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How to care for your saddle when it’s cold and wet outside

When I last sat down to write a blog it felt as though summer had only just finished, and we had months of autumn to enjoy before the cold, wet and darkness of winter descended. But somehow, here we are just a week or two away from the clocks going back and we all know that means the start of winter. I know lots of my followers enjoy winter for other reasons (no pesky flies, cooler weather, mulled wine, a slower pace of life, Christmas, gingerbread lattes - the list goes on…) but there’s no doubt that it can be tough for us horse owners.

 

When you only have a small window of light to ride in or the weather is really rubbish, there’s a good chance that you and your horse might get wet and muddy on your rides this winter, and that means your saddle will too. I don’t need to tell you that a good saddle is an investment and something that you will want to take care of so that you can use it for many years to come. That’s why I’m sharing some of my tried and tested saddle care tips with you today:

 

Clean it regularly

 

It can be tempting to finish a ride and want to get back into your warm car as soon as possible, especially if you got soaked, but make sure you wipe mud and sweat off your saddle. A ‘proper’ clean, with leather conditioner, stripping the stirrups off and so on can be done once a week but don’t just leave mud on there.

 

Dry it carefully if it gets wet

 

It’s inevitable that at some point over the course of the winter your saddle will get soaked. If that happens, use a towel or cloth to get ‘standing water’ off and then allow it to get to the point when it's nearly dry. Don’t be tempted to put it on or near a radiator or in an airing cupboard - the direct heat will dry out the leather too much. When the leather is just slightly damp, use a conditioner to replace the oils which have been flushed out when the saddle got soaked. Make sure the saddle is then left out to dry completely before putting it in a cover.

 

Store it somewhere the temperature and humidity are stable

 

Ideally, you want to avoid your saddle getting heated and cooled every single day, for example riding in the cold and wet and then storing it somewhere really warm…  An airy and well-ventilated tack room heated to around 16 degrees is better than taking your saddle and sticking it near a radiator in your house. If the ventilation in the tack room isn’t great, then a dehumidifier is a good investment and one the other yard members may chip in for.

 

A little reminder that I cater for all horses and ponies here at AMZ!

 

I also wanted to use this blog to remind everyone that my saddles are for all sizes and shapes of horse and pony. I fit saddles for dressage and sports horses competing at high levels, but that’s not the only reason I get out of bed every day. I firmly believe that all horses and ponies should be able to do their job in comfort, and I will never stop banging the drum about how often an equine changes shape throughout the year. A high quality, well-designed saddle and regular fitting is essential, and that doesn’t change if you’re a happy hacker or an ambitious event rider.

 

The one thing our customers all have in common is that they want a saddle which offers their horse optimum comfort and a saddle fitter who cares about every single customer. Those are my two overarching aims here at AMZ, and I get equal pleasure from working with cobs, ponies, natives, warmbloods and Thoroughbreds. Fitting a native breed or a broad cob, one whose owners have searched high and low for a saddle which fits them, is a rewarding experience right up there with seeing my saddles at top level competitions,

 

So, no matter what size or shape your horse or pony is, please do drop me a line if you're on the hunt for a new saddle or would like your existing one checked and adjusted.

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