Help with conditioning western saddle - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Kaifyre
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 07-18-2019, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
• Horses: 0
Help with conditioning western saddle

I have an old Red Ranger saddle that I’m hoping to make work for my grandson. It’s a decent fit but the skirt or jockey sections are stiff and don’t lay flat- they stick out and rub on his leg. Probably it was stored laying too flat at one time. Can I soak it in water and form it to lay down? Any ideas appreciated!! 116B804C-CC3F-4D71-825F-F827F73E2977_1563492920758.jpg tried to attach pics. Not sure if they came over.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20AAA986-A68C-4E70-BA30-EA72AB9FDC4A_1563492945097.jpg (29.0 KB, 1 views)
Woodysgal is offline  
post #2 of 4 Old 07-18-2019, 09:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Montana
Posts: 983
• Horses: 1
Contrary to popular belief, WATER does not harm a saddle. LACK OF WATER is what harms saddles. I would hose the saddle down very good and give it a deep cleaning - any dirt or hair caught in the creases of the saddle will make it harder to oil. After it's been deep cleaned, I would take neatsfoot oil - PURE neatsfoot, not neatsfoot compound - and really go after it. Apply multiple coats of oil repeatedly, until it takes 20 minutes or so to absorb, and store the saddle as it should be so that everything lays down a bit. I suggest you do this outside, in the sun, to open up the pores of the leather and enable it to absorb more oil. A very old, dry saddle may require a very large amount of oil to become supple again, and the really bad ones can never be restored to full suppleness, but you can definitely make them a heck of a lot better.

Good luck!!

-- Kai
boots likes this.
Kaifyre is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 07-18-2019, 10:37 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 12,723
• Horses: 0
I agree with most of what was suggested...
Clean well as this will open leather pores to accept nourishing nutrients in the cleansing soap and oil.
Just cleaning with quality saddle soap or glycerine bar will make a big difference in pliability of the saddle.
Water on leather will not hurt it as was said.
I soaked my western saddle fenders from the un-fnished un-tooled side when we needed to turn them, placed a broomstick to hold the twist and let the leather air dry in the shade...repeat several times till when you release the broomstick the stirrups maintained the look desired...
Do the same idea to those skirts to flatten them will probably need to soak where you can so front, outside seen is where you will also need to apply
Pad the skirts and strap them down in place, or weight the leather to get back the shape you desire as the leather finishes drying and learning its new position to hold.

Apply several coats of pure neatsfoot oil but do not soak the leather...apply light coats and let soak in between applications.
After oiling and the leather no longer absorbs, wipe the excess off the leather gently...
Buff with a soft cloth for added luster to come out and shine with health restored.
If the seat is suede do not oil it but use a short bristled brass brush or a suede brush found in some shoe departments to raise the saddle seat nap...if stitched be cautious you not pull the stitching loose or break them.
Then you need to lay the leather down again, pad and secure it in the shape it must retain...
To secure I've seen soft nylon ratcheting straps applied after blanket/pad were put in place, then straps and tighten so it is held in place.

I was told not to put in sun but let water or oil soak in in shaded atmosphere but warm conditions like summer warmth/heat is fine.
Rapid evaporation is not the best for leather...slow, steady absorption was the way to proceed.
Never tried this in the sun, ever...always in shaded area.

Do not soak the leather with excessive oil...old stitching can break very easily when over-oiled so be very careful.. hence several light layers applied not saturate the leather may be the safer way on a old saddle to proceed.
Good luck and pictures of that finished beauty when project completed...even dry the leather has a quality patina to it.

WELCOME to the Forum!!


The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
horselovinguy is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 07-19-2019, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 213
• Horses: 0
I know a lot of folks like Neatsfoot Oil, not me. For general conditioning I like Passier Lederbalsam or Leather Honey. When Hurricane Harvey flooded our place, including my saddles I got them back into condition using Kali Leather Life Protein Lotion. This is the best I have found, it cleans and conditions without leaving an oily residue.
txgirl is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome