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Know Your Saddle: How to care for a saddle that has been wet

Did you get stuck in the rain whilst riding? Every now and then we all ignore the slightly darker clouds and a few raindrops, and sometimes we are caught in an absolute downpour. Aside from the cold, wet rider and horse, that beloved saddle probably took its fair share too. So the question begs, how do you care for a saddle that has been wet?

It is absolutely necessary to address a wet saddle immediately, whether just spotted or soaked. The fibers that make up your saddle are held together by protein bonds that undergo changes when wet, they dry and shrink, they break, and holes are created in the fibers, this causes the strength of the leather to wear down.

Dry, cracked leather becomes weak and even more susceptible to further damage.

The key is to act quickly and make sure the correct steps are taken!

Here are our top tips and steps to rescue and restore your saddle:

  • Wipe off any excess water with a clean, dry towel gently but thoroughly.
  • Let the saddle dry naturally (not in the sun or with a heater or hair dryer), keep checking it and try not to dry the saddle out too much as it may cause the leather to crack.
  • When the saddle is almost dry (slightly damp is best) condition your saddle with balsam or other oil.
  • Repeat the oiling process again in a couple of days until the leather feels strong and conditioned again.

Note: You may also need to call your saddle fitter if you have wool flocking and the saddle was well and truly soaked.