American leather for western tack is meant to be oiled. Thick heavy harness leather, yes, it's sold dry and stiff. So, you oil it and you break it in. That stiffness is part of what makes western tack long-lasting.
I do say what I mean.
There is a difference between, not oiled and quality and dry junk that looks like paper ripping when you bend it.
Perhaps these photos help explain my reaction to the "crappy leather" comment regarding my Weaver Leather headstalls and reins. Always check facts before making statements. It will save you much embarrassment.
Not sure what I have to be embarrassed about. I have some old Shutz Bros snaffle bit headstalls that have hung on a pile of colts and still going strong. I haven't bought a new one from them since I haven't needed to. Simply giving the OP another option for brands to look at.
Yes, Reinsman and Circle Y are good brands but they aren't the cheapest when you are on a budget BUT!! - they do have decent resale value tho (as will any decent brand/quality product) and you most certainly can't go wrong buying some better brands 'used' on ebay. Some of the better brands (good quality harness leather) are still going strong after 10 years of use so it certainly wouldn't hurt to see what's out there.
Clippity, you are correct to a certain extent about those better brands being hard on the wallet, but that's when it's important to decide what you really need in a bridle. The ones that I buy are about $35 and made by Reinsman....but they don't have any bling at all. They are just simple utilitarian bridles.
Which takes me back to my very first post in this thread. If you're looking for something that is both good quality and blingy, then you're looking at spending a fair amount of money.