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I have had my western saddle for about a year. I am riding in it more now but the leather is so freaking stiff! How to I soften it up? With my english saddle i would just douse it in neatsfoot oil but have read in some places that oil isnt good for leather? Also the stirrups are so stiff and my knees kill me after riding in it for a while. I have heard that there is a way you can twist the stirrups so that your knees dont hurt. Can anyone help?
 

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There are leather conditioning products that are specifically made to not darken leather (like oil). Not sure which to recommend though, maybe someone else can help with that!

But, as for the stirrups...whenever your saddle is sitting in the tackroom, turn the stirrups out, and stick a broomstick or pvc pipe through the stirrups under the saddle. Hard to explain...here's a photo



Works well if you condition it, broomstick it, and let it sit for a day. Then continue to store it this way.
 

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I use lots of needsfoot oil but apply it from the back, not the front to keep it from discoloring the leather. Be generous , it will not hurt the leather. I have a barrel of oil and tie a wire around leather parts and submerse them in the oil for a day and then let them drip dry for another day before wiping down.
Harnesses are dipped all the time to keep them soft.
I bought my barrel of oil from the local automotive oil supply house.

For the stirrups that picture is hard to understand. It is taken from the back of the saddle making it hard to understand but figure out the way you want the stirrups twisted, over twist them and put a stick between them. In short order they take a permanent twist and saves the knee.
 

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I have had my western saddle for about a year. I am riding in it more now but the leather is so freaking stiff! How to I soften it up? With my english saddle i would just douse it in neatsfoot oil but have read in some places that oil isnt good for leather? Also the stirrups are so stiff and my knees kill me after riding in it for a while. I have heard that there is a way you can twist the stirrups so that your knees dont hurt. Can anyone help?
You are correct. Neatsfoot oil will soften but the process actually breaks down the leather fibers. Not cool for a long lasting, safe saddle!

I agree with the broomstick - or if your tack area is not large enough, you can also use a bungee cord. BUT you must first wet the leather. Murphys oil soap works just fine!
 
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