Re: Saddle Protection?
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 16:02:47 -0500 (EST)

I ride in a $2000. Syd Hill Australian saddle. As far as I'm concerned, good
equipment is built to take it, and you can't discount quality. I want a 30
year saddle I can pass on to my GRANDchildren, if need be!
I live in Northwest Washington state. It has to take being thrown into the
back of pickups, on the ground, cross rivers, water, snow, mud and sun. I
ride mountains, and on the other side of the state, desert and sage. We go to
the beach, on the coast and get sand and salt.
My saddle gets a cover on it in transit. I saddlesoap the sweats and salts
out anytime it needs cleaning, or I feel the leather is loosing suppleness,
then 2 x a year it gets oiled and waxed on a warm day in the sun. Once in the
springtime and once in the fall. I'll use a hair dryer if I have to work
indoors, to open the pores, and blower-dry the oil into it. I use a piece of
sheepskin for oil, and my bare hand to spread it, so I don't get too much
into the leather, and make it oily, or I'll pour a small amount into a dish,
and paintbrush it on. It will soak in and take another light coat. Leather
should feel soft and supple, like a fine piece of old cloth, yet tough as
The top dressing of wax and buffing seals it . I don't believe in the
one-step processes for a thorough job, but like them for touch-ups
in-between. LeatherNew, and Horseman's Onestep are good. Oils include
Leathaphane, or Fiebings.! I avoid neatsfoot oil, which is said to rot
stitches, and (heaven forbid MICE are attracted to) I keep my saddle
indoors, in a heated tackroom, and there better NOT be mice!
I've used my saddle 10 years, crossed the state 8 times, and camped in
Mt.St.Hellens ash, which still covers the state, and it just keeps looking
better. This, in spite of hard-working abuse. It's been stepped on and
creased by my horse that knocked it off the pole, scratched by blackberry
thorns, rubbed inside the trailer I loaded her into with saddle on, and
scaped under a tree branch, I was leading under. You can not tell where these
marks are unless you know where to look, because good leather just comes
back. I still load into the trailer with saddle for short hops, but cover
the saddle, and put up the stirrups. I don't want to have to baby-sit a new
saddle just because I paid a lot for it. I'll take care of it, but I paid a
lot for it in order to have carefree use. Judy Worley