I often get asked, when I’ve sold a leather saddle, how best to clean and care for it. My advice is to remove any dirt, grease or grime with a slightly damp cloth. Then apply a good quality leather balm, grease or cream. (Some manufacturers advise against using glycerine saddle soap, either bar or spray-on, as this can dry out the leather over time.) Once the dressing has penetrated the leather, keep your saddle with its cover on in a dry room, that is gently heated through the winter. Keeping it in a cover will prevent the saddle from losing the colour. If you have purchased a brand new saddle, you may wish to oil the girth straps sparingly once or twice , but do not oil the seat, panel or flaps.
In an ideal world our tack should be cleaned every time it is used – but this is not always practical! Try and clean it once a week if you have ridden in it it every day, and certainly each time it gets wet or muddy.
If your saddle has become wet (eg after hunting), take off the girth, leathers and buckle guards and remove any mud and sweat. Allow everything to dry slowly (do not apply direct heat) before applying your leather dressing. If you allow your saddle to dry out completely it will become stiff and you may then need to use oil to soften it. However overuse of oil can rot stitching and clog the pores of the leather.
Please beware of using the metal saddle stands that screw into the wall to sit your saddle on. The metal bars can cause grooves in the flocked panels, particularly if your saddle is weighed down with heavy stirrup irons and a heavy girth over it! If you have these stands, put generous padding over the bars. The best saddle stands are poles that sit in the gulley of the saddle and do not affect the panels.