Blonde is the trend in the Western pleasure show ring today--and not just on the riders. It's the most popular color in show saddles, and it takes special care to maintain the appearance and condition of that light-colored tack.
Remember, any type of cleaning or conditioning will slightly darken your light-colored saddle. You should only condition your show saddle once or twice a year at the most; any more will hasten the darkening process.
Cherryl Sergeant of Sergeant's Western World offers these tips on cleaning and conditioning your saddle:
Supplies you'll need: Angelus Luster Crème, saddle soap, R.M. Williams Saddle Dressing, a soft bristle boot brush, tack sponges.
Step 1: Use an air compressor to remove dust and grime from the tooling, seat and silver. If you don't have access to an air compressor, use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove as much of the loose dust as possible. A soft shoe brush is also helpful to get rid of all loose debris.
Step 2: Condition the light leather by using a small amount of luster crème in a small area and buffing it to a shine with a soft clean boot brush. Continue this process until the entire saddle is cleaned.
Step 3: Brush the saddle's suede seat with a suede brush. Some stains on the seat can be lightened by sanding them off. But if you do sand the seat, be gentle; you don't want to ruin the suede nap. If your saddle has a light-colored seat, it will eventually discolor, no matter how well you take care of it.
Step 4: Using tack sponges, apply saddle soap to clean the latigo, and R.M. Williams Saddle Dressing behind the fenders and on the tops of your fenders (under the rigging) to keep them supple. Do not get any of these products on your light saddle leather--anything other than luster crème will automatically darken your leather!