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View Full Version : Bobby's - Help breaking in? Or, using ammonia on new tack?



pattnic
Apr. 2, 2009, 12:14 PM
Ahh, blessed be the mixed-headed horses (you know, those who require Franken-bridles). Gelding has a horse-size New Cav for schooling which fits pretty well, except for the cheek pieces.

I figure I'm gonna be smart and get Edgewood seconds in cob size from the Edgewood store on eBay. The Edgewood pieces arrive; one problem... smart Nicole did not think to measure her current cheek pieces beforehand. Oops. The Edgewood pieces are 1/2". The New Cav are 5/8". Crap. There goes my brilliant plan.

So I hunt around, checking eBay, consignment, etc... Turns out I can get Bobby's cheek pieces in 5/8" width in cob size for not a lot of money. I really don't care for Bobby's, but it's just for a schooling bridle, so what the hell?

So heres the question: how do you get the crappy shiny finish off the Bobby's pieces? Is ammonia really the only way? If so, how do you do it? How will they look when I'm all done (removing crappy finish and oiling to darken)? Am I going to be pleasantly surprised, or am I going to just shrug my shoulders again and say, "Well, it's just for schooling"?

Thanks!

shawneeAcres
Apr. 2, 2009, 12:18 PM
My Bobby's is one fo my favorite bridles! It is soft, looks great, no shiny finish a nice dark havana, stitching is nice. i'd buy another in a heartbeat

chawley
Apr. 2, 2009, 12:55 PM
So heres the question: how do you get the crappy shiny finish off the Bobby's pieces? Is ammonia really the only way? If so, how do you do it? How will they look when I'm all done (removing crappy finish and oiling to darken)? Am I going to be pleasantly surprised, or am I going to just shrug my shoulders again and say, "Well, it's just for schooling"?

Thanks!

Yes that is the only way I know of. I received a Bobby (the $100 one) for Christmas to use as a schooling bridle a couple years ago. I scrubbed it with Ammonia and water (took awhile) to remove that coating. After I got it all off, I applied two coats of Hydrophane, working it into the leather, rolling it, etc., and it turned out much nicer than I would have expected. I'm a sticklery about cleaning and conditioning after each ride, and after nearly two years, the bridle is holding up great, and the leather is very nice.

Ozone
Apr. 2, 2009, 01:02 PM
I just used it! I tried to get the waxy stuff off 1X - it dd not work so I just used it for schooling and 4 months later it really turned into a beautiful bridle. Soft and supple.

dab
Apr. 2, 2009, 01:24 PM
It might be easier to get the New Cav cheek pieces cut down to cob size --

pattnic
Apr. 2, 2009, 01:31 PM
It might be easier to get the New Cav cheek pieces cut down to cob size --

I need them horse size for other horses, otherwise I would.

Pleased_As_Punch
Apr. 2, 2009, 01:33 PM
Following this thread with interest because I have a Courbette saddle with the "shiny" finish on the seat. I want to hear more ammonia stories before taking the plunge!

&WithStyle
Apr. 8, 2009, 02:42 AM
Yes that is the only way I know of. I received a Bobby (the $100 one) for Christmas to use as a schooling bridle a couple years ago. I scrubbed it with Ammonia and water (took awhile) to remove that coating. After I got it all off, I applied two coats of Hydrophane, working it into the leather, rolling it, etc., and it turned out much nicer than I would have expected. I'm a sticklery about cleaning and conditioning after each ride, and after nearly two years, the bridle is holding up great, and the leather is very nice.

Quick question, where would one buy Ammonia?

Pirateer
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:32 AM
Quick question, where would one buy Ammonia?

Any grocery store/walmarts/etc

mvp
Apr. 8, 2009, 09:31 AM
Ammonia is for those with skill or cajones.

I think there may be a couple of flaws with the OP's plan.

I know Bobby's leather comes in various qualities, but I don't think any of them (or the workmanship) will match a New Cavalry bridle. As someone suggested, you might do better pursuing and Edgewood set. But New Cavalry is still alive! Hanging on! Call the number on the website and get a set from them.

I have never tried using ammonia on new tack, but then I haven't ever wanted to strip a shiny finish off something. That sounds tough to me. If you do want to try, perhaps for educational purposes, certainly start on something small and inexpensive like cheek pieces.

