Product Review: effax Leder-Balsam

Today’s review is about a product I am basically in love with. I bought my little tub when I got my new saddle so maybe last fall or so? Before I bought effax I used a bar of glycerin soap, neat’s foot oil, and Stubben Hamanol Leather Dressing (This stuff does make your saddle seriously sticky, but doesn’t last or make the leather nicer in my experience. Great for horse show day though!). But I was upgrading to a fancy french saddle with calf leather for the first time, so I wanted to make sure I had only the best for mah baby.


$13.95 at Riding Warehouse

I used my neat’s foot oil for a bit on my new saddle but noticed that it was actually doing the leather more harm than good and promptly stashed it away.

I used it some when I first got my saddle, and it was nice, but then we had a super wet summer and my saddle got moldy, and then it got stiff because it was a lot of work to keep with with cleaning and conditioning, and really disheartening when I would come back two days later, only to find more mold. So my baby was a little neglected for a while. This is where I should also mention that I’m pretty bad at remembering to condition my tack on a regular basis I suppose. Oops.

Riding around last week, I noticed that my saddle was not nearly as sticky as usual, and I was having trouble keeping my leg in place. So I pulled out this stuff again, having not used it for several weeks at least if not more because . The leather was pretty stiff, and even though the seat and knee rolls are made with pretty soft leather, they weren’t as soft and grippy as they can be. So I took five minutes to go over my whole saddle twice with my Balsam, and then I threw the cover on and put it away to let it soak in.

The next day it was already much more supple, and after I also put a very light coat in the inside of my tall boots, my legs felt much steadier. I put another coat on after that ride and that was all it took. Next day my saddle was extremely supple and nice again, rather than stiff and a little shiny.

Even though it inevitably gets all over your hands when you use it, this stuff smells really good, and actually makes my hands feel pretty soft and nice too. The main ingredients are bees’ wax, lanolin, and avocado oil according to Riding Warehouse. Once your saddle is grippy and soft, I would maybe use it every other day to every few days so you don’t start having conditioner that doesn’t soak in just sit there.

I use this on my bridle and breast plate as well, though the leather on those is not nearly as nice, so the effect is not as noticeable, but it still keeps those pieces from getting stiff, even with all of the sweat they accumulate.

The one thing that is great for me, but may be a downside for others, is that it tends to darken light leather. If you do a quick swipe and make sure there is only a thin layer that is sitting and soaking in there is not a noticeable difference, but if you put a thick layer on (especially in a really dry spot) when you come back to it the leather will be a a little darker. The seat and knee rolls on my saddle are pretty orange, so I’ve been using this to gradually darken them and it’s working fairly well.

So overall:

I think the price is great, considering it has lasted me basically a year and I still have half a tub. It’s super  effective without having to pay gobs for a nice leather conditioner. It’s also fairly small so it fits nicely in my trunk or my grooming tote. Smells really good, and easy to apply. I give this an A+ and would totally recommend to anyone.

Have any of y’all used the effax Leder-Balsam? What did you think? Do you use something else?


6 thoughts on “Product Review: effax Leder-Balsam

  1. Peter O

    I use it on my leather shoes, belts etc.
    Don’ ever ride & don’t own a horse.
    It does darken leather goods initially but that seems to reverse when the coating has dried.
    In the case of my shoes, I usually leave for up to a week before applying conventional boot polish which then shines up nicely.

    1. That’s great to know! I do actually use this stuff on my show boots as well, so it’s good to know that it takes a bit for the conditioner to soak in enough to be able to polish them.

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