The most traditionally English of all leathers, bridle hide is pit-tanned using oak bark and various other natural ingredients for many months before it is dried and then colour-finished by hand. The finishing process involves many man hours to apply the natural dyes on top of the leather, then many layers of waxes, tallow and oil to cover and protect the whole surface, giving it a candle-like touch and feel. It is these layers of waxes that will polish up so beautifully over time, producing a unique patina, but left untouched for a few weeks, they will also produce a natural white bloom on the surface of the leather, which will simply rub back into the leather using a soft brush or cloth. Using large cowhides to make traditional bride hide ensures the finished leather is strong enough, thick enough and big enough to make the toughest leather saddles and horse bridles possible. This is why we tend to use this leather for our bags only as we find it is not ideal for small leather goods, making them too bulky, but it does look fabulous on our traditional attaché cases.
Traditional Bridle Hide: 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 remove dirt. Applying a little neutral wax 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 if necessary. 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 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.