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We recently bought a hand-made western saddle for my husband and his horse.  It had one previous owner, it was made for him as a gift about 15 years ago.  The saddle has been stored inside but not cleaned or oiled regularly, certainly not in the last 10 years I reckon.  The leather is as stiff as a board - you have to fight with the fender to get the stirrup on the horn lol

The leather is a beautiful light caramel colour and it has some scratches and gouges here and there.  The shearling may also have to be replaced as the wool is starting to come off in places.  Interestingly, the saddle comes out darker in the photo :wacko:

On my own saddle I use leather conditioner, NF oil and glycerine soap.  However, knowing that NF oil can darken leather over time, we are wondering if there are any other oils that can be used on leather that will preserve the original colour on the new saddle.

Also, what products are available to restore the leather from the scratches and gouges (they almost look like mousey teeth-marks!) - are there fillers or the like?  The same as you can get for wood?

We've recently restored a McClellan saddle which was also "stiff as a board" but we didn't mind the colour darkening so we used NF oil.

Look forward to any help, tips or advice that you can give us :rolleyes:

We're in France so we may not be able to get hold of some of the products a lot of you may use in the US :(

Thanks in advance :)


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Nice saddle!  When I picked up an old beauty that was super stiff I scrubbed it down good with water and saddle soap then used passier lederbalsam on it and it came out beautifully without darkening the leather.  Good luck!

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