From Endurance to Dressage
Part 2 - Clyde's Leather Recoloring Balm
On Thursday evening, I tried to buff the finish one last time. I wasn't able to get rid of the stroke marks, so I gave it one more light application of Clyde's Conditioning Cream. On Friday morning, I tossed my saddle in the truck, prepared to ride in it after work.
As I saddled up, I was quite pleased with how it looked. All of the tackiness had disappeared, and even after rubbing it vigorously with a paper towel, no black came off. I wasn't able to smooth out the stroke marks, but all of that is under my butt and thighs anyway, so I truly didn't care. Having it all black was what mattered most.
I rode for just under an hour. When I dismounted, I was very disappointed to see that something was wrong with the finish under my seat bones and thighs. I couldn't figure out if the dye had rubbed off - I was wearing black tights, or if the finish had been removed. Once I unsaddled, I was able to get a closer look at it. I had used the deglazer which is intended to strip the finish which allows the dye to penetrate the leather. It clearly worked.
I went back to Clyde's website and read the detailed instructions again. According to the directions, the Leather Conditioning Balm should have been the last step. I put my saddle away and added another layer of balm, but the finish looked exactly the same the next morning. Since I had a lesson, I rode in it anyway, but then I brought it back home.
I pulled out my supplies from the first time I dyed the saddle back in 2018. Back then, I had purchased the black leather dye, Deglazer, Tan-Kote, and Resolene, all made by Fiebings. The Tan-Kote is a finishing product that adds shine to the leather. The Resolene is a glossy final finish that is durable and water repellant. The last time I dyed the saddle, I used the Resolene, but I wouldn't use it again as it made the finish too glossy.
I started out by wiping a tiny bit of the Tan-Kote on the seat just to see what it did. It did indeed make the leather shiny, so I coated the entire seat, saddle skirt, and both fenders. I let it dry and was very encouraged by the shine. After watching a video from Fiebings, I decided to apply a second coat of the Tan-Kote.
Later that afternoon, my saddle looked great. By the next morning, the Tan-Kote felt cured and dry, so I decided to ride. As it turns out, it wasn't quite dry enough.
On Sunday morning, after having sat for twelve hours on a warm day, the finish no longer felt tacky. As I warmed Izzy up, things felt pretty good. It wasn't until I started to do a rising trot that I knew the saddle hadn't yet dried. My butt came out of the saddle, but my breeches did not. Since Izzy was already saddled and we were moving, I decided to just see what happened. I rode for 30 minutes and then got off to check how much damage had been done. The loss of shine wasn't too bad, but I want to try and fix it.
In late June we're going on vacation which means if I apply anything to the saddle it will have nearly a week to dry and cure. I am going to continue riding over the month which will give me enough rides to see how much of the Tan-Kote and Recoloring Balm are worn away, if any. I am hoping that after today's ride things will look settled.
I'll keep you posted.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: