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Breaking in cheap tack for training

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  • Breaking in cheap tack for training

    So I had a horse with a rearing and flipping horse brought to me last year for training, I purchased a cheap "Paris Tack" saddle in the event he flipped and starting breaking tree's etc.

    The saddle flocking was actually surprisingly good, much better than you would think for the price, it was actually comfortable to bop around in for the 15-20 minute sessions I was doing on the horse to work on his rearing after ground work however it is a CHEAP saddle, the leather hasn't broken in at all and the thing squeaks.... which was nice to get some breakers used to the noises and movement of tack on the lunge etc.

    My question is... does anyone have tips for breaking in not so great tack?

    The saddle fits one of my students horses exceptionally well so I would like to give it to her. He is very comfortable in it (surprising for a horse that I came to know as his Massage Therapist due to a lot of saddle fitting issues) but my poor student gets bruises from the stiff skirt.

  • #2
    Get a can of Effax and apply it daily. It works great.
    Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!



    • Original Poster

      I have been using the leather oil however it seems to sit on top ... I will try the leather-soft, I just ordered some to see


      • #4
        Try neatsfoot oil as well. Not recommended for high-quality, soft leather, but it seems to work great on the cheap stuff. Just pour it on, rub it in, and set the saddle in the sun. Repeat lots of times. Do keep in mind, your saddle will darken from the Neatsfoot.
        Your premier source for quality used and consignment saddles


        • #5
          Most neatsfoot oil compounds have petroleum-based oils in them and will eventually degrade leather.

          Cheap vegetable oil works just as well and obviously has no hydrocarbons.


          • Original Poster

            Thank you guys!


            • #7
              Originally posted by horseymichelle View Post
              Try neatsfoot oil as well. Not recommended for high-quality, soft leather, but it seems to work great on the cheap stuff. Just pour it on, rub it in, and set the saddle in the sun. Repeat lots of times. Do keep in mind, your saddle will darken from the Neatsfoot.
              This. It did wonders for a friends stiff Stubben bridle. Plus, she wanted black and it looks almost black now.


              • #8
                Roll the flap and skirt when you oil it. Manipulate the heck out of all bendable leather. It really helps.


                • #9
                  I have had great success using lard, just working it into the leather. I have brought back saddles that were dried out by using just lard. I do one application to the smooth side of the leather for every two or three applications to the rough side of the leather. It may take a lot of rubbing to get it into inferior leather, good leather just drinks it up.

                  Warning, avoid getting lard on the metal, and do not get the lard on rubber. It also gets the black dye out of black leather.


                  • #10
                    Hot neatsfoot oil. Heat it and liberally apply it. As many times as is necessary.


                    • #11
                      Does the leather seem to have a coating of some sort on it? That may be impeding the leather from absorbing oils. I have stripped (gasp - used non-acetone nail polish remover very sparingly) the finish on a saddle that had been coated with something to hide how bad of shape it's leather was. It is still kicking as a lesson saddle today.
                      A proud friend of bar.ka.


                      • #12
                        Most tack sold at that price point (inlcuding some of the HDR & Toulouse etc tack) is coated, so you need to first strip the coating & then start the oiling process.


                        • #13
                          Apply the oil, conditioner, etc., on the UNDERSIDE of the leather. The saddle is likely coated with something to make it look pretty, which can block conditioners. Rolling/bending the leather will "soften" it, as it breaks the leather fibers and makes the leather limper. Low-quality is genrtally large-pored, which makes it absorb ANYTHING quickly, once the anything actually touches the leather. This will happen instantaneously on the untreated UNDERSIDE of the leather.


                          • #14
                            I read once (in Steinkraus' first book, I think) the best and quickest way to break in leather is to get it wet (as in ride it into the river or pond), then when drying, oil it well...

                            I've never had the courage... but a friend did it with one of the cheaper Crosby's, then, when the saddle was wet, took a wire brush to it (very carefully). It came out PERFECT and was wonderfully comfortable and not slippery!!

                            To repeat, I've never had the courage...
                            co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!