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Blergh - new saddle issues. Again. UPDATED!

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  • Blergh - new saddle issues. Again. UPDATED!

    But not the typical not fitting issue. Alas? Some of you may remember that in early fall I got a Circuit Premier Special Eq from Dover and loved it, but had to send it to them to look at because the dye seemed to be coming off when I cleaned it. Apparently they found I wasn't crazy, as they sent me a new one, which had been test cleaned in the store - and has some streakiness to prove it.

    The first time I tried to clean it, I saw a ton of streaks, but the sponge didn't come away brown so I ignored it - the streaks mostly went away after applying some conditioner. Some people here recommended trying castile soap instead of the Belvoir cleaner, and today I went to try that - I started on the under flap, in case anything happened. And lo, it did - huge pale patches and streaks. After going over it with a lightly damp sponge - I hadn't even gotten to using the soap. They're mostly gone now, after, again, applying conditioner. Mostly.

    Anyone have ANY clue? Is the leather just dry, somehow, despite being a 3 month old saddle? But wouldn't it get darker, not lighter? Is the dye on new saddles unstable and I shouldn't try to clean it for awhile? I'm beyond frustrated, and sure Dover is going to be mighty annoyed when I contact them again with an issue that supposedly should not be happening again!

    I took some pics before the conditioner - you can see them in this Flickr set:


    Last edited by RolyPolyPony; Feb. 25, 2013, 03:40 PM.

  • #2
    Hmmmm... I have a Buffalo leather Devoucoux that behaves that way. I bought it used, so I do not know what the former owner used on it before I had it. Anytime I put water on it (either purposefully while cleaning it, or it gets raindrops on it), it turns light colored everywhere the water touched...streaky when I clean it. Nothing comes off on the sponge and the discoloration actually goes away on it's own when it dries...instantly if I put Lederbalsam on it.

    I really don't know what causes it, but it isn't dye coming off. I do suspect that the owner before me was over oiling it, as it was a bit gummy when it arrived. I've put no oil on it since (and probably never will) and it's very slowly "degumming" with use, no additional oil and regular wiping with a damp sponge. My guess is that my streakiness is something coming to the surface?


    • #3
      I think the above as well. Bought a used all calf Antares and it was really gummy. Same thing happened.

      I read in the description of that saddle that it is "pre oiled" so who knows what they put on it in India.


      • #4
        Did you condition those surfaces with neatsfoot oil? Yes, I mean the underside, the "next to the animal" side of the leather.

        It just looks dry to me.

        And some so-so quality leather can be Perma-Thirsty. Some old, Argentine-made Pessoa saddles were like this. You had to use more neatsfoot more often than on most saddles to make the leather look normal and feel supple.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          Personally I'd get out a can of olive oil and oil the heck out of the thing and deal with the color for the next few months before I'd send back a saddle and have to deal with breaking one in again... that's assuming that you like riding in the saddle.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks, all - I did email Dover with the pics to see what they think might be going on. Who knows what the thing is pre-oiled with, or what! When I do the bending test, the leather doesn't _look_ dry, and in general it doesn't feel dry, but like I've said, I've never seen anything like this before!

            Ideally they'll be able to tell me if they think it's something about how it's pre-oiled, or if they think it's some sort of dryness issue! I just don't want to do anything to it yet for fear that it makes it worse and then Dover won't take it back at all!

            As to the breaking in - I only get to ride 2x a week, so the thing isn't really that broken in yet


            • #7
              Please keep us posted! I just ordered this saddle yesterday!


              • Original Poster

                I will, maverick!

                Assuming that it really was my bad luck to get two dye lemons and it's not a batch issue, you'll love the saddle - it's really fantastic.


                • Original Poster

                  Update: So Dover has been wonderful about this, and is taking the saddle back for a full refund. The saddle consultant I spoke to asked me to tell her exactly what I did so she could try it on some of the others and see what happened - she said she'll report back to me about what she finds. This all happened late last week so we'll see what she says.

                  Alas, now I'm back to square one with saddle shopping!


                  • #10
                    That sucks; but it is nice to hear a good dover customer service store despite the crappy situation. Aren't there a lot of saddles in the circuit line - maybe you should try a different one? Or order the same saddle from a different store - possibly that store just has a bad batch. Did you check online reviews? Horse people are usually good at letting the rest of us know about any relevant issues!
                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                    • Original Poster

                      @Event4Life - strangely, there are no reports of this dye issue, which makes me wonder if I really did just somehow get TWO bad ones!! A friend in Canada, though has said she's seen reports of it, but I haven't seen it myself. And these are tough to find in the store, at least the fwd flap ones.

                      Alas, the other Circuits don't come in a fwd flap option, which I need.


                      • #12
                        Um, my Bruno Delgrange looks like that under the flaps. And if I scrub the top of the flap, it will lighten up...but goes right back to the regular color once I'm done. In other words, the top of the flap is fairly even in color...the under side of teh flap is NOT.AT.ALL.

                        I think maybe you have unrealistic expectations...especially for the price range of that saddle. I don't think there is really anything wrong. My friend has one of Circuit Premiers. I'll have to clean it this weekend for her to see if something happens (she doesn't take good care of her tack and I doubt it's been cleaned or oiled since she purchased it. She still rocks though.)
                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"