Caring for Your Saddle
Congratulations you have purchased a beautiful Lovatt & Ricketts® hand made saddle that with a little care and attention will retain its elegant looks and give you many years of pleasure. To care for your saddle it is most important to clean and nourish the leather, this is not at all time consuming if done on a regular basis. By following our simple saddle care recommendations in the proceeding paragraphs you will achieve a beautiful looking, long lasting saddle you can be proud of whether you’re hacking out or showing at the very top level of competition.
1. It is important to first remove any dirt, dust or sweat; this can be done by brushing and then lightly washing over with a priority brand of leather cleaner or by making a weak solution of soft soap (dish washing liquid). Using a damp cloth or a sponge wipe all parts of the saddle paying particular attention to removing sweat residue from the panels.
2. After the saddle has dried naturally it is time to nourish the leather with either a saddle cream or oil depending on the type of leather used in the different parts your saddle.
Image: 2a, on the outer parts of the saddle we recommend good quality saddle oil, which can be applied by brush or with a damp cloth.
Image: 2b, on the panels and sweat flaps use a saddle cream, apply a thin coat and then polish with a soft cloth when dry.
Image: 2c, the sweat flaps are a particular part of the saddle that is prone to wear. The sweat of the horse and the friction of the billets lying on top of the sweat flap all contribute to this. It is important to keep the under part of the sweat flap (closest to the horses back) clean of sweat and apply cream to keep this part supple. On the upper part of the sweat flaps that comes into contact with the billets we suggest that you oil this surface for the most efficacious results.
Image: 3, the care of the seat of the saddle is carried out exactly the same except with our water buffalo leather seats, which have a Nubuck surface for extra grip. The nap of the leather can be maintained with the use of a hard bristled brush. The seat will loose some of its suede effect because of the very nature of riding, i.e. the friction of a riders seat to the seat of the saddle. Oil can be applied to the Nubuck seat but this will make it smoother and lose some of its grip.
Image :3a, Calf skin Ultra-Tack™ Seat and Knee Pads need to be brushed and sponged to remove dust and dirt and then a coat of good quality saddle cream or balm applied for nourishment and protection. The application of oil is not recommended by the manufacturer of this leather.
4. Arguably the panels are the most important part of the saddle for the comfort and performance of your horse. By keeping the panels in good condition you will help to alleviate discomfort associated with hard and lumpy panels. Always keep panels clean from sweat and cream them to keep them supple. On our wool serge lined panels you do not have the problem of leather drying out and getting hard and brittle but you can get them dirty or sweat soaked. We recommend that you wash the panels with a good brand of wool detergent just the same as you use for your own woolen pullovers or sweaters.
5. Care of the billets cannot be stressed enough
This is one of the few parts of a riding saddle that can cause safety issues if not looked after. We use only the finest rawhide for our billets; this has one of the strongest tensile strengths of any leather on the market however never leave anything to chance. Make sure you oil the billets on a regular basis and check for wear cuts or cracking around the holes; equally important is to check the stitching on a regular basis also. This care section should also be applied to you stirrup leathers.
CALF SKIN ULTRA-TACK™ MODELS
This range of saddles benefits from the application of a good quality saddle Cream or Balm there are many reputable brands on the market that do a good job in protecting and nourishing. The manufacturers of this leather Do Not Recommend Oil on this particular material as it could have adverse affects on the colour fastness. The leather of your new saddle is packed with nutrients, nourishment of your saddle should be little and often depending on your climate or the amount of riding you are doing, below is set out a very straight forward and simple method of taking care of your saddle following this procedure will be most effective in keeping the good looks and well being of your saddle for many years to come.