toothbrush may be helpful
While the saddle is on a
that comes in contact with sweat and dirt,
Undo buckles and clean the buckle and the leather.
Inspect the leather for cracks and
check that stitching is intact.
Remove and clean stirrups.
Soak stirrup pads if you have them and they need it.
This is actually the first time I've cleaned the saddles while they were on the horses. But, the weather was nice. The saddles needed to be cleaned. I had the time. I had the inclination. And, my horses are the perfect height for saddle cleaning. So, why not?!
When I was young I participated in Pony Club. "They" would judge us on many aspects of barn management. I did check out my USPC Manual and found no mention of where to have the saddle while cleaning it. So, if "they" decided to take points off for my unconventional method, I suppose I could contest it! But, I wouldn't. Pony Club is all about teaching safety around horses and I know that cleaning a saddle on the horse's back is not truly safe. Pippin wiggles a bit more than Doc and I was sure to keep my hand on the saddle when I had the girth off so I was ready to take it off if he startled for some reason. So, this is really a case of "Do as I say, not as I do!" In other words; Don't do this at home!
The USPC Manual of Horsemanship is not available online, but here are three documents from Pony Clubs about tack cleaning that are based on the manual, should you be curious about their material or want to share this with someone.
Resources for USPC Manual - Tack Cleaning