The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2007
    Posts
    159

    Default Ways to make a new saddle grippy and soft?

    I just bought a new saddle and am working on breaking it in. It's a Barnsby Pro Seat and has the normal leather (as opposed to calf leather).

    I've been oiling it every few days, and it's soaking up the oil like crazy.

    Is there anything else I can do to speed up the break-in process or to enhance the "grippyness" of the saddle?

    I did a search and didn't find anything, but I'd love to hear what other people use.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
    Location
    Plainview, MN
    Posts
    3,586

    Default

    Don't use oil use Oakwoods or Ultra Leather Conditioner or Passier Lederbalsam. All of them are pastes that will soften the leather and leave the surface slightly tacky.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2002
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    5,249

    Default

    I rarely, if ever, use oil on my tack. Think about it....leather is skin, right? Do you oil your skin? I use a balsam type conditioner, my favorite being the Oakwood. And ride in it. A lot.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2003
    Location
    WA, Land of the damp Thongpend
    Posts
    2,451

    Default

    I oil new tack. Saddles, bridles, girths. I specifically use Hydrophane Leather dressing. Oakwood contains emu oil, lanolin and beeswax, Lederbalsam contains lanolin and beeswax and avacado oil. I do not want lanolin or beeswax on my tack.

    I only oil new tack, several thin coats, with a saddle it takes a few days of doing thin coats. After that I use it and clean it with a damp wash cloth after every use and put a thin coat of glycerin soap on the leather. I take a cheap sponge, dampen it, wring it out really well, rub the sponge on the glycerin bar ( I prefer Belvoir) until there is a tacky spot on the sponge, then apply it to the leather. Glycerine soap is not supposed to foam and be used like a soap you would use to give a bath, it should be used as the final step in tack cleaning. That will also make it a little tacky.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
    Location
    Plainview, MN
    Posts
    3,586

    Default

    Neatsfoot oil is rendered from cattle feet and legs, and neatsfoot oil compound is neatsfoot oil blended with mineral oil, a petroleum by-product. I think I would rather put lanolin from sheep's wool, beeswax from bee's glands, and a vegetable oil on my saddle



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    3,585

    Default

    I oil (Leather Therapy) many light coats over a week or so, esp. the underside and then use either the Passier Lederbalsam or the Horse Fitform (the orange container) Bienenwachs (beeswax). Apply in a warm room and leave it, or use a hairdryer on warm to get the pores or the leather to open up and and the wax/balsam to melt. I *love* the beeswax stuff, as it is grippy, I don't have to worry about spotting from the rain, and dirt just wipes off with a damp cloth. I *really* wax up my strapgoods, especially for hunting--makes cleaning a breeze, looks fabulous (polishes up with a soft cloth), and keeps my tack looking new.

    The Belvoir glycerin (bar or spray) is also a nice finish.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Posts
    1,464

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flypony74 View Post
    Think about it....leather is skin, right? .
    While very true that statement always gives me the creeps .

    It's okay to oil most new saddles just do not use Neatsfoot and do not overdo it. Put a coat on, leave the saddle out in the sun so that it warms and the pores open then once it soaks up repeat once more. After that swap to Passier Lederbalsm and it should be nice, soft and grippy in no time.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Posts
    1,464

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amastrike View Post
    Neatsfoot is fine. The neatsfoot compound is what to avoid. Really, neatsfoot makes the most sense to me--it's oil made from cows. Leather is made from cows. They're perfect for each other!
    You're right, I meant the compound. Left out a word in my post .



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    45,130

    Default

    I have also always used pure neatsfoot oil for new leather, but once, all I had at a show was Lexol and using that liberally did a great job on my new and super slick Stubben Rex I just bought.
    Saved the day, as the saddle was way too slick to show in, as I found out when I was slipping all over the first time I used it.

    I did use too much Lexol and the leather turned noodley, which scared me, but in a few days it was perfect and I am still using it, the leather in excellent shape, all these almost 40 years later.

    Don't know if I would reccommend that for a break-in program, but I know it worked for me that one time.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2003
    Location
    WA, Land of the damp Thongpend
    Posts
    2,451

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Renae View Post
    Neatsfoot oil is rendered from cattle feet and legs, and neatsfoot oil compound is neatsfoot oil blended with mineral oil, a petroleum by-product. I think I would rather put lanolin from sheep's wool, beeswax from bee's glands, and a vegetable oil on my saddle
    Where does it say I use Neatsfoot oil or even suggest she do that? I use Hydrophane, it is vegetable based. Where did anyone even mention Neatsfoot besides you?

    I don't want stuff on my saddle like lanolin and beeswax it builds up and makes a mess of the leather.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2007
    Posts
    159

    Default Thanks!

