Product Care

Tips – Saddle Care

Washing a Saddle. 

A used saddle can be washed, but I do not recommend this water tends to break down the cell structure of leather and also rot the stitching. I do however recommend that the underside of fleece or sheepskin lined saddles be washed. 

This prevents knotting in the wool which will  irritate a horses back. The wool should be blown with compressed air to remove as much dust as possible then washed with water and detergent taking care not to wet the leather. Once washed, lightly hose all detergent and remaining residue away. This detergent may also irritate the horse. 

If compressed air is available, once again blow as much water from the saddle and then leave in the sun with the wet area exposed. With a light breeze or electric fan the sun will dry it very quickly. Do not let the sun onto the leather parts of the saddle as it can dry and damage leather. 

Once dry, clean and service the saddle as in section 2. 

Never use any mineral based product to clean or service leather. 

Do not use:
Methylated spirits
Any type of automotive oil
Any mineral oil.  

Why use a solid leather conditioner as opposed to oil? Trevor James Explains: 

When you buy a new saddle from James Saddlery, Trevor James guarantees that if you are not happy in anyway, perhaps the saddle is too big – too small, he will exchange it provided the first saddles comes back unmarked and in new condition. So before you oil or grease your new saddle using a large saddle blanket to protect the saddle on the  underside try it on a horse and make sure you are happy with every aspect of it

Once this is done the saddle can be properly serviced. I recommend a solid leather conditioner such as Oakwood.  The best way to apply the conditioner is to sit the can in warm water so it melts to a liquid, then apply it with a brush. The warm liquid penetrates deeply into the pores of the leather quickly and easily. 

The huge advantage of this type of applications is that when it cools it turns back into a solid inside the leather. This means it hangs in much better than oil which evaporates fairly quickly or just drips out.

Oakwood leather conditioner is made of completely natural bush ingredients. It waterproofs, conditions and restores a new look to all leather products. Shoes, boots, car upholstery, leather lounges and all types of saddlery will be given years of extra protection and life with this especially prepared product developed and proven over 40 years of use.  

  OP105 Leather Conditioner 500mL

The right boot has been treated with Oakwood leather conditioner. Notice that even though the boots are completely ruined, the colour has been restored to the treated boot and there is even a shine on the leather. With consistent treatment these boots would have lasted years longer.

Water beads on the treated leather runs off. This is after years of misuse and just one treatment of leather conditioner. The untreated boot has been wet and as you can see the water has penetrated the leather immediately.


Care of Oilskins, Swags and Canvas Goods. 


Cosiausco oilskins when new are coated in our own brand reproofing cream. After some use the sun and wind will evaporate the water proofing agent to a certain extent. 

They can be reproofed with our Cosiausco reproofing cream should they start to let water through. While this can be used on other brand oilskins, we recommend you check the manufacturers recommendations before doing so. Our reproofing cream is the same brand as our oilskins and is made especially for our own products.

It can be used on anything made of cotton, eg swags, oilskins, canvas gear bags, tents, tarpaulins etc. It can be applied to reproof small areas but for large surfaces sit the can in a saucepan of warm water so the cream becomes liquid then paint it on with a brush. This ensures better coverage and penetration. 

Do not use leather conditioner on your oilskins. Any product based on animal fat may have a short term waterproofing effect but can harm cotton and sure will attract those flies.