I discovered Higher Standards Leather Care online a while ago, after reading rave reviews on the Chronicle of the Horse forums. I bought myself some of the soap, but as I wasn’t riding much, never really got a chance to use it. However, now that I’m over here, and with so much gear to clean, I figured it was a good opportunity to buy some more and really test it out.
First item – and I’m almost ashamed to post this because of how bad the “before” picture is – my riding boots. They were used as my work boots for the first week or so that I was here, so they had to endure mucking stalls, riding multiple horses, and trudging through mud and snow all day. As you can see, they were in pretty bad shape.
I started with the Sweet Cinnamint saddle soap, and even the caked on sweat and dirt came off relatively easily. The soap smells delicious, and really cuts through all the grime more effectively than most leather cleaners I’ve tried before.
The really brilliant part though is the leather balm. These boots are the waxed, waterproof Ariat Bromonts, so they never really had a great shine to begin with, even when I used boot polish on them. The leather balm has totally erased the scuffed toes and spur strap rubs, and has brought out a beautiful shine to the boots.
Next challenge was a pretty grimy old Devoucoux work bridle. The bridles here get used on at least a few horses a day, and while they do get wiped down with saddle soap each afternoon before they’re put away, they’re never really super clean.
Again, the soap cut right through all the dirt and sweat, and the balm softened and conditioned the leather beautifully.
Here is a great comparison with an almost identical bridle that had been cleaned with Leather New on the left, and the Higher Standards bridle on the right.
I also cleaned and conditioned my saddle, but unfortunately I seem to have deleted the before photo off my phone. The soap and balm worked wonders on it though, and really brought the richness of the leather colour back out – it had looked a fairly dry orange colour previously.
So in conclusion – I’m totally converted. This stuff is the whole package – homemade, with natural ingredients, and seriously effective. The scents of the soaps are gorgeous too – I have the Lavender Vanilla at home, and the holiday edition Cinnamint is just so delicious. The balm even makes your hands feel amazing when you’re using it! No more greasy, grotty hands to deal with after cleaning tack.
This stuff is absolutely worth trying out… I doubt I’ll ever go back to regular store-bought leather products again! It’s very easy to purchase through their Etsy store, and the prices to ship to Australia are very reasonable.