When you are an equine owner, you shouldn't avoid taking good care of your horse’s tack. It’s more of an obligation than a duty for you. If you buy high quality leather equipment for your horse, they can last for decades if you clean and oil them properly. With a new leather bridle ensure you’ve oiled it thoroughly before using it for the first time. It makes it supple and helps prevent it from drying out and cracking during use. Once you have cleaned it for the first time after purchase, continue oiling your horse’s tack regularly for as long as he uses it. Here are our tips on how to do this perfectly:
Take Your Bridle Apart
Undo all the buckles and latches to lay out all the components of the bridle. For a western bridle, components include a basic headstall, two cheek pieces, reins, and probably a throat latch. With an English bridle, you’ll have reins, the headstall, a noseband, two cheek pieces, a brow band, and a throat latch.
How to Clean Your Bridle
Put leather soap on a sponge and rub it all over the new bridle, being sure to get every small nook and cranny. Start out with a dry sponge and then dip it in water so that the soap lathers. For liquid leather soap, you don’t need water.
Working up a Solid Lather with Saddle Soap
Most new English bridles will come with a white waxy coating. Use the saddle soap to completely remove it by applying leather soap to a toothbrush and rubbing thoroughly into all stitching spaces and other tight places where the sponge can't easily reach.
Wipe Off Excess Saddle Soap and Apply Oil
Using a clean sponge, wipe off any excess saddle soap. Then apply pure neat's-foot oil onto the sponge and wipe down the entire bridle with it, ensuring that each piece of leather is completely coated with a thin layer of oil. Allow some time for the absorption of the oil into the leather to take place.
Putting the Bridle Back Together
As you reassemble your bridle, flex and bend every small piece of leather using your hands to loosen the leather up and make it more supple. A good quality, well-oiled bridle is supposed to easily bend in your hands, offering very little resistance when the pieces are twisted and flexed.
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