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Resurrecting a saddle. 1 2 3 CLEAR!

Hello Western friends. Been an English rider all my life. About 20+ years bought a Western saddle for friends and occasional guests to ride my saintly old horse. Fast forward to about 2008 or so and saddle got pushed to the back of the barn. Horse was retired. I was very neglectful in its care.

Looked at it today and got mad at myself and decided to vacuum off the cobwebs. Then a generous scrubbing with Murphy’s oil soap ( this thing literally had mud dauber nests under the cantle). Then a sponging of my favorite Reitsport saddle soap. Let dry and oil. Conchos and the like must be silver because they’re beautiful. Only rust is on the small D rings. A small bit of damage on the back of the seat from the barn cats.

It’s a Circle Y circa 2003 or earlier. I know Circle Y became kind of crappy in the later years. This one might have squeezed in before that ? The leather is beautiful for something I treated so badly. Is this a decent saddle. I guess it’s a Circle Y Flex Trail 16 inch.


Wow, I am impressed!

Despite the mud dauber nests, the shearling underside seems to be in great shape. Sometimes that gets chewed off by mice because they love it for their nests.

Are you going to keep it? I dare say, taking inflation into consideration, that you can probably sell it for what you originally paid for it!

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I think I am! My hunter actually loves to trail ride and I’m often concerned about riding so long in the soft Buffalo/calf leather of my Voltaire. Years ago I rode around a hunter pace and then stayed for the weekend and rode in my beloved County comfy couch of a saddle the Innovation. I rippled the seat in the heat . (Since sold but miss it much)

My only concern is that I’m 5 foot tall and he’s 16.3. How do you toss a saddle way up there ??? Do
You climb on top a mounting block ?

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At my “mature” age I have the 13-year-old hotshot youth rider at my barn toss my western saddle on my horse. :laughing:

But my trail saddle is much lighter. So when I haul out to trail ride, I actually saddle my own horse. Although I admit, I’m taller than you and my horse is shorter than yours. So there is that. :wink:


Thank you for your insight ! Really appreciate it! :heart:. I bought a Navajo rug and a proper saddle pad today. Which goes on the bottom ?

Impressive!! If you ever want a side hustle, you’ve got the talent annd apparently the patience.

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The pad goes on the bottom. The striped Navajo goes on top of that. :+1:

Sometimes the, uhm, more “modestly priced” Navajos are too small to cover the pad entirely. If that becomes a concern, you can elect to spring for the pricier ones that are cut more generously. But beware. It’s easy to become a saddle blanket hoarder. (She admits, quietly).


As saddle blanket hoarder (they are so pretty and feel good in your hand!), I now use them as floor rugs, across the back of my leather loveseats, as added pieces of color in a room. The cats LOVE laying on them and walking over them. I keep cat claws cut short, so no snagging of yarn as they stand there treading or rolling around on the blankets. I presume they like the texture on their paws.

I have a couple that I think are real antiques, as soft as any knitted sweater. They are loveseats blankets only. Carefully put away CLEAN every spring to prevent moth damage.

The long blanket rug ones (also wool) allow me to see how fast the cats ran down the hallway, by how many wrinkles are in them after being flung in the corner as cat gains speed! I can say “Not your best effort today!” This happens even with non-skid mats under the blankets. Cats are always disappointed when I put rug blankets away at winter’s end.

But as a hoarder, I want to get my saddle blankets out, see them, use them, ENJOY them, so they are not saved “for later.” Not saving much “special” stuff anymore because no one will appreciate it after I am gone. Amazing how stuff lasts and lasts, even in regular use! DD may still have a bunch to get gone after I die. And there is another stash of nice woven blankets I use under saddles!! Ha ha

I can often get the Mayatex square blankets at tack sales cheap, $5 or so, usually one color. They make excellent rugs at outside doors for catching dirt. When filthy I take them to the laundromat for washing several at once in a big front loader. I use Tide powder, warm (NOT hot water) water, hang outside to dry. They come quite clean this way. And they do not seem to shrink or felt up when washed this way. I would not clean a NICE saddle blanket this way. I put a non-slip mat under these square Mayatex blankets at the door. Dogs and farm boots bring in a lot of dirt, these blankets catch a great deal of it before it tracks into the house. Wet dogs like laying on them too! If you don’t like the color, they take dye pretty well. I have done that with several in odd colors.


Amazing job! It looks like you got one of the good ones before they started using crappy leather. I haven’t seen my Circle Y since December, when I had my boy put to sleep. I haven’t had the heart to go back to the farm since. Could I send it to you for some TLC? :wink:

The Navajo pad goes on top, but with the stripes across the back, not from front to back.


Thank you! That is exactly what happened to this one. The horse it was used on was retired then 3 years later had a terrible colic and was put to sleep. I am usually so good about my tack. It’s like I just ignored it after he died. And then a decade plus went by. Send it! I love a challenge. It almost felt like penance scrubbing off the dauber mud nests and the grime. A layer at a time. I’m going to
throw it up on this beast this weekend. For gits and shiggles.


Beautiful saddle!

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This may help with the saddling issue:


Wow ! I will try that tomorrow!! Thank you.

I know it’s helped me toss my western saddle on my TB. :slight_smile: Takes practice, though!

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