Cleaning Your Saddle Pad

The end of the summer season is a good time to think about cleaning your saddle pads and blankets. Hair, dirt, sweat and assorted crud all build up over time. If it isn’t cleaned off it can cause irritation to your horse and damage to your pads and blankets. Before each use, you should always inspect your pad for burs, twigs, hay or other annoying things that will drive your horse crazy rubbing on his back while you ride, but we’re talking about a down-and-dirty, deep cleaning here.

Start with a currycomb, shedding blade, or stiff dog brush to loosen and lift off a good amount of the hair and crud. You’ll really need to spend some time and elbow grease on this step. Don’t just give it a superficial once over.

Next, use water from the hose and a brush to break down the sweat and dirt. Again take your time and really work through all of the crud.

For some pads and blankets, this will be enough to get them cleaned. For others with tougher dirt, you’ll need to add a round of cleaning with a small amount of detergent. It’s important, however, to use a mild detergent such as Woolite or a cleaning products specially designed for horse materials such as those made by Leather Therapy.

The next, very crucial step is to rinse excessively to get all of the detergent out so that it won’t irritate your horse. Rinse until suds no longer come out in the rinse water, and then rinse some more. It doesn’t make sense to clean off the dirt and then leave in soap that will irritate your horse just as much.

Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed your pad or blanket, hang it to dry. I don’t recommend putting it in the dryer as saddle pads and blankets can be very hard on your dryer and the dryer can be very hard on your pads and blankets.

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