Sport Horse Spotlight

Real Estate Spotlight

Hart_Barn 1

Sale Spotlight

  • Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.


No announcement yet.

Turning/twisting fender/stirrups

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Turning/twisting fender/stirrups

    What is the best way to soften the leather on the saddle fenders to turn or twist them? New saddle and leather is very stiff. I really need to shorten the fenders but the new leather is so stiff that I can't even get the leather to slide where it attaches to the saddle so that I can adjust them.

  • #2
    I would try saddle soap and either neatsfoot oil or some other leather saddle conditioner. You can also store the saddle with a broom handle run through the stirrups to keep them and the fenders turned in the right way to be comfortable.

    NB: I haven't tried this personally but I've had it recommended to me by others. I do like neatsfoot oil on boots and bridlework.

    The broomstick and other methods are recommended by Horse Saddle Shop:

    Good luck!

    Also, Number 2 on this list:

    Rack on!


    • Original Poster

      Thanks, I have the broom stick in them now but the fenders are so stiff that doing anything with them is difficult.


      • #4
        The broom stick works best if you add a weight to the stick.

        We use an old metal can, hung by the wire handle and full of eye hooks.
        Weighs just right to help keep the fenders turned on the stick.

        Best if you wet the fenders first.

        If the saddle has not been oiled well at the saddle store, we generally use neatsfoot oil liberally on a new saddle, let it soak a little, then glycerin soap it to help seal the oil in there.

        Neatsfoot oil will darken the color a bit if you use too much, so try first in a hidden spot.
        Not all leather has been processed the same, you can get surprises when you add any products to it.


        • #5
          Broomstick method, tried and true. Use plain water to wet the leather on both sides of the fenders. To loosen them up in general, you need to manipulate them, meaning, twist, turn, roll, fold. Resist the urge to overcondition, it just gets gloppy and stays stiff. Keep it in a warm place, warm the leather and the conditioner to aid absorption and remember LIGHT coats fully absorbed before adding more. Oh, it’s hard but you need to pull those fenders down to expose the leathers where they go over the bars to get them conditioned. It’s hard, Small paintbrush dipped in light oil can be worked up in that area, usually pretty “ thirsty” so multiple coats.

          And use water on both sides of the fenders so it does get damp enough to take the twist and set from the broomstick.

          Best way to really soften things is ride in the saddle. Have to tell you setting those fenders won’t solve your problems if they are too long for you. I got kid fenders on mine.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            I always give a new saddle (or new-to-me) a good leather conditioner, and then stick the broom handle through it.

            I have small dowels I've bought at hardward stores that I keep in my horse trailer and always keep on a saddle or two, all the time. Seems to keep the ones turned that need to stay turned. My newer saddles are pre-turned and good, but I have a couple older saddles that do better when I keep them turned.

            Also, I often will FOLD the leather on the fenders (for lack of a better term) which also seems to help. This picture is not my saddle, but just one I found on Google that seems to show how there is a crease/bend in the stirrup leather fender itself (toward the bottom) that helps them keep the stirrups turned. Does that make sense?
            It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


            • #7
              I use baling twine to hold the fender bottom bent back when forming them.
              It doesn't make a crease, it bends back all along where the crease is in that picture.

              The reason for stirrups needing that twist is that without it, you fight them all along and it is very hard on your knees to have to ride doing that.
              Last edited by Bluey; Dec. 20, 2019, 07:47 PM.


              • #8
                Water for twisting.
                for sliding it through the tree to shorten, lots of elbow grease and maybe a friend to hold the saddle for you.


                • #9
                  Better to buy new youth size fenders if you are short legged, than cut off the full size fenders. You can sell the original fender pair alone or keep them to throw in with the saddle when you want to sell it. I sold the kid size 13 inch seat western saddle with 2pr of fenders. Boys seem to get longer legged, still need the smaller seat, so longer stirrup, youth fenders were needed to replace the "kiddy" length of original fenders.

                  I have turned down a lot of western saddles with cut-off fenders, when looking to buy saddles. Cut-off fenders won't let out enough for my "normal", though slightly long, leg length.

                  Have to say watching other folks saddles, kids or small adults riding them, that the cut-off fenders do not seem to swing freely, pulled up tight to the saddle bars. Thick cut leather down by the stirrup neck, is much stiffer to fold around (no extra length there anymore) to get stirrups hanging bent around where you can just slip your foot into it, left or right side of horse.

                  We replaced young daughter's adult size fenders with youth sized fenders after she outgrew the 13 inch seat saddle. She moved up to a 14 inch seat, western saddle. Youth fenders were easily bent into place, STAYED bent for comfortable riding while she was small. They swung freely for her to use her legs to cue her horse as needed, very important to ME, so horse could do what she requested of them. We just put the adult fenders back on her saddle when her legs got longer to fit them..


                  • Original Poster

                    I think the adult size will fit me but the person that put the fenders on for me just did not slide enough leather through the bar.

                    I have it sitting with a weighted metal bar holding the stirrups now.

                    Thanks for suggestions.


                    • #11
                      Ditto the broom handle, it worked wonders on an old saddle that hadn't been used in over 20 years. Neetsfoot oil has always been my go-to for softening leather, just make sure (in my experience) that you get the 100% pure oil, and not a combination of synthetic oils.and give at least 24 hours in between treatments, or it can make the leather "gummy".
                      If you don't have the time to brush it on there, just a rag with warm water and a bit of saddle soap then threading the broom handle through stirrups can do the trick.