Calling All Tack Hos

Calling All Tack Hos

These are going to be the least satisfying pictures of something I’ve ever put up on my blog.  You’ve been warned!


Magic unicorn bridle arrived yesterday, and I set it on Simon last night after our lesson.  The verdict?  I think the fit is pretty ideal!

An earless bonnet is thrown in for your viewing pleasure, because I’m still trying to get the perfect fit of that too.


Anyway, I didn’t bit up the bridle since it was after our lesson and I didn’t feel like dealing with it.  I was most worried about the browband, but honestly it fits pretty damn well.  The cheek pieces probably run a bit short (they are on the last hole here) but since they’re popped off of his face some without a bit, they actually appear shorter in the pictures than they are in real life.

So I’m thrilled with my bridle, but I need some help.


I haven’t owned leather goods of this quality and I want to keep this thing looking amazing and lasting forever.  However, I don’t only want to pull it out 3 times a year for showing… I bought the thing to use, not to store! The instructions say to oil it before use and then clean with glycerin soap daily and oil weekly.

Here are my questions:

  • What’s the best way in your experience to oil a new bridle?  It’s a little stiff, especially the thick padded noseband.
  • What products?

I’m not an idiot about tack care and I do a reasonably good job, but I need to up my game for this bad boy.  Comments please!

37 thoughts on “Calling All Tack Hos

  1. For this type of leather I do the initial oiling with warm olive oil, rubbed in well by hand. After that just wipe the worst of the dirt off every ride with a damp towel, clean thoroughly ever week or two, and oil as needed. Generally: French and American leather – olive oil, German and English leather – conditioner..

    1. Seconding all of this. Warm olive oil is your friend. Bring it home and oil there. Dy’on usually takes a few good coatings of it to supple up nicely. After that, try to use the glycerine sparingly, particularly on the stitching. People use it on theirs at my barn and it gets gross and yellow fast if you do. I tend to go between oil and the Bensmom cleaner/conditioner mix (cannot remember the actual name of it right now…) when it needs some moisture but mainly it sees a damp warm terry cloth and gets wiped well. You will be fine with olive oil too; nothing will go rancid!

  2. I’m in love with this bridle, I’m so incredibly bummed that I can seem to find it in Oversize **sad face**

    Anyone know if it exists?

    1. I know I found it at at least one french retailer in OS, but that place didn’t ship to America. It does run a bit small, so if someone had a much larger horse than Simon (16.2hh) oversize would be a necessity imo. Keep looking!

  3. Ditto on the warm olive oil. I just microwave it and then brush it on. Probably a couple coats, depending. Oh, and I always clean with castile soap first then oil (incase there is any residue). If there are any especially stiff parts, just smoosh it around with your hands.

    Then just start using! Sweat will help break it in too. Wipe off after every ride and condition as needed.

  4. I know people love olive oil but I don’t like it on stuff with fancy stitching, especially in warm climates, because it can cause the stitching to rot. But that’s just my (humble) opinion. My favorite oil is good old fashioned Fiebling’s neatsfoot oil. I only oil my tack once a year, and for regular cleanings I am really, really in love with Belvoir Tack Cleaner and Conditioner (Smartpak carries it). I have converted many people to this stuff – it smells awesome, cleans really well, and conditions beautifully without making it too sticky or leaving a residue.

    Lovely bridle!

    1. These days stitching is made of nylon, not linen. Olive oil has zero effect on nylon. What CAN degrade the stitching is compounded oils… certain chemicals in them can definitely have an effect on the nylon.

  5. Also warm olive oil, although I just dunk it and set it out to dry overnight. (Don’t leave it dunked in the olive oil.) Daily care is glycerin soap-not a lot and wipe it all off really well-and weekly or so conditioning with Belvoir or better.

