How to Take Care of a Saddle

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How to Take Care of a Saddle

Although saddles are primarily designed for horses, models have been made for other creatures such as camels, ostriches, donkeys and more. In order for your saddle to last, it's important to take good care of it. There are many different saddle types that require cleaning and care, and a variety of saddles can be purchased from eBay.

The History of the Saddle

There is evidence of horses being ridden as early as 4500 BC. Clydesdales were often used for agriculture. They were used to haul coal from mines to houses in order to heat the home. The Paso Fino was also a working horse. It was used in more moderate climates like Puerto Rico and Colombia.

Horseback riding was a common mode of transportation long before saddles became popular. However, bareback riding can be uncomfortable for both the rider and the horse. The first saddles were designed as straps that were simply used for decoration. These decorative straps were considered to be a sign of wealth and prosperity.

Some of the first functional saddles were made by the Romans and used toward the end of their empire. The Roman saddle had four horns. No stirrups were used to get on or off. The Roman Cavalry used functional saddles, but they kept their hands free in order to hold javelins, spears, shields, and swords. Although they had no stirrups for getting on and off, it is said that the rider was trained to get on the horse at canter by vaulting onto the horse. Europeans discovered that they were able to wield war weapons to their saddle in order to keep accuracy in battle.

Saddles on eBay

While saddles were previously only made of wood and leather, today more synthetic materials are used. The modern western saddle has evolved from the Spanish Vaquero's working saddle. Since riders have different demands today, saddles have changed to accommodate modern needs. Contemporary saddles are used more often for the pleasure of the rider and the comfort of the horse. Whether riders spend time on horseback for work or play, or whether they are beginners or veterans, they will be able to find a variety of saddles to take care of at the right price on eBay.

Good Care Makes a Saddle Last

If cared for properly, a saddle can last for a long time. Special attention should be taken to prevent weakening or even breaking the saddle. Make sure there are not any holes or excess stretching in your girth straps. The straps need to be well attached to the saddle. The stirrup leather should be checked regularly as well. Proper care starts with how you care for your saddle when it is not in use. Always properly store a saddle when you are finished with your ride. If you don't take the proper steps to clean and condition your saddle, then you could be out of the reins for a few weeks, which isn't good for a horse in training. Weakened straps and other saddle parts could be dangerous to the both the horse and the rider. Not only will taking proper care of your saddle help it last for many years, but it will also keep you and your horse safe.

Controlling moisture is very important. Store your saddle in a dry place out of the sun's reach. There are saddle covers which can keep the harmful rays away as well. A saddle can dry out if it gets too much heat. The leather will become brittle, and cracking and breakage can occur. To take good care of your saddle it is important to invest in a special stand that keeps stirrups from touching the ground. While some riders may put their saddles on fences or posts, this can actually cause the saddle to misshapen and curl to occur. If you have to leave your saddle on the ground, do not do this for more than a day because the leather can be damaged by moisture.

Saddle Care Basics

Maintenance determines the life of your saddle. Whether your saddle is synthetic or made from traditional leather, it needs to be cleaned regularly depending on how often it is used. If a saddle is used every day, then it should be cleaned and conditioned about every two to three months. About two to three cleanings a year is usually sufficient. When your saddle is in storage, make sure that it is dry but away from excess moisture and direct sunlight. Always follow the directions on the saddle packaging. Use a saddle soap paste or a bar of glycerine soap to clean your saddle with tack sponges. Liquid soaps are not recommended because they add more moisture to your saddle. Here are some general directions to follow when cleaning your saddle.

Step

Description

Step 1

Place your saddle on a saddle stand. Remove the breast collar, stirrups, cinches, and all other items.

Step 2

With a dry cloth, wipe off every area to remove dust and dirt. Pre-wiping will reduce mud made from the small amount of water. If this process is skipped more damage could be caused by using more water than necessary.

Step 3

To clean use glycerine gel, yellow paste saddle soap, or a glycerine bar. Make the lather thick by using a sponge with water and soap.

Step 4

Wash the whole saddle and all of the attachments. Give extra attention to areas that come in contact with the horse. With rough leather you will need to use a stiff brush to bring up the grains again. A small soft brush can also help to get rid of unwanted dirt, especially in tight areas.

Step 5

When you are finished scrubbing, rinse off the saddle with a sponge or a rag. Don't use an excessive amount of water, and never use a water hose.

Step 6 

Allow the saddle to dry, but never leave it in the sun to dry.

If you travel with a saddle then it would be good to invest in a saddle carrier and a saddle pad carrier. If you take care of your saddle when you travel, then they will last much longer. Modern stirrups are usually pre-twisted today, so they are ready to be used when they are purchased. If your stirrups are not pre-twisted, then you can take care of them yourself when you have your saddle on a stand. Put an old broomstick through both stirrups and twist both fenders. Over time you will have them turned in the right position, and riding will be more enjoyable.

Cover Your Saddle

It is very important to take good care of saddle covers. Rodents can climb through horse waste and bring moisture to your saddle if they climb onto them. A leak in your barn can also cause excess saddle moisture. Try to eliminate pests from your saddle area, and always make sure that water and moisture is kept away from the saddle. There are many commercial saddle covers available on marketplaces like eBay. If you do have a commercial saddle, then invest in a strong outdoor blanket. Since plastic holds moisture in and can cause mildew, avoid plastic covers.

Saddle Cleaning and Conditioning

Synthetic saddles are usually easier to clean than leather saddles. They can take harsher treatment, and a dry brush can be used to remove all the hair, dirt, sweat, or anything else that is on the saddle. Once this is done, you can scrub the saddle all over. Rinse the entire saddle, but if it is leather then do not soak it.

Saddles in need of conditioning only require the treatment around one to two times a year. Never apply conditioning oil or cream to a dirty saddle. Apply your oil-based conditioner with a soft rag. Only apply a minimal amount to the grains. Too much oil can weaken the leather and attract dirt. Wipe off all of the access oil. When applied properly, conditioning oil will help you preserve your saddle and make it look like new. Do not put oil or conditioner on the bottom side of the saddle because it can cause slipping.

Conclusion

When you take good care of your saddle you preserve an important investment. There are many types of saddles available today for racing, jumping, endurance, and dressage. There are even saddles that are custom made for people with special needs. You will need to consider a wide selection of saddles in order to find the saddle that you need and that you can care for properly. A variety of saddles can be purchased from eBay.

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