Saddle care 101

Whether you’re wondering how to prepare your new Arena saddle for its first ride, needing to maintain your current saddle or hoping to revitalise a second-hand saddle, our guide to saddle care below, and our official Care Instructions, will help to keep you and your horse looking beautifully styled in your Arena saddle.

You will need

  • Your saddle on a stable saddle rack or stand. We have used the Arena Dressage saddle.
  • Wax-based balsam.
  • Glycerine saddle soap.
  • Warm water.
  • Two soft cloths, one for cleaning your saddle and one to apply the balsam.

Saddle care 101

Remove any surface dirt

Using a soft cloth, dampened in warm water, remove any dirt that is sitting on the surface of your saddle. We also recommend removing your girth, stirrup leathers and any other accessories to ensure you can clean each item individually for a deep clean. 

Wash away the sweat and dirt

Apply a small amount of glycerine saddle soap to your damp cloth, and work the soap into your saddle using circular motions to form a lather. This lather will help to lift any stubborn dirt or sweat. 

Glycerine saddle soap is also safe to use on most equestrian products, so take the time to also give your girth, leathers, irons and accessories a thorough clean now too.  


Once the saddle is clean, use your dry cloth to buff your saddle to remove any excess saddle soap.

Add your moisture back in

After a long day outside covered in dirt and sweat, we like to have a shower and then lather up in a nice moisturiser to stop us feeling dry, your saddle is no different!

Once your saddle is completely dry, use an oil-free, ideally wax-based leather balsam to restore the moisture content and form a protective barrier. It's worth taking a dry cloth at the end and buffing off any additional balsam that is sitting on the leather surface. 

Store your saddle safely

To maintain your saddle in top condition, we recommend putting your included saddle cover back on your saddle, and keeping it in a dry tack room that is not subject to overly harsh heat or cold. 

How often should you do this?

To keep your saddle supple with rich colour, it is important to clean and dress your saddle regularly. How often you need to condition your saddle will depend on usage and storage. To determine whether your care needs are weekly, fortnightly or monthly, keep an eye on your saddle condition and take note of when it appears to need a little extra love. 


  • Brand new saddle? Congratulations! We recommend following the moisture step before your very first ride. This will help to give you a protective barrier.
  • Saddle a bit dry? Uh oh! We recommend following the above steps, paying extra attention to the moisture step, and extending it to an overnight soak in sufficient balsam before polishing it off the next morning. You may need to repeat this process to restore the moisture content. 
  • Wet saddle? We hope you had a LOT of fun! However, it is important to let the saddle dry fully before adding any balsam as that can lock the water into your saddle. Place your saddle away from a direct heat source in a warm, dry and well-ventilated room, until the leather has dried completely. This means, putting it in a room with a heater is OK, but please do not put your saddle directly in front of it. Once you are confident the saddle is dry, you can then follow the steps above, especially the moisture step. 

For more information, refer to our official Care Instructions.