chele

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How do I get it off my beautiful tooled saddle?

I helped my BIL work calves yesterday. Moving the cows out of the bog my horse laid down in the black stinky sticky disgusting mud. It does not come off easy. I washed it off my back cinch with plain water, scrubbing with a sponge, but now the leather is darkened. I still have mud on the lower part of my left fender and stirrup. How do I get it off without darkening the leather?

Edited by chele

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The leather darkened because it got wet. Once cleaned, wet ALL of the individual piece (skirt, jockey, etc) that you plan to clean evenly. Then, as it's just drying to the touch, wipe a LIGHT coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (ONLY extra virgin, or your leather will get real nasty) over the leather, fleshside AND grain side.

Hope that helps.

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Crud.

Thanks RollingThunder. I was hoping there was some miracle potion that would not darken the leather the way wetting it did. The back cinch is dry now and about two shades darker than the rest of the saddle. I guess I can live with a dark but clean saddle, much better than a light but muddy saddle!

Would one of those green scrubby (scotch pad?) things be OK to dry scrub the mud off or would it scratch the finish?

I've never used anything but EVOO on this saddle, but I never knew you couldn't use the cheaper stuff! Thanks for the tip!

Edited by chele

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I'll have to try that. I used a sponge on the back cinch, but it didn't rub the mud off at all, I had to just about soak it off. I injured my hand, so I have just let the saddle sit. The mud should be good and brittle by now, maybe it will come off with the wash cloth.

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One thing to remember. leather is just a simple skin component, sans hair. So if it would hurt you to scrub with a scuffy pad, it would likely hurt your leather. If you have a good saddle, chances are it is made of quality leather with a semi-permeable finish, to allow oils to sink in (beware of leathers that are all shiny, they are not the best to ride it), and abraiding a surface of that nature will actually cause leather to get a little less resistant to mud, because it opens up the pores more.

Give it time, and your leather will go all back to one color as the excess moisture comes out of the saddle.

I don't really worry too much about how pretty my saddle is as far as matching color. The only person I have to impress is the wife, and she's not particular about it, either. LOL. :)

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All that aside, I use a toothbrush and a toothpick to get all the saddle soap and crap people spray on their saddles to make them shiny OFF of the saddle. But use it gently. In this instance, though, you don't have 100 plus years of neglect to clean up, so go easy and just use a sponge or a washcloth.

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Thanks RollingThunder! My hand is finally healing up, maybe this weekend I'll get a chance to tackle the saddle. This is the prettiest saddle I've ever owned in my life and I just don't want to make any mistakes with it! You're right, I don't have a ton of saddle soap and junk to clean off it; it looks like it was a display saddle for many years. There wasn't even any dust in the tooling when I bought it.

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Welp. I ruined it. I don't know what I did wrong, but now it's darkened and splotchy. *sigh* oh well.

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Racing STB's the mud coats the leather harness on BOTH sides~!!

We dunk it in a bucket of water, wipe off all the mud and let it dry. next morning we oil it and YES, it is going to darken.

Tis the reason I don't buy light colored saddles. Dark oil is my preference cuz you can actually USE those saddles and they come out looking like new when you are done de-mudding them.

If you wet the whole saddle evenly it will all match. The worst thing to do is just wet the muddy part, then you get those yucky water lines and uneven color.

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I wet the entire saddle manes. It looks like there was remnants of some kind of sealer on it in spots? I dunno. But I second your opinion on dark leather, *sigh* so much more usable. But this one was soooooooooo pretty. Now it's just common looking. The details of the tooling are lost in the darkness. Oh well. I don't show so it's not a really big deal. Do you suppose if I oil it and set it out in the sun it will darken more? Will the blotches blend?

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I dunno, that's tough to get it all uniform after you have splotchy areas.

You might cover the dark parts and leave the light part exposed to the sun after dampening them? I dunno for sure if that would do it or not.

Are the light parts shiny? Maybe putting oil on the light parts and scuffing them up, very lightly, with a very fine 0000 wet/dry sandpaper might take the shine off the shiny part so that it would be able to absorb the oil?

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well.......... not really shiny.......... I wonder if my camera could take decent pics of my demise? I'll have to run out and try. I'm tempted to just saturate the thing with EVOO and set it in the sun and see what I get. It was so purdy <mourning the loss of the pretty saddle>

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Can you get pictures.. I think what is going on is the moisture from cleaning is still present and causing it to look more stained than it is.. if you could post some pictures it would help us to see what your seeing.. take it outside on sunny day for this, so you dont get flash, this will give more accurate picture..

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Yes, if you oil the leather and set it in the sun, it will darken. That's typically why light colored saddles, when aged, develop an orange-ish tan color.

And your saddle, left alone for awhile, will return to nearly the same color as original, as soon as the oil and water content evens itself out. Leather's not a big open-pore sponge, it's very tight, closed pore. But give it time, and the moisture content will even out, and the splotchiness will fade.

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Thank you Rolling Thunder! I was hoping you'd say that. Leave it alone is an easy thing for me to do.............

Before:

P6130068.jpg

P6130089.jpg

After:

P6180033.jpg

P6180019.jpg

P6180001.jpg

Edited by chele

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That's the oil seeping into the areas that have had saddle-lac or Neatlac applied to them. Takes it, but they'll even out. If you can, keep it outside where it is hot (not in direct sunlight for very long, if at all), and the pores will open up a bit and accept that oil a bit faster.

Typically, you only oil a saddle on the flesh (under) side, unless the saddle is wax or dubbin finished.

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Oh boy. I've been reading-up on the saddle-lac, and I bet you're right. *sigh* It sure looked like it was a display saddle, it was so perfectly clean, wouldn't surprize me at all to find it had something like saddle-lac on it. I didn't oil the top of the saddle, just the underside. I'm betting I screwed up by using vinegar instead of saddle soap. Maybe the saddle-lac is old enough the vinegar broke it down or something. I've always used vinegar before with good results, guess not this time. It is stored outside in the shed, and it's been hotter than blazes, with any luck at all it will even out.

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Some saddle-lac type products are made to be semi-porous. Just give it time. And remember, your horse doesn't care about anything but the fit. LOL

Unless the item is meant for human, non-equine use, (ahem ... don't ask), I usually finish it with a carnauba wax, or at worst, a semi-porous super shene.

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I had a saddle repaired by the same saddlemaker I bought this saddle from (but he's not the maker). He said he has good results using Murphy's Oil Soap. Ever heard of that RollingThunder?

My horse thinks the saddle looks absolutely wonderful.......................sitting on the saddlerack instead of him! *LOL*

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