I have been cleaning my tack, unsupervised, for decades. I’ve also been on quite a few professional yards and seen them cleaning their tack. Yet I learnt something new and a bit shocking a week ago, when I followed a link to THIS video.
Of course, it makes perfect sense. The horse’s SWEAT is the biggest threat to your saddle, potentially damaging the leather and rotting the stitching, and that is only on the underside of the saddle! This part needs rinsing and then soaping a LOT more than the top, which we all see, sit on, and therefore concentrate on!
Since watching the video I have totally changed my way of cleaning carrying my tack after riding (I don’t put a sweaty girth over my saddle!) I rinse my girths and my saddle thoroughly, and have flipped the top of my saddle stand over so that it cradles the saddle safely. I line it with towels (visible in the photo) so the saddle doesn’t get scuffed.
The top of the saddle can easily be soaped when it is on the end saddle rack on the wall. It takes no longer than before, but now I’m sure I’m treating the vital underneath of the saddle correctly too. My current favourite is the fabulous Horseman’s One Step. It is a really great product, so easy and quick to use and does a fantastic job, it revitalises leather without making it feel greasy (as my previous favourite Effax was prone to do) perfect!