Question:My light-colored show saddle squeaks! Any suggestions?
--Becky Schoeffield, Manchester, Md.
Answer: Here are two squeak fixes specifically geared for light-colored show saddles, whose lack of oil commonly causes squeaking. The source of the squeak generally is the stirrup fender, at the point its leather strap slips over the saddle tree. When you put your weight in the stirrup, you apply pressure to this point, hence the squeak.
Solution 1: Baby powder, which reduces friction between your fenders and the tree. Turn your saddle upside down atop a soft surface. Spread out the stirrups/fenders, so you expose the area under the jockey. Generously sprinkle baby powder between the fenders and jockeys, as well as between the skirts. Wipe off excess powder with a rag. Saddle your horse, and wipe away any residual powder.
Solution 2: Bick 4 (from Bickmore, Inc., 800/356-8804), a saddle conditioner/cleaner that won't darken your light leather. Unbuckle the fender's Blevins buckle (the one that adjusts stirrup length). Pull the stirrup/fender down to expose the strip of leather that loops over the tree. Apply Bick 4, per manufacturer's directions, to the underside of the strip (the side that will contact the tree). Reassemble the fender, buckle up, and repeat on the other side.
Dan and his wife, Babe, own and operate Woods Western, in Escondido, Calif. Their clients range from novice amateurs to world champion professional trainers.
This article originally appeared in the September 2000 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.