    Ok, so it sounds like I'm on the right track. I'm mostly oiling the bottom of the saddle, and it is helping.

    I will look at the other things mentioned to see which one might add the most grippiness.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! It's scary working on something as expensive as a saddle and it helps to know what others have done.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,779

    Default

    I HATE how Neatsfoot feels and how it acts on leather. May be made from cows, but leaves leather feeling nasty. Just because it is traditional, lots of folks use it, doesn't mean it is a good product. Any harness or leather I have seen Neatsfooted, feels creepy. Dry top surfaces but oily, not smooth and soft like it should. Can be hard on stitching too, it can deteriorate over time. Much modern use of nylon or synthetic threads in products, instead of the old waxed linen threads.

    I have used Lexol conditioner for many years, and it does a nice job. Does take several coats to soak in well, then buffed off with a rag. I have some very elderly tack that looks excellent, used often, in great shape. I use the same, several coats, on new leather, both sides, to get it comfortable to use. Lexol can make older things a little limp for a short time, but I never worried about them staying dead feeling. It dries out, leaving leather flexible, soft the way I like it.

    I have been using Harness Honey recently. Seems to be as good as the Lexol, but only needs one coat. Does take a little drying time too, then buff off. A bit sticky on the hands, since I rub everything in by hand, no rags. I just bought a gallon more, lots of harness and some saddles to clean up now that winter is here.

    Both Lexol and Harness Honey do GREAT on the hands for moisturizing! Husband refuses to condition leather, they take off his calluses, so his hands get sore while working! Neither has any effect on threads that I have seen over the years.

    I sure would never leave Neatsfoot on my hands when done using it, nasty feeling like I poured 3-in-One oil on them. Maybe Neatsfoot, pure or compound is made from cows parts, sure feels like a petroleum product to me.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
    Posts
    2,013

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flypony74 View Post
    Think about it....leather is skin, right? Do you oil your skin?
    Why yes I do! This stuff is the best!!!

    http://www.strawberrynet.com/product...affiliate=4465



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
    Posts
    10,900

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amastrike View Post
    *shrugs* I use Neatsfoot. I didn't mention it, because I figure Neatsfoot is a given when talking about oil and tack.
    I don't care for it myself and there are many other oils besides Neatsfoot that can be used in place of it, including olive oil.

    Regardless of what product I use to clean my tack I like to finish by polishing it with a good glycerine, which seems to add to the grippiness of the saddle.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,917

    Default

    If you live in the south, I'd avoid anything neatsfoot based. No one I know has had positive experiences with it. It molds quickly in the summer... unless you are lucky enugh to have AC in the tack room. I once lent my new bridle to someone up north, she neatsfooted it ( really think she soaked it), and I had to really WASH it to prevent molding after only two eves int he tack room!!! It's OK now, but I cringe when I think what I did to it to get the oil down to a reasonable level. It no longer molds, and it nicely soft (not limp, as it was when it returned).
    L



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    3,051

    Default

    I rubbed a bit of saddle soap on my Barnsby when it was newish and slick. (I bought it on consignment, and think it had been treated with something)

    Just moistened the bar and rubbed it on with my fingers. Had to do it every ride for a while, but it worked fine.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2007
    Posts
    159

    Default

    Thanks again for all the info! I'm liking the amount of oil the saddle has now, but it still feels stiff. Obviously riding in it will help that, but I might try some Lexol as well, as people seem to be saying that that makes it soft.
    I'm afraid to use saddle-tight or things like that on it yet, but I'd really like a little more grippy-ness soon.
    Have I mentioned that I *hate* breaking in saddles... hmm, that might be a great business for someone. Send them your new saddle, they break it in and send it back... as a business model it has some obvious flaws, but I can dream, right?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2005
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    1,012

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WombatCA View Post
    Have I mentioned that I *hate* breaking in saddles... hmm, that might be a great business for someone. Send them your new saddle, they break it in and send it back... as a business model it has some obvious flaws, but I can dream, right?
    This is why I buy used! The only problem is that you still have to get it broken in to *your* butt. I oil my tack--lots of thin coats of Blue Ribbon oil (loff it!) painted on with a paintbrush, let dry, repeat. After that I go with the glycerin soap method others have mentioned; that adds the grippiness.



Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Jun. 7, 2012, 10:46 AM
  2. Ways to make money for a dressage saddle?
    By aseventing in forum Eventing
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Apr. 24, 2012, 01:27 PM
  3. Replies: 25
    Last Post: Mar. 28, 2011, 06:47 PM
  4. Ways to make Dressage more interesting...
    By AnastasiaBeaverhousen in forum Dressage
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jul. 15, 2010, 09:47 PM
  5. Ways to Make Your Horse Extra Happy?
    By home is where the horse is in forum Off Course
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: May. 17, 2010, 08:55 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •