My grimy-saddle-of-the-week project - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-01-2012, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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My grimy-saddle-of-the-week project

So I was perusing eBay last week, and stumbled upon a 1981 Passier "pancake" saddle. The kind that fits my body perfectly - I love the old pancake saddles. It looked like crap. I couldn't really even see what it was under all the dirt. At $70, I figured even if the tree is broken, I can strip spare part off of it and use for something, since I have an almost identical saddle. If the tree is good, it can be my loaner/working/training/riding in the rain saddle.

It arrived today with a solid, straight tree (thank you for using a mounting block). Billets almost look new. Flocking is pretty firm, but not lumpy or rock-hard - can be used with a good pad until I reflock it. But good lord, the filth! I just spent 3 hours cleaning, detailing, and slathering it with leatherbalm. I even polished the hardware to a shine. Discovered a few scratches and nicks, but nothing that goes through the leather. All tight stitching, no dry-rot.

Will post a picture tomorrow after I buff out the leatherbalm.

I don't know what I'll use it for. I just knew that at that price, if it had a good tree, I cold loan it to friends, keep it for my daughters to grow into, or something creative, but now I'm thinking it's much to fine to use for that!

Lost puppies and underappreciated saddles just seem to follow me home...

Why would anybody sell a perfectly good, if filthy, Passier for $70???? My lucky week. And why would anybody own a Passier that must have cost plenty new, and NEVER clean it?

By the way, Passier Lederbalsam makes your hands REALLY soft - especially after rubbing it around for a really long time.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-01-2012, 07:57 PM
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I love finding things like these on the internet! lol It kinda feels like stealing- minus the illegal part =)

I once bought a Aussie for $25 and it was in perfect condition! The people didnt know what they had and juss wanted to get rid of it. It ended up not fiting me or my horses right, so we sold it to a friend for 150 then she turned around and sold it for 260- Talk about making a profit!

The Truth Harsher Than One Would Think
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-01-2012, 08:06 PM
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Would love to see before and after pictures!
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Got my before and after pictures.

Before: Dirty, grimy, and stiff.

I used about 1/2 a tin of saddle-soap, a small mountain of rags, countless buckets of clean water, spit-shined the brass, and then applied 3 applications of Passier Lederbalsam (the first 2 coats soaked in very quickly). It took 3 hours of elbow-grease, but now I have a $70 treasure ($80, including soap and leatherbalm).

After: My precious.... (in my Gollum voice).

Strangely, the mottled look or discoloration on the seat is not visible to the naked eye - it only shows up with the flash. I think it must be from riding in the rain. That's OK - I'm going to ride int he rain as well. The only thing I'm not completely satisfied with is the stiffness of the sweat-flap. The sweat-flaps on my 1977 Passier are just as buttery-soft as the rest of the saddle. I've been able to turn all the leather to butter on this saddle as well, but the sweat-flaps are still kind of stiff. I'm not sure whether they've just been neglected for 30 years and have become irreversibly stiff, or whether Passier changed over to a stiffer leather on their sweat-flaps in the early '80s.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg passier-front before_1_2_1.JPG (35.2 KB, 145 views)
File Type: jpg passier-side before_2_2_1.JPG (37.0 KB, 145 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4183_2_1_1.jpg (73.8 KB, 141 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4185_1_1_1.jpg (68.5 KB, 141 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4188_4_1_1.jpg (80.7 KB, 143 views)
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Last edited by freia; 09-03-2012 at 11:16 AM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:15 AM
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Wow that's amazing!!! And by the way I swear by Passover lederbalsam!!! Leather just loves it!!!! Plus it smells so good! :)
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:16 AM
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Oops stupid auto correct lol, I meant passier not Passover :)
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:20 AM
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Inspired. Off to find my saddle soap and figure out if theres somewhere around here I can buy some lederbalsam...
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by calicokatt View Post
Inspired. Off to find my saddle soap and figure out if theres somewhere around here I can buy some lederbalsam...
I'm in SW Washington, and have not found it around here. Seattle has everything, though. I end up ordering it on the internet. A 500 ml tin goes a long way.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 11:40 AM
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Great find, and you have done a wonderful job of bringing it back to life
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-03-2012, 03:30 PM
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Great job!

If I may suggest something? The saddle looks very narrow. Maybe it was put to one side because it no longer fitted anything (so you might have the same issues). One argument at the moment regarding the survival of small-sized antique horse equipment (I have a 4 3/4" cavalry horse curb bit from the 1850s) is not so much that horses (and riders) were smaller than us but that small sized items were used less and didn't get worn out, or were more likely to be left in store.

Just a thought

PS - The funny-colour seat is likely just where damp's got in. Shouldn't cause a problem and it would patina-out over time if you were to use it.

The battle that never ends is the battle of belief against unbelief - Thomas Carlyle

Last edited by unclearthur; 09-03-2012 at 03:32 PM.
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