So about six months ago I purchased Ben's Mom's saddle soap in Fox's Vanilla Lavender and the Passier Lederbalsam for my old and dry saddle. My saddle, when I first got it, was very dry and scratched pretty easily due to this. My saddle has clearly been well taken care of in the time before I acquired it, but it was just dirty and dehydrated.
When I first opened up the package of the saddle soap, the first thing I noticed was the smell. I'm really not picky on smells - I either like it or I don't. Plain and simple. I love leathery-smelling soaps, glycerin is fine, etc. But this soap smelled like a candle in a Yankee Candle store - and I fell in love. The soap, I believe, is not too unbelievably strong especially once it's on the saddle. The other ladies at the barn who walk in when I'm doing tack always comment on the smell and I've even recommended it to one or two interested ladies already! It's very hard and concentrated which I love because it saves a tonnnn of product. I've done countless pieces of tack with it already and there's not even a dent. I ended up with the 8 oz tub which came to 14.95 (minus tax + shipping) and although it's a bit more than your typical bar of glycerin, I believe it's worth it. I ordered it through an Etsy account which I will link below (along with the Passier Lederbalsam as well). The lederbalsam was as expected: goopy and waxy. Very thick in consistency.
As I use this soap, I make sure that my sponge is damp, not dry/wet/sopping/etc. Damp. I also work in circular motions just because of personal preference - I think it removes dirt better. The soap itself isn't too sudsy and leaves virtually no grain on the leather (unless you use too much). The soap is marketed for an everyday after ride saddle soap, though I use it mostly as a once a week soap. The soap IS gentle enough for everyday use, and can also be made a little more "harsh" for especially dirty tack if you just go over it more than once and scrub a little harder. My saddle is always lovely and feels very conditioned after just using the soap! So sometimes I skip using the lederbalsam, but when my saddle feels like it needs the extra help, here's what I do!
I make sure my saddle has sat for at LEAST 15 minutes so it can soak in all that it needs/wants. After this 15 minutes is usually when I decide whether or not it needs the lederbalsam. After that time I usually use a cloth towel to blot any places I see that are still wet. Now with this lederbalsam, I've tried using both a sponge and a brush, but nothing works as well as fingers. So what I do next is simply get a glob on my fingers and massage it into the leather slowly and in circular motions. I do not recommend using a ton of this product as a little definitely goes a lonnnng way, especially after you use the Ben's Mom's saddle soap since that's conditioning as well. After I massage it all over I put my saddle back on my rack and let it sit for a day or two to absorb what it needs. When I come back the next day, I take a cloth towel and gently rub my saddle in circular motions to work in any extra, but take off some as well.
Overall, I believe these products are very high quality and I will be purchasing again after I run out!! They do their job and keep my tack looking great - and Evy sure appreciates looking so spectacular ;)
Ben's Mom's Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HigherStandardsFarm
Passier Lederbalsam: https://www.smartpakequine.com/passier-lederbalsam-216p
Heels down :)
Lauren and Evy