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View Full Version : Considering a brown dressage saddle- thoughts?



HER
Jun. 22, 2011, 02:43 PM
I have found a used model of the dressage saddle that I have been drooling over. At about half the price of any other used ones of this type that I've found. It's most likely a good deal because it's about 12 years old, and quite a light brown. I've always pictured brown dressage saddles as a dark brown but this is significatly lighter than I had imagined. I just can't decide how it would look in the ring. I know looks are not all that important, so I'm wondering if we can rock a lighter brown dressage saddle and hopefully some sort of matching bridle because it may be the closest to getting a better dressage saddle that I'll ever be. Thoughts?
Helen

kcrubin
Jun. 22, 2011, 02:58 PM
I think it would depend on the overall picture. Horse color, coat color.
I think it could be done nicely but in certain situations it could be harder to get that classy put together look and detract from the overall picture. Probably harder to resell too.

scubed
Jun. 22, 2011, 03:03 PM
I go with all black (including jumping saddle) because it makes it easy to match everything, but if it is a pretty "standard" brown color and you think you would be happy with how it looks on your horse, I would say go for it. Finding just the saddle you want at a budget saving price point is worth color concession unless it will make you unhappy on a daily basis.

Big_Grey_hunter
Jun. 22, 2011, 03:07 PM
You can always get it died black, or you can significantly darken the color.

Orignially posted by Flyracer in this thread: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=261610&highlight=mink+oil

"Ok, I already posted this on the other thread, but I'm an accomplished copy and paster!
Also, hydrophane is not that great at darkening oil in my one time experience with it and yes it was the "darkening" kind. It's just marketing!

Quote from myself:
Kristiebee, you should be able to darken your bridle no problem. The aramas bridles do take a little longer because they have a well sealed finish on them, but you shouldn't have to resort to something drastic like stripping with ammonia! I have yet to find a bridle that won't darkent (then again I don't touch pessoa bridles )

1st off, get yourself some mink oil. It's better than hydrophane in my experience because it penetrates better which gives a more even tone with out requiring re-oiling every week.

What I do with a really stubborn (I mean, high quality) bridle, is take it apart. One at a time I place each part in the oven (on the lowest setting, with the door propped open, and I never leave the kitchen with leather in the oven) The goal is to open up the finish. The leather should NEVER get so hot you can't take it out with your hands!

Then straight from the oven, I run it through a bowl of mink oil. Then and the most important part, is to roll the leather. Roll it up, bend it in half, stretch it ect. When you do, notice the bent area will become lighter colored while bent. This is when you have the leather open to accept the oil BELOW the finish. Rub in the oil with lots of elbow grease. Pushing hard on the leather will help it go deeper. Dip and rub the leather in all positions to achieve an even color. Sometimes you need three hands to do this . And don't worry if get some mink oil on your jeans, it washes out better than any oil I've had. In fact, it's the only oil thats ever washed out! After the leather is "full" for the day, top dress with a heavy coat of leather balsam and hang for the night. repeat the process daily until the desired color is achieved. This usually take about 5 days/ 5-7 hours total with an Aramas.

Having the leather dry at the start is key. When people put bridles in a bag of oil in the sun, they have the right idea but the leather becomes too hydrated on the top and it's almost as if that creates a barrier to deeper penetration. And the farther the oil goes in, the darker the color you will get. Bending dry (not dried out!!!) leather will make it soak it up.

Also, if the oven scares you, use a blow dryer. It works almost as well, just takes twice as long. Set it on medium though, because you want the heat to go deeper, not just make the finish really hot.

If you accidently get the leather too dry in the process, don't worry. Spray with lexol conditioner (don't use an oil or a balsam) and let sit for 10 minutes. Then continue. Really dry leather is what will crack, but I've never cracked leather before. In theory, it is something to watch out for though.

If in the end, you decide it is too much work to get to your desired color, you won't be affecting the bridle's value, because the above system is really good at making the color even and therefore natural looking.

