Traditional bridle hide is made with very tough cowhides as this leather was used for making horse bridles, saddles and other tack. We prefer to use the skins from younger animals for our wallets; typically we use skins from yearlings, as this means the skins are finer, have less marks and are slightly softer. This is better for making small leather goods to our standards, while still being strong enough to feel like traditional bridle hide. Our bags, however, still use traditional bridle hide as this has more structure and is more durable.
Once the skin has been tanned, a colour finish is applied to our own exacting specifications, for a smoother, deeper and more refined look. This involves adding oils and coloured polishes to coat the top layers of the skins. Each skin is therefore slightly different, as always with hand-finished leathers, which is why you may find slight differences in shade from one product to the next. Nonetheless, our controls ensure all leathers meet our quality criteria, both in terms of colour and feel.
Over time, the bridle hide will acquire a unique patina as it takes in natural oils and is polished by repeated handling.
Bridle Hide Leather: Care & Wear
Although bridle hide is pretty tough, you should look after it carefully, as with any luxury product. The natural oils and waxes used to coat the bridle hide will protect the leather. If left unused for some time, a natural white bloom can appear on the surface. These are the waxes and oils coming up to the surface of the leather. Simply rub these white marks with a soft cloth to put the oils and waxes back into the leather.
The best way to clean any leather is to wipe it gently with a soft damp cloth, then leave to dry naturally. You may use a small amount of Ettinger Leather Balm to clean the leather and to remove impurities. Applying a little Ettinger wax to polish once in a while will help protect and nourish the leather so that your bridle item will last for many years.
Generally speaking, avoid keeping your leather accessories in very wet or humid conditions. If they do get wet, leave out to dry naturally, away from strong heat sources. Once dry, check for any water marks and apply a little leather wax. Leather is naturally a supple material so will change shape easily, which you may or may not want. In any case, please avoid compressing your leather accessories (for example in a tight pocket) as this will deform the items and can strain the stitching. This can also, especially with the combination of heat, humidity and pressure, cause your leather to deteriorate very quickly.
Over time, rubbing and friction can cause slight de-pigmentation as the top layers of waxes and coloured finishes rub off. This is unfortunately inevitable with constant use. However, the leather will also darken slightly and acquire a unique patina through use, which should give your leather goods more character.