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I just bought a brand new Circle Y Alpine Flex2 trail saddle and am not sure if I need to oil it before riding in. And if so, what should I use and how should I do it? How often should I oil it to maintain the leather?
 

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Some people become very meticulous with their saddles, especially those of a higher price tag.

I typically clean/condition my Bates twice a month and that's probably 4 days a week of riding (when the weather is good and life is quiet, which isn't often lol!) A quick swipe with conditioner after each ride doesn't hurt, but certainly tedious and I don't have the time (or energy at that point *chuckle*) to do it.

I always oil new tack, especially after the browband of my bridle split open in my storage box after the second day I had it and only one use. I assumed my lack of conditioning/oiling was part of the culprit, but still waiting on my replacement.
 
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Soo jealous! I love circle y saddles..
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Oiling it will help make it lose any stiffness but you don't have to do it religiously. Once in awhile if it needs it and only smooth leathered areas.
Don't oil the rough out (assuming yours has it?) because it will cause it to turn smooth if you ride in it after. If you must do it, oil the rough out from the backside and clean it with a damp rag and sandpaper to bring the grain up again.
Oiling is also best done outside on a warm summer day to help it thoroughly soak into the leather ;)
 

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If you are riding a LOT I recommend saddle soap. It will clean it, keep it clean and it softens the leather. Honestly, just like pruning fruit trees, people don't oil up their leather tack often enough. Just when you are depending upon it you'll find a piece cracked bc it is dried out.
Regarding Neatsfoot oil, I have heard that before, for almost 30 years. I don't use Neatsfoot oil all of the time bc it takes time to soak into the leather. The stuff that I bought 2 weeks ago was dry as a bone, so I used neatsfoot oil on it, then saddle soap, and then hung all of the leather up to dry. ALL of it is now supple. I will be riding with those reins and breastplate soon. Neatsfoot oil will make the leather stretch if it has soaked it up and you use it immediately. Once the piece has dried this will not happen.
There are many good leather conditioners on the market. The more you pay, the better the conditioner, but don't discount neatsfoot oil. If you ever pick up a very old piece of leather there are not a lot of products that can restore it, but Neatsfoot oil is one of them. It has always amazed my how old leather will soak it in after each pass and it looks as if you didn't even use it.
 

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dont use neatsfoot oil. ( i think thats how it's spelled.. ) it breaks down the stiching.

100% neatsfoot doesn't and anyway these days the stitching is more likely to have nylon in it so doesn't break down..

But even with the older stuff, I have a bridle that I bought 30 years ago, and it was old then, I oil it reguarly and it hasn't lost a stitch so far.
 

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100% neatsfoot doesn't and anyway these days the stitching is more likely to have nylon in it so doesn't break down..

But even with the older stuff, I have a bridle that I bought 30 years ago, and it was old then, I oil it reguarly and it hasn't lost a stitch so far.
If you are riding a LOT I recommend saddle soap. It will clean it, keep it clean and it softens the leather. Honestly, just like pruning fruit trees, people don't oil up their leather tack often enough. Just when you are depending upon it you'll find a piece cracked bc it is dried out.
Regarding Neatsfoot oil, I have heard that before, for almost 30 years. I don't use Neatsfoot oil all of the time bc it takes time to soak into the leather. The stuff that I bought 2 weeks ago was dry as a bone, so I used neatsfoot oil on it, then saddle soap, and then hung all of the leather up to dry. ALL of it is now supple. I will be riding with those reins and breastplate soon. Neatsfoot oil will make the leather stretch if it has soaked it up and you use it immediately. Once the piece has dried this will not happen.
There are many good leather conditioners on the market. The more you pay, the better the conditioner, but don't discount neatsfoot oil. If you ever pick up a very old piece of leather there are not a lot of products that can restore it, but Neatsfoot oil is one of them. It has always amazed my how old leather will soak it in after each pass and it looks as if you didn't even use it.
maybe it was a product that had neatsfoot oil in it, along with other stuff..? i'm going by what other horse people (tack shop owners) have told me regarding it. I personally use saddle soap and once in a while, Lexol. But my current saddle is synthetic, and i dont ride.. so i guess take my advice with a grain of salt. :? :think:
 

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maybe it was a product that had neatsfoot oil in it, along with other stuff..? i'm going by what other horse people (tack shop owners) have told me regarding it. I personally use saddle soap and once in a while, Lexol. But my current saddle is synthetic, and i dont ride.. so i guess take my advice with a grain of salt. :? :think:
I don't know if it goes down as urban myth, slurs by people making products that compete with Neatsfoot, or if there is any truth in it anywhere. I'm sure all older horse people grew up with the sure and certain knowledge that it DOES rot stitching, I know I did. I have never had any rot though, so I got converted to the other side...I always have some on hand, I use it a lot reviving old tack, and sparingly on anything else.
 

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I don't know if it goes down as urban myth, slurs by people making products that compete with Neatsfoot, or if there is any truth in it anywhere. I'm sure all older horse people grew up with the sure and certain knowledge that it DOES rot stitching, I know I did. I have never had any rot though, so I got converted to the other side...I always have some on hand, I use it a lot reviving old tack, and sparingly on anything else.
What I have read is that back when the stitching was cotton, neatsfoot oil would rot it. (I still find old horse books now and then that warn not to oil near the stitching).

But newer tack has nylon stitching so neatsfoot will not rot nylon. I use neatsfoot on all my tack (because I am cheap I guess.....I really prefer Leather Therapy Conditioner or Skidmore's). But I have a whole gallon of neatsfoot and use it on everything! Never bothered my stitching. The only thing I ever ruined with neatsfoot was a cheapie pair of saddlebags that were made of suede. They were junk honestly. And the neatsfoot caused them to weaken and tear.

But all my western saddles and bridles get heavily neatsfooted at least twice a year.

I don't know how English riders manage to clean tack after every use. They spend as much time cleaning tack as they do riding! Maybe it's just that the saddles are smaller. I dunno. But I wouldn't be able to keep up if they needed cleaning that often.

I guess back to the OP's question, yes, once I am sure I am keeping a new saddle, I oil it. Because I would rather have it gently stretch than crack. And anywhere the leather is bent it could crack if not conditioned. So I do oil my new saddles. Sometimes more than once. It depends on how soft the leather is. Some of the newer saddles seem to come pre-conditioned. I don't know if Circle Y is one of them. It might be. I had a new Reinsman that came with soft leather. But anything else gets a heavy dose of oil. Anything pre-conditioned gets only a light coat of oil.
 

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I clean, condition and wax each saddle (tedious) about every month and I towel buff between each step. A saddle takes me about 15-25 minutes per and it's hard work.

I have never done a new saddle before, but I would first locate the manufacturer for recommendations.

All the vest !
 

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I always clean and condition new tack at the very least before using it. Oiling will help soften the leather, and some may darken it. I like to use Fiebing's saddle soap, Lexol leather conditioner, Effax Lederbalsam, and Fiebing's Neatsfoot oil. The Lederbalsam is my favorite!
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I am going to advise against oiling just yet. Leather is more inclined to lose moisture so a twice annual saddle soaping with a conditioner in it will keep the leather in good condition. The leather of a western saddle is not of the same tannage as English so they are treated a little differently.
 
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