Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Love of Leather

Instead of going out to ride in the apparently imminent but missed us by a mile thunderstorm, I took my tack home and cleaned it.  Now, from some of my previous posts some of you have guessed that I am, as they say, a tack-aholic.  It is true, I love tack, in all shapes and sizes.  I have western tack, english tack, I own more saddles than horses, and I absolutely adore bridles.  But most of all, I love my old as the hills Stubben Siegfried.  I bought it used a couple years ago, and it has been my favourite saddle ever since. 

Now, with this huge love of my saddle, it must be taken care of properly.  Since I am a tack-aholic, all of it must be extremely well cared for.  I currently have way too many leather cleaners, conditioners, oils, brushes, sponges, and rags for the amount of leather I own.  Each piece of tack has their own specific cleaning regime that is followed everytime they're cleaned.  It's one thing that I really enjoy doing and would do for free if someone wanted their tack cleaned, particularly if it's old tack.  Bringing my old stubben back to life was a lot of hard work (who in their right mind applies oil to suede?!?!) and a great pay-off.  Even tonight when I was cleaning it and the new Harry Dabbs (that bridges so badly... but that's another post) you could easily distinguish the superior leather used to make the stubben even though it was double (or triple!) the age of the HD. 

There is nothing like quality leather to make a girl swoon, especially after a very thorough cleaning!

For a thorough cleaning of my saddle, this is how it goes:
1) apply stubben soap with damp sponge using small circles all over saddle, giving special care to the seat and area where stirrup leathers rub.
2) let dry
3) polish with kiwi cloth
4) apply balsam with old t-shirt cloth in small circles. A little goes a long way, get that elbow grease going!
5) let dry
6) quick second polish with kiwi cloth

Now this isn't an every-day occurrence, more once a month or once every 6 weeks, depending on where I was riding (indoor vs outdoor) and the weather (got caught in rain). 

Does anyone else use so many products for their leather cleaning?  Please tell me I'm not the only one!


  1. I'm going to have to try this regime with the saddle I currently use. It's an oldie, and it has a lot of wear from years of neglect and being ridden in with jeans (I am guilty of this!). In fact, the jeans have made quite the mark down the seat that I don't think I'll ever be able to mend, but I might be able to make it a little less noticeable.

    My mare's 4 now and I've decided not to splurge on a saddle until she's 6 or so, and hopefully fairly grown (with my wallet a little more grown too).

  2. My confession...my awesome horse husband cleans my tack. I don't have the patience for it :)