After reading a George Morris rider critique and knowing how he feels about new saddles, in one article he mentioned a saddle being broken in by having it rained on. Anyone purposely leave theirs out or wet it down.
I have a saddle I got a number of years ago, then the riding slowed down. I rode in it a fair bit though. I have oiled the snot out of it, or so it feels like. It is still fairly stiff and new looking. It is wool flocked. Would anyone wet it down with a hose? A ton more oil?
\"I never play horseshoes \'cause Mother taught us not to throw our clothes around,\" ~ Mr. Ed
I could never imagine spraying my saddle with a hose or purposely leaving it out in the rain, however I would also never wear my tall boots to soak in the bathtub so maybe those that are more willing to do that will have advise for you. Never had a saddle stay so stiff.
My trainer swore that a new saddle of his broke in perfectly after the first ride because it was pouring rain. He tried to convince me to hose down my horse in my last new saddle. I'd never had such a nice saddle and absolutely refused. All of my saddles have broken in just fine the regular way (riding, oil, rolling flaps), but said trainer apparently breaks in all of his new saddles by soaking them now, and his are all in beautiful condition.
So, yes, I've heard of it used successfully by people I know well, just never did it myself.
I think the Antares buffalo just soaks up a bit more oil than you think it should. It's pretty thick, sturdy leather. Just oil generously and very gently bend it. And ride in it. Someone in the barn got one recently and it does take longer than calf and just looks a bit dry and stiff. I kept suggesting more oil and it finally started to feel softer and stopped looking thirsty. The flaps really drank the oil, especially on the underside.
I wouldn't be experimenting with rain when you can accomplish more safely with oil!!!
I have been stuck out in downpours at horseshows in all of my saddles many times over the years. You know it's wet when the only dry spot anywhere is under the saddle. You know it's really wet when there is no dry spot...not even under the saddle
I also ride in the rain frequently at home. If it's raining hard enough to soak my saddle I usually opt out (because *I* don't want to melt, not because of my tack). But I frequently pull a pretty wet saddle off of the horses at the end of a ride.
None of my saddles are worse for the wear. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to intentionally leave one in the rain, but having had saddles soaked through the wool I can say that it's not the end of the world. No saddle should fall apart when wet. I would be an unhappy camper and on the phone with the manufacturer if I had a seat split because of it.
George means for the saddle to be ridden in, in the rain. He most definitely does not mean for you to just ask a saddle. That does no good at all! But riding in it as it gets wet (and as it dries) will help to mold the saddle to your leg position and seat.
One word of warning, if you are still working on your leg position you may want a very experienced, sold rider to break it in. Otherwise it can break in with the leg slipped back and that can be very hard to overcome.
Make sure the oil is a little warm and... massage it in with your hands. It looks like you are having too good of a time with your saddle, but really working in the oil with your hands gets so much more absorbed than a traditional application. Using your hands to get the oil in also makes the rolling of the leather a bit more natural and gives you a better feel. And, your hands will be super moisturized!