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Replacing My Favourite (Unlined) Leathers

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  • Replacing My Favourite (Unlined) Leathers

    My favourite leathers are an old (pushing 20 years) pair of thick, wide, single ply stirrup leathers with no stamp, no hole numbers, no discernible markings, and they are finally on their last legs. But I am struggling to find something similar.

    I have a strong dislike for the current trend of narrow lined/wrapped leathers. They twist way easier than my single ply ones, and the leather always ends up separating from the nylon core. I also find that they leave a lump under my thigh even with the low profile buckles because the extra thickness of the nonstretch core makes them not lay as flat as the single ply leathers with regular buckles.

    I'm not terribly concerned about stretching because I switch my leathers around frequently, mount from a high block that allows me to swing a leg and sit without putting weight in the stirrup, and I rarely use oil.

    I considered Millbrook or Total Saddle Fit "stability" leathers, but have seen the damage that Millbrook leathers have done to saddle flaps, and I seem to be in between sizes of the TSF leathers. I did see that Gary Mundy is making integral fender leathers now, and would be interested to hear if anyone has tried them yet and how they seem to be on the saddle flaps.

    I really like the thickness/weight of the Millbrook leathers, and how nice and snug they are under the stirrup bars. So it's a shame they scratch the crap out of the flaps (and in some cases, people's boots).

    Are there brands out there that are still making nice heavy single ply stirrup leathers? Or are there wide but not bulky lined leathers that lay nice and flat under your leg?
    Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
    Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe

  • #2
    Have you tried Stubben? Years ago I had leathers that sound exactly like your current ones on my Stubben Siegfried. I’m not sure if they were Stubben as well or some no name brand. Also back in my junior days there were Red Devil leathers that we’re very popular, they were wide and flat and similar to what you are looking for but I’m not sure the brand still exists almost 50 years later.


    • #3
      I ride in unlined leathers as well. Mine are Tory, but I’m not seeing them online anywhere. Might be worth a call to Tory directly to see where to purchase. Otherwise 1” stirrup leathers are common to find.

      My adventures as a working rider


      • #4
        I ride in a calf-skin covered saddle (Pegasus Butterfly Claudia jumping saddle.) I also have been using the Millbrook leathers on this saddle for 2 1/2 years.

        Are there some rub marks on the flaps--yes. But these stirrup leathers have not destroyed the calf-skin.

        One reason for this may be because when I got the stirrup leathers I conditioned them with lard, just lard, and I periodically work lard into the saddle flap. The lard seems to soften those hard edges better than anything else but it still takes a lot of working the lard into the leather. I started off with the lard right when I got them--first larding work it in, letting it soak in, repeat and repeat again. Then I put the leathers on the saddle and rode with them. In the past 2 1/2 years I repeated the larding every time I switched the leathers from one side to another, around every six months or so.

        I have MS. The Millbrook leathers have helped my stability in the saddle and my lower leg does not get quite as bad as it used to. The first pair I ordered (and I went by their sizing chart AND called the lady) were too short for me. You see I had been using a pair of calf-skin covered leathers and I ended up with bony lumps on my shins where the leathers crossed my lower leg. I got the Millbrook leathers JUST for the width so my shin bones would start to heal. I ended up with the longest leather the Millbrook people sell, the wide part crosses my shin bone, and since then my lower leg has been much, much more comfortable when I ride. The bony lumps have gotten smaller too.

        I gave my first pair to the riding stable where I take lessons. Apparently the saddle with the too short for me Millbrook leathers is quite popular among her adult female riders for their lessons.

        I am 5'3" tall, long thigh, and I ride Forward Seat with pretty short stirrup leathers. With the recommended length the end of the stirrup leather ended up just 3 holes from the buckle, and since the leather is so thick I found that uncomfortable. The wide part was just under my thigh and the thinner part of the leather crossed my shin-bones. The longest leathers the Millbrook people sell worked SO MUCH BETTER for me. With the recommended length I would never have been able to get my stirrups long enough for dressage, with the longer ones I can lengthen the leathers several holes and still feel comfortable in the saddle.


        • #5
          Mill brook doesn’t have a return policy but tsf does. You could always try one length and if it doesn’t work return them for the longer pair. I have the ovation stability stirrups on my saddle and it’s not too bad.


          • #6
            Perri's makes them, available from Amazon.

            Also, Apple Saddlery carries some by Bells that are very nice (I use these and love them).


            • #7
              I have a newish pair like this that came from Richvale. Maybe contact Richvale Express and see if they are still doing them now that Ian is retired?
              Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


              • #8
                I'm with you, I hate the bulky lined leathers!
                I've had good luck going to my local used tack sale and finding old unlined leathers there, and for pretty cheap.


                • #9
                  I have Gary Mundy leathers that are unlined and (I think) 3/4" wide. I love them, not least because I have legs of "in-between" length and I could specify the exact length and where the holes were punched. They have not stretched a bit, even though I adore leaning to the left. 🤷
                  Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.