Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How to Turn Your Stirrups

After a long trail ride and the resulting achy back or creaky knees, we all realize the importance of ergonomics. One of the most frustrating things about a saddle, especially for those riders with weak knees or ankles, can be unturned stirrups. How many times have you sat in your saddle, flailing your foot, searching for the stirrup? The problem is easy to solve if you know what to do.

Many saddle manufacturers offer pre-turned stirrups, eliminating this problem right off the bat. Billy Cook and Crates saddles come with turned stirrups. Other companies, like Circle Y and Reinsman, have saddles built with such soft leather that is quite pliable, reducing the effort and time of turning the stirrups. But most manufacturers allow you to figure it out yourself. Some ask you to pay extra for the service. But with minimal time and effort, you can do it yourself. Try one of these easy ideas:


There are a few products that you can easily attach to the fender to keep the stirrup permanently in the correct position. Stirrup Straight is attached between the fender and the stirrup with a stainless steel swivel in between. The stirrup will hang off-center, putting the fender and stirrup forward so that you can easily locate it and slide your foot into it.

No more ankle and knee stress. No more groping around with your feet. However, a product like Stirrup Straight will add a couple inches to your fender length. Do add extra length.


Most riders use the broom handle trick. To do this, follow these steps:

Place your saddle on a saddle stand. Twist the stirrup to the desired position. Run a broom handle or s 2 x 4 through the stirrup under the saddle to the other stirrup. The pair should be resting the direction you want them to be while riding.

Allow the saddle to rest in this position. It may take quite a while for the stirrups to end up staying this way. Many riders replace the broom handle after each riding session, and this keeps the stirrups trained. Additionally, you can add weight to the broomstick or 2x4 with bricks, blocks, or weights keeping the stirrups straight and trained at the same time.

For a more permanent effect, some riders choose to wet the stirrup leathers, then let the broomstick rest in the stirrups until the leather dries. This nearly always permanently turns the leathers, eliminating the need to keep retraining the stirrups. To try this, remember to remove the stirrup leathers, use completely clean water, and apply leather conditioner during and after the process.

However, remember that water is not good for leather, as it dries it out and allows the natural fats and conditioners to leave the leather. The more the leather gets wet, the more it loses its natural softness and flexibility. Some leather may also discolor if it gets wet.


Try a twisting method that many saddle makers use. The following are directions for a permanent stirrup twist. You'll need an extra leather saddle string and an extra set of hands.


1. Have your helper fold the stirrup leather in half with the backsides touching.

2. Then take one end and put a single twist in it so that the front side of the end with the twist touches the back side of the end without the twist.

3. Have your helper hold this firmly while you take the twisted end and wrap the leather saddle string around it so that the wrapped part takes the shape of a cylinder. Rewrap over the first tail end, then tuck the second end in securely when finished.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Care for Your Saddle

Your saddle purchased from us is made from hand selected saddle skirting leather, chosen for its durability and extreme strength. However, any leather must receive regular care to preserve this strength and long life. At least four times each year your saddle should be completely cleaned with a good soap or detergent, and then well oiled with a good neatsfoot oil.

In wetter climates, this should be followed more often, as continued moisture is very harmful to leather. With a program of reasonable care, your saddle should last for many years. The products we use to clean and oil our saddles are listed below.


  • Do not store saddle in plastic or other non-porous covers.

  • Allow a wet or damp saddle to air-dry naturally away from any other source of heat. Apply a little Bick 4 leather conditioner when the saddle is nearly dry to restore flexibility. Condition thoroughly with Bick 4 when the saddle is completely dried.

  • To prevent mildew, protect the saddle from excessive humidity. In a dry environment, regularly condition the leather to prevent the saddle from drying out and cracking.

  • Do not use waxes, silicone or other leather preparations that impair the ability of the leather to "breathe".

  • Dubbins and greases are bad as they seal the pores and are greasy, thus picking up additional dirt and dust and slows drying time.

  • Never use caustic household chemicals to clean leather. Avoid leather preparations that contain alcohol, turpentine, or mineral spirits. We recommend Bick 1 as it is pH balanced to be compatible with leather.

  • Do not use mink oil or other animal fats. They will darken leather. Animal fat can also turn rancid, causing the stitching and leather to rot.
  • Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    How To Pick Out Your Best Friend

    Working with horse lovers all day long every day at my job I come across many first-time horse owners that have ended up with a horse that doesn’t suit them and or doesn’t want to do what they want them to. Purchasing a horse doesn’t have to be scary or a long and hard process. However, it may take time to find all those qualities you desire all in one package. But don’t worry the right one is out there somewhere. Here are a few things you need to consider when looking at horses.

    The most important thing to remember when purchasing a horse is to realize the seller’s idea of a “broke horse” and yours might be two different things. One man’s “kid broke horse” is another man’s “only broke for experienced rider’s horse”. It is important to look at overall health and soundness of the horse. Make sure you ask every question you can think of when it comes to health and care you can never ask too many.

    When going to ride a horse to potentially purchase you want to be sure it is trained in the areas you plan on doing with the horse unless you are buying a project horse. Be sure to ride the horse and run them through everything you intend to do with him/her. The way you click with a horse is extremely important as well. You want the horse to take all the cues you give to him/her and they react accordingly. Granted it is an animal and they will have their moments. But, if it is a problem on the first ride chances are they won’t work out for you in the long run.

    After you have ridden the horse and decide that it might be the one, be sure to evaluate the feet, teeth, ground manners, and habits. These are all crucial to how well the horse is going to fit in with you and react to certain things. Ground manners are huge. A horse that is pushing you around on the ground will more than likely not respect you in the saddle as well. It is important to remember to question everything you can think of.

    I know you are thinking this seems like a big task, and a lot is at stake when purchasing a horse. Take it from my example, when I bought my gelding Jazz I looked at over twenty horses trying to find the right one. But wow, am I glad that I waited for the right one because I share a bond with my horse like no other bond I have ever shared with any other animal. When you find the right one you will know.. Purchasing a horse can be stressful. However, keep in mind the right one is out there and do not settle for one... If you keep these few things in mind and keep an open mind as well then you are well on your way to finding your new furry best friend, which you hopefully will share an immense bond with.