Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Product Review: Higher Standards Leather Care

This is not even remotely sponsored, not even requested, product purchased at full price.

I'm going to be brutally honest here: I am really, really awful about cleaning my tack.  One of the huge perks about endurance and beta tack is that you dump some water on it, maybe scrub a little, and you're good to go.  Leather, though.. ugh, that's real work.

I had some Horseman's One Step cleaner/conditioner for a while.  It wasn't terrible or anything, but the last time I saw it, the heat pretty well destroyed it and it had separated into oily/not oily sections.  Ugh.  I suspect that was probably last summer when I finally tossed the whole thing.  Also known as.. I hadn't touched any of my leather tack with cleaner or conditioner for at least a year, probably more.  Oops?

Mostly, I don't care.  I should, but I really don't.  I couldn't be bothered to go out and buy more saddle soap, find more rags, and condition my tiny collection of leather tack.  Two bridles, stirrup leathers, two saddles (one sitting at home, one Eurolight).

It would not do, however, to list a dirty saddle for sale.  I could not bring myself to do that.  So: off to Higher Standards' shop I went, and purchased two, and lo, they arrived quickly and with bonus peppermint!  Ponies always like bonus peppermints.

Mostly the saddle didn't look too bad, with one exception: behind the crupper ring.  The brass snaps on my cruppers rub the saddle no matter what I do.  It looked pretty awful, and previous half-hearted attempts with water and a rag went absolutely nowhere.

It was surprisingly effective at removing the accumulation of dirt and grime, although the most concentrated areas still took some serious scrubbing.  The after photo was taken when the leather was still slightly damp.  The saddle did end up slightly darker in that section, so I can't recommend spending 20+ minutes scrubbing/removing soap/scrubbing/removing soap in the same several-inch section - but I doubt anyone else is likely to try that.  In areas where I used a normal to perhaps double-normal amount of soap and cleaning effort, the leather color was completely unaffected.

Also, it smells amazing and isn't difficult to use. Sponge on, rinse, sponge again and don't stress too much if a bit is still on there.  Again: would be easier if I cleaned my tack more than once a year, but the reality is that I don't.

Even so: I think I like this soap enough that I might make it up to three or four times a year.  Novel!


  1. Getting dirty used tack in the mail is a big pet peeve of mine, so I totally approve the saddle cleaning! Thanks for posting this review- I just got my first leather endurance saddle so knowing a bit more about various cleaners will certainly come in handy sometime down the line.

  2. haha i'm pretty awful about cleaning my tack too (definitely NOT a tack ho over here lol) and that's kept me from pulling the trigger on higher standards products as of yet. but i still really really want to try it out!

  3. oh, thank you for the review, your saddle looks good. I rarely clean tack too! And when I do there are little pieces of mummified carrot in my saddle bags...

  4. I love this stuff. It totally helps me clean my tack. I try to be good about it, but tend to not bother until the night before a show or I notice mold growing on it.