Saddle Leather Care

Leather Care

The life of your saddle depends on the care you give it. Take care of your investment with these leather care tips.

Every new Circle Y saddle has been oiled and then lacquered with our own water-based protective finish, which means you don’t need to oil it for about six months. If you’re riding a lot in dry or variable weather conditions, you should oil it sooner. If your saddle is a light color, use a leather conditioner product that is specifically designed for light leather so it will not darken the leather. Helpful tip for show or light colored saddles: oil the back of the leather, not the top, because the leather can darken.

Unbuckle every buckle on your saddle and tack. Before you start cleaning, remove as much dust and dirt as possible with an air compressor or damp cloth. Leather is a natural material with pores so removal of debris will prevent grinding it into the crevices. Ideally your saddle should be wiped down after each ride.

Use specific leather care products made for cleaning and conditioning leather and follow the instructions. We like a liquid, glycerin based saddle soap to remove mud, grime, mold, and mildew. Follow with a leather conditioner. If your saddle is a light color, use leather care products specifically designed for light colored leather.
DO NOT USE: baby wipes, olive or mink oil, turpentine, mineral spirits, waxes, silicones, solvents, bleach

After your saddle has been thoroughly cleaned, oiled, conditioned, and air dried, a climate-controlled area is the best place to keep equipment when not in use. If that’s not available, choose a cool, dry location away from heat and sunlight. Never place leather tack in a plastic bag or airtight plastic trunk as this keeps the leather from breathing.

Mold and mildew can form on leather tack when exposed to high humidity. Wipe down the leather everywhere you see the mold/mildew with a glycerin based saddle soap. You’ll be stirring up mold spores when cleaning the tack, so tackle this task outdoors or in a well-ventilated environment. It may take a couple of applications depending on the amount of mold on the saddle. Let it dry and then apply a leather conditioner.

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Rider Safety Check

Watch these tips to help keep you safe in the saddle. Before mounting, conduct a thorough walk-around tack check every time you ride. Check these points:

– saddle and pad should be centered
– cinch is in great condition and centered
– tie straps and latigos should be in good shape: soft and supple free of rips, cracks or tears – never use leather that is cracked or overly dry or nylon that is frayed
– there are hobble straps on the fenders
– stirrup leathers are strong and in good shape
– saddle is rigged the same on both sides
– bridle is fitting correctly
– check all Chicago screws for tightness
– check everywhere metal meets leather