New Bridle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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New Bridle


I am wondering if anyone can help me, I bought a new bridle recently...Could anyone advise me on what leather cleaner or condtioner to be used to soften the leather.

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post #2 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 06:57 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

For everyday maintenance, I use Horseman's One-Step by Absorbine:

Horseman's One Step | Dover Saddlery

For oiling, I use Tanner's leather oil. If you're looking to darken the leather, they have a darkening oil as well.

Tanners Leather Oil - Qt
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 12:43 PM
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welcome to the forum
nice to meet you

Country Woman

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 01:04 PM
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Saddle soap and neatsfoot oil compound. I prefer and use Fiebings myself.

I suggest neatsfoot oil compound over true neatsfoot oil because the compound does the job just as well without risking mold growing due to the animal fat in the oil of the non compound. And it will take time, you have to break the bridle in and supple it up, but before it can do that you have to take the lacquer finish off of the new leather. That just takes time, and lots of rubbing with a soft cloth and oil as well as use. So start oiling. That is the fastest way you will make it soft and pretty. Oil, oil, oil!

For after oiling maintenance I use Fiebing's Aussie Leather Conditioner, which has beeswax in it. I use it on my leather boots, my leather saddle, my stirrup leathers, my bridles, my firearm holsters, my husbands leather jackets, etc. It conditions the leather and gives it a little waterproofing as well as protects it from extreme temperatures.

Fiebing's was recommended to me by leather workers and I find it at Tandy Leather Co. stores as well as Tractor Supply Co. stores. Some tack shops carry it. But whether you use Fiebing's or some other company, what you want regardless is saddle soap to clean and neatsfoot oil to maintain, condition, and keep supple. Once leather starts drying up because you don't oil it, it starts cracking and breaking. There is no repair for leather once it starts cracking.

Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 01:23 PM
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I use Saddle Soap, and I love it. It doesn't affect the color of my leather at all, and it gives the leather a nice polish once it's buffed with a soft cloth. I recently cleaned an old nasty saddle I had with it and as it turns out, it's not a bad saddle after all. Just needed a good cleaning and a bit of Saddle Soap!

I hear Neatsfoot Oil works well also, but I have never tried it. I prefer the "creamy" leather conditioners to the liquid kinds.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 01:25 PM
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i use and love Passier Bridle Cleaner: Passier Bridle Cleaner - Leather Care from SmartPak Equine
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 01:38 PM
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I have a 34 year old Passier Hannover dressage saddle, and it wasn't treated the best or in the best condition when I bought it. I cleaned it well with saddle soap, took some metal polish to all the screws and metal rigging, and then spent two weeks oiling it with warm oil. My saddle flaps are so supple, they are the envy of my barn.

I promise you, take neatsfoot oil or compound, warm it up in the sun or stick the container in some hot water over the stove. You want that oil WARM. And just pour it on the saddle and just rub it in with a soft cloth. You can watch that leather suck it up. And you keep applying warm oil until it won't absorb any more, wipe off the excess, and buff that baby to a shine. It WILL darken the leather, but your leather with be butter soft.

With bridles and reins, at my barn we poured neatsfoot oil in a 5 gallon bucket, left it in the sun to warm up, and we just dip the bridles completely in the warm oil (be careful of the blingy brow bands, you don't want oil in the jewels, just dip your fingers in and rub the back of the bands) and let them drip dry over the bucket. If they need it, redip them. When they stop absorbing oil, wipe off the excess, buff to a shine. It has made some bridles supple in one session. Sometimes, you may need to redip, but O M G it is worth it for how nice the leather becomes.

You can't forget, leather is animal skin. And like human skin, you have to keep it moist and conditioned. Most horse tack is made of cow hide. Some people might custom make it with horse hide, but usually it is cow. Oil is the best way to care for leather. Saddle soap is a cleaner, and will dry the leather out. Beeswax is just a covering protectant. Oil is how you take care of leather though. Guaranteed.

Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 01:57 PM
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Leather conditioner Good luck!

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #9 of 10 Old 05-25-2012, 02:17 PM
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The first thing I do with new leather tack is oil it. The oil sinks into the leather and makes it waterproof. It is easy to overdo it with the oil though, too much oil can actually weaken the leather and it can make the leather stretch too much, especially on things like reins and stirrup leathers.

It is best to apply the oil lightly and let it sink in, applying more only if and as needed, if it soaks in quickly. I like Hydrophane Leather Dressing and Effax Ledersoft. After oiling, I like to use glycerine saddle soap to finish off. I make sure to wring out the sponge really well, so that it is almost dry and then I apply the glycerine soap onto the leather, making sure to rub it into the leather well, then go over the leather with a dry cloth to wipe off any excess. I like Carr Day Martin Glycerine Saddle Soap Bar soap best, Hydrophane Glycerine Bar Soap and Fiebing's Gylcerine Bar Soap are also good choices.

For everyday tack cleaning, I just wipe down the leather with a wrung out sponge and then apply the glycerine saddle soap. The glycerine soap also conditions the leather. Just make sure to apply it with a really well wrung out sponge and rub it into the leather really well. If needed, for conditioning, I like Effax Lederbalsam or Carr Day Martin Belvoir Leather Balsam. I find that with regular cleaning, and conditioning when needed, I never have to apply oil again, after that very first oiling when the leather was new.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-26-2012, 12:32 AM
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At my barn, some of our tack gets used every day 3 to 5 times a day over multiple horses and lessons. The dust from the sand/clay arena can really dry it out, and the damage horse sweat can do to reins if not cleaned is nasty. So every month, once a month, tack gets pulled, cleaned, and oiled. 3, maybe 4 saddles and 8 or 9 bridles, and a couple pairs of boots is a slow tack day lol.

And yes, you can over saturate leather with oil, but if you pay attention to the leather and watch it until it stops absorbing oil, you don't have to worry about over saturating. Probably would never have to worry about it unless you get really carried away considering most people under oil their leather. Leather stretches, period. Even pre-stretched, harness leather and english bridle leather stretches. Oiling makes the leather healthier and more porous, but just oiling it more often will not cause it to spontaneously stretch more. Leather stretches.

Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.
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