leather care & tack

Your leatherwork will spend as much time on your horse as you do. Unlike you it will have to weather cold, wet, heat and sweat with little or no protection. Leather is a natural material that breathes, retaining its strength and flexibility no matter what the weather throws at it. It is not thermal conductive and will therefore never be too hot or too cold for your horse to comfortably wear, no matter the outdoor temperature or activity. It is incredibly strong and durable, a correctly tanned piece can last hundreds of years, yet it is soft and supple enough to be used on the skin of the most delicate newborn foal.

While leatherwear from an exotic country may conjure images of adventure in far off lands, hides produced from cattle living in warm and dry climates are noticeably thinner than hides produced from cattle living cold wet climates. It is also worth remembering that while UK and EU tanneries may be subject to certain regulations and supervisions not all leather producers across the world subscribe to these same standards. We aim to support leather craftsman and saddlers producing quality work, using quality hides that put the time and care into producing products that are not only pretty to look at but functionally beautiful.

The idea of leatherwear on a horse does not always sit well with some, but there has yet to be a synthetic alternative produced to replicate completely the features and benefits of leather. It is easy to forget that while synthetic tack is convenient, strong and comparably cheap, it still remains an artificial material produced using petroleum and polymer derived chemicals, which we then put onto the living, breathable and absorbent skins of our horses. While it may take a bit of time in the tack room on a rainy day to look after, leather produced from reputable tanneries cared for using natural based products offers a healthier, more natural option.

When buying leatherwear for you or your horse, don’t just reach for a brand name, feel the piece, quality leatherwear should have a soft and smooth, never dry like cardboard nor should it leave your hands feeling sticky or greasy. Leatherwear made using quality hides should require little to no attention before first use as the hide will have been nourished during the tanning process and ready to use, over time regular care will help maintain this and give you and your horse years of safe use from an item
Before you buy a leather care product read the label! Synthetic and chemical based products can seal the pours within the leather, inhibiting it’s response to changes to temperature, and environment as well as limiting its ability to absorb of nutrients and effecting is moisture levels. This can make it dry and brittle causing functional fatigue and ultimately failure. Caring for leather using natural oils and nutrients similar to that found in the hide makes use of the natural properties of the leather allowing for ‘feeding’ deep into the fiber of the hide helping to keep it strong and flexible in all situations; allowing it to express its natural response to these changes. An remember as with all things in life, less is more, don’t over use products.

Image of adhesive for mending tears

bish’s original tear mender

We've all been there; that march into the field, usually when time is too short, only to see your horse's rug has been torn and a pair of brown eyes is trying to convince you it wasn't their fault, it just happened. No matter how much we spend on a rug sooner or later that day will come when the fence catches your rug or that game of chew the rug tears the fabric. Most rugs use rip-stop fabric so with luck the tear won't spread but that still leave the issue of patching the rug.

Find out more »

shaping a bosal

bosal shaper

With the increased popularity and awareness of western and bitless riding, the western hackamore or jaquima (the correct name for mecate rein or grass rein, bosal nosepiece, bosal hanger and fiador) has become a more and more common sight in the bitless, trail riding, endurance and the western equitation worlds.

Find out more »

braided leather headcollar

braided leather headcollar

The use of leather dates back beyond the pre-history of humankind. For as long as we have hunted animals for food, man (well actually in many early cultures, women) have worked the hides and skins of the animals he has killed to suit his needs. Whether clothing and footwear, fibre bind, harness for oxen and horses to the land or even to form the very pages off written history. Leather is one of the most durable and flexible material around. It is created through the curing of raw animal skins, referred to as tanning.

Find out more »

Ray Holes Saddle products

ray holes leather care

Owning a saddle company Ray Holes had been looking for a light easily penetrating product for his customers to use to protect the new saddles he made them from weather and wear. While most saddle makers at the time used dubbin, dubbin while original developed to help restore older leather, he found too heavy for the hides and lacking the deeper penetration he needed to feed the leather.

Find out more »