Western horseback riding saddles feature fluffy, fuzzy fleece or wool on the underside of the saddle. This is sometimes referred to as saddle shearling, even though the majority of newer western saddles do not actually have genuine sheepskin on their undersides. Over time, the fabric on the underside of the saddle will either be squished flat or wear off of the leather due to heavy use. When this occurs, you can replace the fabric with new material.
Scrape all of the old fleece off the underside of your saddle using the razor blade. Be careful not to cut the leather on the underside of the saddle.
Select your replacement material from a quality leather manufacturer or saddle supplier. Purchase at least a yard of either synthetic fleece or real fleece.
Turn your saddle upside down and lay the fleece against the underside of the saddle in the areas of the skirts where fleece was previously located. Trace the outline of the underside of the saddle skirt on the fabric. Be precise when you trace. Use your knife to cut the fleece along the lines that you have traced. Your fleece should sit neatly inside the underside of the saddle when you are done.
Apply an even coating of leather glue across the bottom of your saddle where you plan on placing your new fleece. Carefully set the new piece of fleece on top of the leather glue and press down on the fleece to make sure it comes into good contact with the glue. Allow to dry.
- If you have an expensive saddle that you use frequently, you may want to have this repair done by a professional to eliminate the chances of mistakes.
- Leather may be damaged or discolored when amateurs without saddle repair experience attempt to make repairs.
- Do not use super glue on leather. It dries hard and does not flex with the leather and the fleece when the saddle moves. It will tear either the fleece or the leather.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.