If your curious on how I put the saddle in the oven, I didn't . I used a blow dryer so I could do one part at a time. The seat is the hardest to darken, becaue you roll up the leather (the flaps are soo easy) so I spent hours pushing the oil into the seat. Until it was all even colored. It took two bottle of mink oil and half a bottle of lexol conditioner, plus some belvior balsam. I have before and after picutres.. I'll try and post them this afternoon. I've done a lot of bridles, dozens, but I've never don't before and after photos.

PS the biggest risk of getting the bridle too hot is "melting" gluing in the bridle. I've done this once and it was gross. Ironically it was because I left it in the back seat of the truck after showing. This bridle had already been in the oven with out a problem. Since it was less than a week old the company, Smartpak, took the bridle back and replaced it just because I mentioned it in a review, not because I asked them too. They even paid for return shipping and overnighted the new one because I was showing. They insisted they wanted the bridle back so they could evaluate the problem. I was very impressed.

Let me know if this link works. New Link:

http://community.webshots.com/album/577968496VjrgAw "

quietann
Jun. 22, 2011, 03:11 PM
Brown saddles can look lovely on the right colored horse.

I have a dark palomino and wish I could find a brown dressage saddle that fit both of us, because she looks awesome in brown tack.

HER
Jun. 22, 2011, 03:23 PM
He is a bay, so black does look nice- but I was wondering about darkening it and maybe using a black saddle pad- that might give me a picture I'm happy with.

FoxChaser
Jun. 22, 2011, 03:26 PM
Is it a Schleese Wave in brown? If so, I've been wondering the same thing :) No worries, I'm holding out for a black one, but Flyracer sure shows that you can indeed oil it dark. Wow!!!

HER
Jun. 22, 2011, 04:01 PM
Wow is what I thought too! No, it's a Devoucoux Makila. :)

kcmel
Jun. 22, 2011, 04:06 PM
I LOVE brown dressage saddles. I so want one. I have a bay too. I was even thinking of a black jumping saddle and a brown dressage saddle, just to be different;). But I don't really need either.

Hilary
Jun. 22, 2011, 05:04 PM
I have a brown Roosli. I would love it if it was pink. It's that comfortable.

If you love how you ride in it and it fits your horse, get a brown bridle and you'll look great.

Xctrygirl
Jun. 22, 2011, 05:39 PM
I LOVE brown dressage saddles. I so want one. I have a bay too. I was even thinking of a black jumping saddle and a brown dressage saddle, just to be different;). But I don't really need either.

PM me.... Mine is sitting unloved in my basement.

Not looking to sell.... but as I am switching away from eventing...... and we're both in Unionville....


~Em

enjoytheride
Jun. 22, 2011, 05:41 PM
Ermmm, most jumping saddles are brown and nobody cares if they match the horse or not.

The only thing I'd care about is getting a matching bridle because I'm matchy matchy. Otherwise, resale will be cheaper because brown isn't as popular.

kcmel
Jun. 22, 2011, 07:28 PM
Brown is the new black:cool:.

CdnRider
Jun. 22, 2011, 07:39 PM
I have an OLD brown Stubben dressage saddle. I just had it restuffed. No one has ever comented on it and I used in on my very dark bay (almost black) mare and now my chestnut. I'd love a new saddle but this one fits and does the trick! Brown bridles are easy to come by, you can order anything online!

fanfayre
Jun. 22, 2011, 09:19 PM
It's JUST a colour. If it fits the horse, fits you, and the price is right, why haven't you bought it already? ;)

Noctis
Jun. 22, 2011, 09:45 PM
I have a brown County dressage saddle and I LOVE it. Also got it for an absolute STEAL. But it looks LOVELY on my pony, and there is no way I could have afforded it if it was full price!

Far_North_Equestrian
Jun. 22, 2011, 10:51 PM
I love brown. I always wanted to cusom order a bates Isabell in brown - but I am too poor so I just keep my synthetic!

If you like the saddle, and it fits - GO FOR IT!! Just match your bridle :)

HER
Jun. 23, 2011, 12:18 AM
Oh don't worry- I've got plenty of brown bridles :)
Now to convince the husband...:eek:

allison finch
Jun. 23, 2011, 01:53 AM
I LOVE my brown dressage saddle.

