I’m calling this part 1 in hopes that someday someone will want me to review something else and therefore I will get to do a part 2.
Higher Standards Leather care is a result of trial and error by a horse enthusiast, Libby Henderson. The full story on how she created the soap, and other reviews can be found on her Etsy Store and Website.
When Libby contacted me about reviewing her saddle soap and balm, my immediate reaction was YES, my secondary reaction was “what if I hate it, and then this nice lady has sent me a product she’s proud of and I can’t say nice things?” Throwing caution to the wind (and recognizing that I had just used the last drop of my passier lederbalsam), we exchanged contact information, and I agreed to do a review.
First she asked me to pick a scent. Scent? Yes, Libby makes a variety of scented saddle soap, even rotating flavors with seasons. Currently available are:
Plain Bay - Unscented
and my selection
Rumor has it that if you’re really nice to her she’ll make a custom scent just for you. I’m imagining TJ’s Drakkar Noir and DC’s Peppermint Paddock Cakes are next on her mass distribution list.
A few days later a package arrived which included soap, balm, candy, and instructions. Yes candy, this woman knows how to treat a customer.
I must confess. I am not a daily tack cleaner kinda gal. It is one of those embarrassing things about me that I’m now admitting to a worldwide audience of readers. My name is Anna and I do not clean my tack each time I ride.
Nonetheless I do actually clean tack on some sort of irregular random basis. Perhaps the Higher Standards name of the soap will give me a desire to have higher standards on my tack cleaning regularity.
Given that I had PLENTY OF TIME to clean tack at the barn last weekend, I pulled out all of DC’s schooling bridles, DC’s saddle, my half chaps and paddock boots, and my leather open fronts to do a thorough job.
The instructions included were very specific (I love specific instructions), and also said “if you use it after every ride you won’t need conditioner.” Oops. Maybe that will be my mid-year resolution. Quarter year? Whatever.
When I opened up my soap, I was pleased to find there was a sponge included for cleaning purposes. Well, less pleased after I spent 20 minutes searching for a sponge ahead of time. Tack sponges are worse than socks when it comes to me keeping track of them.
I have another confession to make. I didn’t take any “before” pictures of my tack. Why? Because it’s saddle soap, and conditioner, and I already use the expensive stuff, so what kind of a difference could they make really? Apparently a huge one. I have to honestly say, my bridles have never cleaned so easily and with such gleaming results. The grime and grossness came off easily with minimal scrubbing. They simply turned out soft, supple and gorgeous. And DC’s saddle? Even without the conditioner my saddle went from dull and multi-toned to a rich color of evenness and beauty. I’ve honestly never seen a change like that from a simple cleaning.
|After cleaning, but before conditioning|
Lesson learned. Take before pictures every time.
I actually bought DC’s saddle from Devocoux as a demo saddle that had been a demo for quite a while. It has a pretty significant butt print on the seat, and sweat marks on the panels from demo misuse. After using the conditioner, I was truly impressed with how it managed to even out the discoloration on the seat, and the sweat marks were minimized significantly.
|After conditioning. Note I was supposed to wipe off excess. Let's pretend that happened after I took this pic.|
I know you can't see "before" pics, but just imagine a butt print and sweat marks that are much worse than those pictured.
End result is that Libby seems to be a miracle worker when it comes to leather care. I can’t wait to try it on TJ’s tack which is admittedly even worse than DC’s. I should be shunned.