Am I really going to do this (old saddle question)

In cleaning out my spare bedroom in anticipation of company coming next week, my very first ‘nice’ saddle has been withering away in there for a really long time!

It’s an old prix de saute, the height of fashion in the late 80’s, lol. I have not taken good care of it, though I thought keeping it tucked in that room’s closet would be fine. It turns out it is horribly mildewed and gross. It’s teeny tiny (cause hey, it was from long ago when I was not a middle aged chick with a middle aged body) and will not ever be used again.

I think I’m going to just throw it away - is this sacrilege? Or is it worth saving?? I barely have time to keep my current saddles (2 dressage saddles and 1 jumping saddle) spiffed up so am I really going to devote hours to cleaning this old antique?

I remember when I got it as a surprise for Christmas - my folks insisted I go feed the horses early and when I went to the barn, there it sat in the barn aisle, all shiny and new. Best Christmas ever!!! I never expected a new saddle.

So you see why I feel bad throwing it away…

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If it’s structurally sound, can you donate it to a program? I’m sure there’s a kid out there who would love to put time into spiffing it up for their very own saddle.

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I feel your pain - my old Crump is in a tack box in my garage.

I donated an old Stubben with a broken tree to our local college’s theater program as a prop. I cut the billets off in case anyone was tempted to try it on a horse.

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Throw it away. Let your memories of it be about the good times, not the day you spent 5 hours cleaning a saddle that is no longer worth anything.

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I did this with my 1985 Stubben. Not in as bad condition. Donated to a local Therapeutic Riding Program.

A friend found an older (early 80s) Tristan in much the shape you describe & was able to clean & condition it back to a usable Life.

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Mildew is easy enough to clean off. Take it outside, wash with soap and water, maybe some vinegar, let it dry thoroughly and condition. Then give it away if you can.

It will always be more prone to mildew though.

The hardest things in the world to get rid of is broken used up things that were once high value. That’s why so many folks have broken down trucks and appliances on their farms. And if the thing was a gift it’s even harder.

Your saddle did its job. It turned you into a lifelong horsewoman. It’s more than fulfilled the job your parents wanted it to do. No one expected you to keep it this long.

On the other hand I have my Western saddle that was my 14th birthday present in my living room because no one wants or needs it.

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What a waste. I still wish I had not sold my 1981 model Stubben ( which I could still easily fit in). It seemed to fit a variety of horses, something new saddles do not seem to do.

Clean it up and sell it or give it to someone who can use it!

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Exactly. Embrace your inner Marie Kondo. Thank it for its service and get rid of it with no guilt.

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I have seen some beautiful bags and wallets made from re-purposed old saddles! An option if you’re willing to clean it up and are sentimental, but want a functional outcome.

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Like who, though?

There isn’t really a market for old, flat saddles without knee rolls. I would question a program that put beginner riders in a saddle like that now.

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That would be nice. I wonder how easy/expensive it is.

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This^. We gave some older saddles to 4-H kids. They were really happy w them as they had nothing. This was a start for them.

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Really? I learned to ride bareback so that would have been a step up definitely. Maybe local 4-H / pony club kids may have a use? As @NaturallyHappy said below.

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You are all of my 2 minds, lol. What I did was chuck it in the garage on a saddle rack. I took off the gross saddle cover, so it’s less gross now. Since I have 2 kids who will be staying with me, I figure if anyone claims I’m Bored, I’ll have a “fun” job for them to clean it!! The eldest kid loves horses so maybe that’ll work. Or not! But I can’t just chuck it yet. I can’t make decisions easily so there it is. It can be it’s gross mildewy self in the garage for a bit longer, until it’s time to clean that out (maybe this winter).

Sometimes, the local therapeutic riding barns or rescues will have old tack sales. I could probably be okay with donating it to sell for something like that. I really DO have wonderful memories of getting it, using it, everything and it served me well for many, many years!

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I threw away my old prix de nations saddle which was moldy and gross. I felt bad doing it but at that point I had no horse and if I were to get a new horse sometime in the future there’s no way I’m using that saddle again. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to give it away so I tossed it and it is what it is.

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Give it a quick clean just to make it a bit more presentable and check it out for safety, if the billets are good etc. and it’s still a safe saddle, find a deserving kid, give it to them with instructions on cleaning and pass your perfect childhood gift on to someone else.

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I wipe down moldy saddles with Lysol disinfectant wipes or the Dollar Tree knockoffs thereof. It takes the mold right off, and after one or 2 wipedowns with those, I usually never see mold on it again. Wipes work particularly well on older leather prior to the “mad cow” junk that appeared in the early or mid 2000s. I’ve done this on all types of saddles of single thickness leather, western & English. It has never done any damage to the leather, or color, in my 10 years of experience. Layered leather, calfskin and the stretchy matte finish kind, I don’t know about. I sold my layered leather saddles in favor of buffalo leather that will last ages. I don’t have any layered leather saddles to test. Try it! It’s easy! :slight_smile:

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I have a similar trick for daily wipe downs… - I buy a package of thick non-flushable baby wipes (unscented) and add some liquid glycerin saddle soap to the package. I use them to wipe tack and boots down. easy and handy.

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I’m about to send my old Crosby Mark VI off to be made into bags. It’s served me well since I bought it used in 1984 and has been on every horse I’ve owned since then - for one reason or another. It’s still in lovely shape, but it really doesn’t fit my guy and my new Stubben feels so much better! I would never be able to throw it away… Check out calyse-co.com

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OK I don’t even have a beloved old saddle (just an old saddle) but I may have to do this. :heart_eyes:

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