BTW, I have never seen a collective mark for "what color is your tack".

http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w162/allisonfinch_photos/HotdayattheCDI-Wcloser.jpg

Please forgive the bib....it was 90+ degrees!!

faybe
Jun. 23, 2011, 01:58 AM
Another brown lover! Mine is darker (lots of oiling over the years!), but it sure sounds like you could oil yours down if you really disliked the color (and it sounds like you're sold on it in all other regards). FWIW I also have a bay and think he looks quite nice in all brown. I like all brown for the same reason scubed likes all black- I don't have to mix and match, it's all the same (esp since he goes in the same bit all three phases).

Also, it may be just the way my brain works, but I rarely notice tack color on horses, at shows or in photos, unless something is mismatched or the overall appearance is sloppy. If you're nicely turned out, who cares what color it is?

nomeolvides
Jun. 23, 2011, 08:03 AM
I love brown tack! It looks quite striking for dressage, as there is so much black tack. Here is Don Charly in brown (http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/iI4_nnkmv7R/London+International+Horse+Show/5BEOvlhFqq9/Minna+Telde).

Wee Dee Trrr
Jun. 23, 2011, 08:05 PM
I have all brown tack (including dressage saddle) on my fleabitten grey. I think it looks great. :)

ShadyLover
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:17 PM
Nothing wrong with Brown tack :). I hear it's all the rave in Europe right now!

Fancy That
Jun. 25, 2011, 01:39 AM
It's JUST a colour. If it fits the horse, fits you, and the price is right, why haven't you bought it already? ;)

What FF said above!!

Also - I'm a Hunter Peep that went to the Dark Side and I dabble in Eventing. But I'm USED TO BROWN TACK!!! I love how a nice Brown Dressage Saddle looks, and if I ever get a dressage saddle, I WANT BROWN.

I have beautiful BROWN BRIDLES and BROWN JUMPING/CLOSE CONTACT saddle.....so why would I want to buy a black dressage saddle? It would force me to have to go buy a black bridle! :)

Plus my mare is chocolate liver chestnut with a silvery mane and tail...... she would look WORSE in black.

Old Fashioned
Jun. 25, 2011, 07:46 AM
You can get some really great deals in brown!

Canaqua
Jun. 25, 2011, 08:09 AM
I bought a lovely, used, BROWN, Roosli dressage saddle a couple of weeks ago, for less than 1/2 of what they usually go for, because it is brown and has short billets. Just what I wanted, because the rest of the tack is brown and I don't need a new, short, girth! It looks nice on the dark bay and the brown leather seems nicer than the black on some Rooslis of the same vintage.

Fancy That
Jun. 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
Good for you - you are being practical! I too, wouldn't want to have to buy a black bridle and dressage girth. I should do what you did (just find a nice brown with short billets....then I could use the rest of my jumping tack!)

I think the brown can have such a beautiful "pattina", compared to black. AND the black saddles can fade/wear to that ugly greenish/greyish color - yuck.

Anyways - I know black is "normal", but I just love brown.


I bought a lovely, used, BROWN, Roosli dressage saddle a couple of weeks ago, for less than 1/2 of what they usually go for, because it is brown and has short billets. Just what I wanted, because the rest of the tack is brown and I don't need a new, short, girth! It looks nice on the dark bay and the brown leather seems nicer than the black on some Rooslis of the same vintage.

VicariousRider
Jun. 25, 2011, 03:49 PM
As a former H/J rider I have always PREFERRED brown... AND I DO think that appearance matters... to a degree. :) My dressage tack is black, however, and I have grown to love it.

BUT: I think you should go for it. Having the right saddle is much more important than having the right colored saddle, IMO. If the cost difference is that significant that the black one is prohibitive then get the brown one. I think that you will look great and the judge will care much more about your beautiful position and lovely test than the color of your tack... don't you love cot-benefit analysis?

I would advise against the black saddle pad, though. I think it will make the brown of the saddle MORE obvious. Color is usually only perceived in relationship to what is around it (for that reason you won't realize how creamy something is until it's next to a bright white). I would go for a nice white pad.

If the color bothers you then you can try to darken it but I would not aim to make it black but focus on deepening the brown. I had to do this as a kid with some nasty newmarket colored leather so it would match my other tack and it worked.