saddle reconditioning - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-26-2010, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Western MA
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saddle reconditioning

I was given a western gaited saddle that actually looks like it fits the mare I have been training! The problem is that it really need a lot of help. I know that I will need to get a new cinch but what else can I do to save this saddle. The tree is still good, but the leather is a NIGHTMARE! Here are some pictures
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-26-2010, 12:53 PM
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I'd liberally soak it down in neatsfoot oil.

Do it once a day until the saddle can't absorb any more of the oil, then buff it to get off any excess oil.

Keep it inside, and condition it every 4 to 6 months.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-26-2010, 10:10 PM
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That poor thing looks parched!

What I'd do is wipe it over with a damp cloth or sponge first to get all the dust off, then soap it with water & a little bit of washing-up liquid with the hard plastic side of a pan-scrubber (not sure of the US version, Google ;)) to clean off all the dried scurf & sweat what a normal sponge wouldn't do.

Then when the leather is completely clean I'd soap it with saddle soap again a good few times with a normal sponge, leave to dry completely & then use Neatsfoot oil on the leather.
I'd then keep repeating the oiling stage throughout the rest of the saddles life, I oil my tack every week, it keeps it soft, supple & strong, and restores all the chaffed flaky bits! HTH :)
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-26-2010, 10:31 PM
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I assume you will replace those latigos, which look dangerously cracked. Also, the blevins buckle is so rusted it, too, lookes untrustworthy. Nice old saddle, tho.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-26-2010, 10:44 PM
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Here is how I got my dry leather to soften and accept oil. I heated a towel in the microwave, stuck it in oil and layed it on the fenders. The heat helps it soak in.

Latigos are really easy to replace. Most are held by a tie string.

The fleecing always intimidates people but it really doesn't need to. Scrape the old, crusty left over fleecing off. Wipe the saddle clean and dry. Give it a once over with a good leather conditioner. Let it dry for a day. Get some good leather glue. I order mine from Tandy leather company. Its about $6 for a whole tube. Order synthetic sheepskin from this place Synthetic Sheepwool by the foot - Sheepskins - Leather Hides & Skins - Zack White Leather Company and always order extra. I make sure there is a nice, consistant bead going around the outside of the saddle. I go right over top of the stitching on the underside of the saddle. I make tight zig zags over the rest. Use the whole tube of glue...what else are you going to use it for? LOL Press it on and smooth it out. Let it stand for 2 days, fleece side up and its good to go. The key is to get the underside as clean as possible. Too much glue is just enough. Saddle repair shops charge atleast $100 to refleece a saddle. It costs me around $20 and with a little trimming, it looks professional.

That saddle looks totally saveable. Good luck!
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-29-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help! I scrubbed it with some murphy's oil soap last night and the buckles actually are still pretty solid but don't look really good. Where would I find a place to replace those, and well as some of the leather ties that are falling apart? I was also thinking about putting some 'bling'on it, any ideas?
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-29-2010, 09:50 AM
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Tandy leather sells full sets of belvin buckles pretty inexpensivly. They have all kinds of leather ties and such.

For bling, check out some of their conchos. They are pretty simple to replace and can really dress up a saddle without going overboard. They have some really cool ones there too.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-29-2010, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I just ordered the catalog!
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-29-2010, 02:24 PM
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Considering the condition of the saddle, and based on the pictures, I would soak the saddle with warm oil (as has been mentioned above) but I would take the saddle to a repair shop to have it checked over well due to the type of rigging. There is a lot of stress on that type of rigging and you don't want it breaking when you are mounted.

In addition, the sheepskin absolutely needs to be replaced as well as adding stirrup hobbles and replacing the billets. Ultimately you may find that it is a nice saddle for display but unsafe to ride.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-29-2010, 03:00 PM
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I double the suggestion to have a professional at least check the rigging if nothing else. That's something that cannot be easily replaced by an average saddle owner but it is something that could be very dangerous if it isn't in good shape. If the rigging is still functional, I see no reason why this saddle can't be saved. It will take a ton of good pure neatsfoot oil (try to avoid the compound) and some time and work but it should be okay.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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