  6. I simply add oil. Easiest is to dip it in oil if you can and then let it dry in the sun. If not then just do multiple applications and let it dry. For cleaning I do not use glycerin. I like passier and then I use conditioner weekly (I like Akene). I have one high quality show bridle that is currently 14 years old and looks great by doing this 🙂

  7. I skip oiling entirely. To break tack in, I give it several coats of Leather Therapy’s Restore. Then start cleaning/conditioning with High Standards Leather Care Soap and Balm. HS is simply the best stuff I’ve ever used. It smells amazing, it works beautifully and my tack has never been lovelier. Plus the soap lightly conditions each cleaning, so you really don’t need to oil/condition (I still do). It’s really just fantastic stuff.

    1. Loooooooooooove HS. Once my tack is sufficiently broke in/conditioned, I pretty much just use their soap for everything with a light scrub 1-2 times a week. That stuff is amazing.

  8. I used oliive oil for first oil and really like results. Otherwise just riding does the best break in. I stilk us HS soap on my CWD and would on any other nice leather stuff for daily cleaning. I’m still looking for the perfect conditioner. I’ve heard good things about Akene and Antares conditioners.

  9. Def go with the olive oil or my new fave, coconut oil! I literally soaked my Edgewood bridle in olive oil overnight. I just took it apart, and filled a tubberware container with oil. I heated it up in the microwave in 30 second increments. Then I put as many pieces as I could fit (I had to do my reins separately), and let it sit overnight. Then, I just wipe off the excess oil, and let it sit to dry out some, putting it in the sun really helps that. My Edgewood came out super soft, and ahhmazing looking after that! Now I just use the Higher Standards soap to clean it if it get dirty, and the balm like 2x a year.

  10. For those that use Olive Oil – does it have any darkening effects like some other oils do? If so how much. Has anyone had any issues with Mold after using olive oil?

    I have tried most things but haven’t brought myself to try Olive Oil yet!

    1. I have not had mold issues after using olive oil. That being said, I clean my tack after each use. In my experience, olive oil doesn’t seem to have much of a darkening effect, not in the way neatsfoot or Hydrophane does.

  11. I’ve only ever used mink oil on my tack. I’ve looked into olive oil a couple times but the general consensus on it is that over time it actually weakens the leather, which does in fact result in a softer feel, but sadly makes it wear out faster. I feel old fashioned but my tack is still going strong many years later. My two cents for what it is worth. 🙂 Good luck with your new bridle it is stunning!

  12. To break in my Vespucci I used Olive Oil with a small paint brush, mostly on the rough side of the leather. Then I “rolled” it by taking one end in each hand and moving my hands up and down so that the oil kind of sunk in and to start making the leather soften.

    But really, you’ve just gotta use it. I wash it a few times a week with HS soap and condition it with Prestige Balm once a month or so.

  13. Hydrophane dip.. Wipe excess and hang to dry… I have also put bridles into a large geezer bag with hydrophane oil and squish it around.. Remove, wipe excess and hang to dry..

  14. I’ve heard good things about the Leather Honey products, but don’t have any experience with them myself.

  15. I’m sure there are some pretty amazing tacking cleaning experts out there, so I’ll leave the tips to them. However, that bridle is gorgeous and I love the bonnet!

  16. I second the Fiebling’s neatsfoot oil. I tend to buy used tack or new stuff that is on sale (lol, honestly, how can people afford $500 bridles new without a discount?!) but I love neatsfoot oil for dry tack or for new tack. I usually warm it in the microwave, like everyone else seems to be doing with the olive oil. It does darken a bit but not a ton, IMO.

  17. I use olive oil too. My saddler has his own line (studied with Tolga) and when I bought a saddle from his line, he said to use olive oil every 6 months and/or when the colour lightens enough to look like it needs an oiling (this you learn based on what it looks like after being oiled). So sometimes I’ve gone 8 months, sometimes 5. It does darken leather but I purchased tack based on what they looked like after oiling. I’m guessing this would be a bad choice for those super-blonde western saddles.
    I clean and condition (usually weekly) with either Belvoir or Effax. I find the Belvoir cleanns better but strips the leather of oils faster, so you must condition after (I used effax conditioner and loved it but the smell got to me after awhile, so now I use Passier. I’m just sensitive to scents). The Effax is good as a stand-alone but I find gunks up the leather more than I’d like. I need to get me some HS!!

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