A good saddle is important for the physical fitness of you and your horse and can be used for 30 to 40 years. Proper care and storage will help to keep your saddle in good condition longer and prevent potential accidents because of badly worn or broken parts. Inspect, clean, and condition the saddle regularly. You'll find some repairs are necessary due to normal wear and tear. If the damage isn't extensive, you can repair the saddle yourself.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Leather modelling tool (modelling spoon)
- Saddle soap
- Leather conditioner
- Small sponge or soft cloth
- Sharp scissors
- Waxed thread
- 2 harness needles
Dampen the area to be repaired with water to soften the leather, but don’t soak it. Let it dry slightly.
Rub the edges of the scratch in small, gentle motions downward into the scratch using a leather modelling tool (a leather working tool that looks similar to a dentist’s scraper) to smooth the scratch and make it less visible.
Clean a lightly scratched area with water and glycerine saddle soap. Buff the scratch with a small sponge or a soft cloth and leather conditioner to remove it.
Trim any loose or frayed thread.
Measure and cut a length of waxed thread that's long enough to repair the stitch. Cut the thread a little longer if you're not sure how much you'll need.
Thread a harness needle (a thick, strong needle) at each end of the waxed thread.
Insert one needles into a stitch hole about an inch from where the stitch has come loose. Pull the needle through the hole, hold on to both ends of the thread and pull them so there is an even length of thread on either side of the stitch.
Insert one of the needles into the next stitch hole and pull it through tightly. Insert the other needle into the same stitch hole and pull it through tightly to the opposite side.
Continue alternating the needles through the same holes (this is called a “saddle stitch”) for about an inch past the point where the stitching was undone.
Stitch over the last few stitches you just finished (this is called “back-tacking”) to secure the ends of the thread instead of making a knot that could come undone.
Trim the ends of the thread close to the stitch.
Tips and warnings
- If buffing the saddle lightens the leather dye, touch it up with saddle oil.
- The technique for repairing deeper scratches is easy, but does take a little practice and skill to do well. Practice on scrap leather until you feel confident in your skill.
- To reduce cracks in the leather cracking and the need to restuff the saddle, keep it on a proper hanger and exposure to sun and rain to a minimum.
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