Loads of saddle silver is a hot look in today's Western show pen. Give your silver an eye-catching dazzle with this easy technique from Jim Sculatti, manager of Broken Horn Saddlery in Baldwin Park, California. (To check out more saddle trends, see Horse & Rider, April 2003.)
Supplies you'll need
Step 1. Apply. Squirt a small half-drop of polish on the soft side of a flannel cloth. Apply the polish to your saddle silver with smooth, large strokes. To avoid accidentally streaking the surrounding leather, begin in the middle of the silver, use small strokes along the edges, and frequently turn the cloth to a clean section. (If you do accidentally streak the leather, see "Streak Fix.")
To clean silver-polish streaks off your saddle's leather, dampen a clean section of cloth with a small dab of Fiebing's Bag-Kote leather dressing (or, in a pinch, Glass Plus glass cleaner). Just use a little leather dressing, or you'll darken the leather. (Light-colored leather is still trendy in the show pen.)
Swipe the leather just once to remove the black residue. If you rub, you'll work the polish into the leather's grain.
Step 2. Remove. If your silver is black with heavy residue, leave the polish on for about 10 minutes. If your silver is simply dull, leave the polish on for about 5 minutes. To remove the polish, rub it with the soft side of a clean flannel cloth. Frequently turn the cloth to a clean area. (If there's black buildup on the cloth portion you use, you won't get an optimum shine.) As the polish begins to come off, continue rubbing to buff your silver to a high shine.
Step 3. Maintain. If you live in a humid climate, your silver will tarnish quickly; polish it before every show, or about every 2 weeks. In dry climates, you may need to polish your silver only about every other month. Note that Wenol Polish leaves a residue that helps protect silver. Between cleanings, simply buff your silver with a soft cloth to bring out a show-ready luster.