If you’ve ever ridden a horse in a western saddle, chances are you know how hard unturned stirrups are on your ankles, especially when the saddle is brand new, and unoiled. Unturned stirrups can also impede your communication with your horse, and cause you long term leg issues if you ride often.
During my time in the equine world, I’ve seen two methods of turning stirrups. The first involves bringing your saddle to a saddler and getting them permanently turned, and the other using a broom handle to turn them over time.
As bringing the saddle to a saddler is often not an option for most equestrians the latter is the most commonly used method. The down side to the broom handle technique is that it takes months for the process to show any real progress. And is often not permanent and require regular repetition.
I’ve been taking some leather crafting courses at a local leather store called Zelikovitz Leathers, and have learned a lot already. One of the products that is used frequently in leather crafting is Carving Solution, used to “Case” (soften) the leather before stamping, carving or forming. Zelikovitz makes their own, and it gave me an idea! If I Cased the leather of my stirrups before turning them, and let them dry that way maybe the process could be shortened…
… Not only was the process shortened from months, to a few hours, the result is much more drastic! Follow the steps in the guide and you will end up with beautifully turned stirrups on any saddle for less than 10$.
What you’ll need:
1, 118ml bottle of Zelikovitz Professional Carving & Forming Solution – $5.99
1 small sponge – $1 (at dollar stores)
1 broom handle – $2 (at dollar stores)
1. Bring your saddle into a dry, room temperature area. (i.e. From the barn to your house)
a. This will avoid the leather drying to fast, or freezing before it dries.
b. Make sure the leather’s temperature has completely regulated before continuing.
c. Here I placed it on the banister of my staircase, with a blanket underneath. (Anything works, as long as it’s stable, but a collapsible saddle stand is best)
- 2. Un-buckle stirrups leathers, and remove stirrups.
- 3. Using the sponge apply a liberal amount of carving solution to all smooth surfaces of the stirrup leathers. (Fender included) Make sure to get right up underneath the Seat Jockey.
- 4. Continue application until the leather stops “Drinking” (or absorbing) the solution. The solution will temporarily darken leather, but it will return to its original colour after it’s dried.
- 5. Put the stirrups back on, and re-buckle. If you had stirrup hobbles on, do not re-attach them until completely dry.
- 6. After stirrups are put back together, run a broom handle through both stirrups creating an over-exaggerated twist. With the inside of the stirrup pointing slightly in the direction of the horn.
- 7. Finally let the leather dry for 24 hrs. It may take less time, but depending on the humidity in the area it’s best to overestimate the drying time so as not to lose the twist.
And here are the results!…
- To maintain the twist leather should be regularly cleaned and oiled (as it should be in any case)
- If leather is well used and has already been oiled often, use less solution.
- If saddle is brand new like the one pictured, you may have to use up to 59ml of solution (half a bottle).
- If you don’t ride often, and are worried that the twist may not last, you can store the saddle with the broom handle as long as you like.
La Ferme Cheval-des-Monts
1742 Montée Paiement, Val-des-Monts, QC, Canada
Mobile : 1-613-894-5004
Office : 1-819-671-9709
1160 Heron Rd Ottawa, ON, Canada