doing lightly warmed hydrophane oil and castile or glycerine soap on mine. Very light coats of oil about once a week or so. You don't want to overoil it all at once, so it seems light coats are the best way to go.

Mar. 27, 2011, 09:33 AM
do you oil first or clean first? we want to darken it a bit too.....

Mar. 27, 2011, 07:58 PM
The leather should darken naturally with time & use :)

You can speed the process by using the darkening oils such as hydrophane or mink oil (many people are fond of warmed olive oil).

This thread (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=261610) has some very nice photos.

Some of the collegiates (& similarly priced saddles) have a finish on the leather especially the flaps, that defies any darkening attempts by nature or oil - these need to be stripped before you can alter the leather: there are some excellent threads in the archives on the pros & cons of stripping this finish.

General recommendation is to put ~ 10 - 20 rides on a saddle before conditioning/oiling - just wipe down with a damp cloth/sponge after every ride: this gives the natural oils in the leather a chance to distribute, you may see a white film rising to the surface as well (just wipe this off).
After this, use the cleaners/conditioners that suit you & your saddle - it's a good idea to look to the saddle manufacturer for directions initially (they know what finish is on the completed saddle & the type of curing & dye process used on the leather).

ETA over oiling or saturating of the leather will weaken the structure of the leather which is why very light, frequent conditioning/oiling with sufficient drying time, is recommended.
If you're picking up oil/conditioners on your breeches, you've used too much.

Mar. 27, 2011, 08:09 PM
i also am looking for a new saddle for my 9 yo dd. What size/ model did you get? How is the leather? soft?
We are ready to move up from a 14" collegiate that she really likes. They dont make this one anymore and not sure of the new ones.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 27, 2011, 08:42 PM
All parents want to buy "the best" when it comes to their kids, but I don't generally recommend brand new saddles for children, first because of the breaking-in factor (it's no fun at all for them), and second, because saddles, like the ponies they are use on, are not "keepers."

Like a new car, a new saddle will depreciate once it's used. However, a used saddle will most often retain it's value, and sometimes even appreciate--and it doesn't have to be broken in.

If you aren't picky about "needing" knee rolls, there are great deals out there on flat Crosby Prix de Nations saddles in all sizes, including kids; see the other thread on this topic, but it seems that around $200 is the going rate. To get little Pessoas or Beval Jr. models (I love the Beval Jrs!) will cost more, but either way you will most always get your money back if you purchase used.

As far as how to "dress" a new saddle, I normally use a lint free terry wash cloth and heated oil, working on one section of the saddle at a time, rubbing a bit to get through the wax coating on the new leather, but making sure to get even coverage/darkening on the whole piece. I will go over the entire saddle in this way a few times--not over oiling, but giving the leather as much as it seems to 'want.' Then, I go over it again with glycerine soap, and it's good to go. I make sure to be particularly careful to get enough oil on the billets, treating them more like "strapwork" as doing this will extend their life and make them safer to use--I don't want to start out using them "dry."

I do not think it makes much difference what kind of oil you use. Olive oil is VERY expensive, and not any better than any other kind of oil. Neatsfoot is just fine. So is hydrophane. Any of them are. For subsequent routine cleaning , I normally will not use water to clean a saddle--just Lexol or oil on glycerine.

Do be careful about allowing children to clean saddles--mine were prone to kill theirs with kindness. At one point as I was busy elsewhere in the barn, they diligently rubbed and rubbed with a wet sponge- not realizing that they weren't to use water-and rubbed right through a spot on the knee rolls on one of the Bevals :eek: whoops! That was a pricey repair! So do encourage the little ones to take responsibility for tack care seriously, but don't forget to check on them as they do it! :lol:I won't be forgetting that lesson, that's for sure.

Mar. 28, 2011, 07:17 AM
we were very lucky with her last saddle, the junior i am now selling, to find it used, we looked and looked but could not fund a decent one for her. hence, the new one. it works awesome for her! she is a big girl, almost as tall as me! and she is 9 and a bit thickly built, like her dad...
she rode in a show yeasterday, mind you it was only mini stirrup but she did awesome and she says it is all because of her saddle....
thanks for all the advice. i do not leave her to clean her own tack but i want her to learn how.and not expect me to do it every time. she is old enough now...
we got one of the convertibles, not sure which model i can look. it puts her in a really nice position and we got a really good deal on it because it was a model that they do not make any more..she also needs a 16.5 or 17 seat...she is not wafer thin but proportionate....

Mar. 29, 2011, 08:22 PM
I just bought a new saddle yesterday. The leather is soft but the billets are stiff as hell. What do you do for that?