Most leather equipment will benefit from an initial oiling; this gives a first conditioning to the leather. When applying oil, it should be at room temputure or warmed slightly so that it is comfortable to the touch. Apply oil sparingly with a piece of sheepskin or paint brush. With saddles, apply oil to all surfaces, especially the flesh side where it will permeate leather well. After lubricating, if the flaps of the saddle feel stiff, the flaps can be rolled a few times so that the oil can do its job and loosen leather fibers to create suppleness. Do not overdo this, as it can make flaps too loose and prone to bunch under your leg. Allow the saddle to sit overnight to give the oil a chance to soak in and the color a chance to even out.
Maintenance Care of Leather:
You should take care of your leather products as you take care of your skin, keep clean, soft and moisturized. After each use, leather equipment should be wiped off with a damp sponge, especially the underside, to remove sweat and dirt build-up.
Use a tack sponge and glycerin saddle soap (or for those who do not like the residue left by glycerin, then Castile soap may be used.) Work up a foam lather that will surround the dirt on your equipment and loosen it from the surface.
Clean the dirt and soap away using the same sponge (cleaned thoroughly in fresh water). Make sure all soap is removed.
Let the saddle air dry for a few minutes, or towel it to get the excess water off.
Choose a fresh, clean sponge for the finishing work as it is difficult to fully clean the dirt off of a used sponge. Pick up a bit of the glycerin saddle soap on the sponge (if it foams you have left too much water on the sponge) and apply it to the leather in small circular motions. You could also use a small amount of a good conditioner along with the glycerin soap on your sponge.