DMK
Apr. 8, 2009, 09:48 AM
well, for what it is worth, it's an old time trick to put a glug of ammonia in your rinse bucket for when you are cleaning your tack - it helps strip off the grunge. I've also done the toothbrush + ammonia/water annual cleaning to get rid of the deep crusted grunge up by the buckles, etc.

These days I don't bother as often because there are some pretty good regular tack cleaning solutions on the market, but I still have a bottle of ammonia in the tack box and it still gets used in the rinse water occasionally.

I can't say whether it is good or bad and I'm quite certain there will be strong opinions on both sides :D but I have a lot of really old tack still in good working order. YMMV.

Hunter DQ
Apr. 8, 2009, 10:32 AM
I always strip new tack with ammonia, even though I HATE the smell. I mix 4 parts water to one part ammonia and use a rag (seems to work better than a sponge for me) to rub the tack. It can take a while, but I try to never saturate or get to sloppy as I'm convinced that it has to be bad for the leather. As soon as I finish stripping, I immediately scrub the tack with Murphy's Oil Soap to get every last bit of the ammonia off the tack. After washing with the oil soap, I set the tack in my bath tub and oil it for at least a day. My trainer's favorite oil is to mix equal parts of peanut and olive oil and rub it in every few hours. She did this with her 10 year old beval and it still looks new, just a little darker. My aunt was convinced that my tack would get rancid with olive and peanut oil, but I've never seemed to have had a problem with it.

Talk of the Town
Apr. 8, 2009, 11:12 AM
I also have always used ammonia to take the wax off and/or strip off ugly finish. I'm with Hunter DQ on the 4 parts water to 1 part ammonia, but i will dip my pieces into the solution and then let them sit for like 5 mins. Then take a cloth and dip it into the ammonia solution and scrub then clean with your usual tack cleaner and then dip pieces in oil and let hang to drip off the excess oil. This process has worked for all my tack which ranges from Edgewood to crappy. Hope this helps.

chawley
Apr. 8, 2009, 01:22 PM
well, for what it is worth, it's an old time trick to put a glug of ammonia in your rinse bucket for when you are cleaning your tack - it helps strip off the grunge. I've also done the toothbrush + ammonia/water annual cleaning to get rid of the deep crusted grunge up by the buckles, etc.

These days I don't bother as often because there are some pretty good regular tack cleaning solutions on the market, but I still have a bottle of ammonia in the tack box and it still gets used in the rinse water occasionally.

I can't say whether it is good or bad and I'm quite certain there will be strong opinions on both sides :D but I have a lot of really old tack still in good working order. YMMV.

I was taught to clean tack this way too. I don't use it that often because as you said there are some pretty good cleaners out there, plus I clean my tack daily, so it doesn't ever get too dirty.

Pirateer
Apr. 8, 2009, 03:59 PM
A friend of mine removed icky finish one time with...*gasp* rubbing alcohol.

I wouldn't have been that brave, but the girth does now feel several $$$$$$ more expensive and soft and *droolworthy*

Rhody Ram
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:06 PM
well, for what it is worth, it's an old time trick to put a glug of ammonia in your rinse bucket for when you are cleaning your tack - it helps strip off the grunge. I've also done the toothbrush + ammonia/water annual cleaning to get rid of the deep crusted grunge up by the buckles, etc.

These days I don't bother as often because there are some pretty good regular tack cleaning solutions on the market, but I still have a bottle of ammonia in the tack box and it still gets used in the rinse water occasionally.

I can't say whether it is good or bad and I'm quite certain there will be strong opinions on both sides :D but I have a lot of really old tack still in good working order. YMMV.

That's a good idea. I have some schooling reins with a nasty finish on them, I'll try it.

Do you like it better than castile soap to get old sweaty dirty grunge off?

DMK
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:27 PM
well like I said, there's a lot of stuff out on the market these days like Leather Therapy cleaner, and I find that works pretty well, so my use for ammonia has dropped considerably in the 21st century, but I have a dim memory that I liked it better than just about anything else back in the day, and I'm sure castile would have been used. :D

That said, ammonia/water+toothbrush would still be my top choice for de-grunging really dirty grungy laced reins! (I remember it well - sitting down in the sun with a pile of disassembled bridles, scrubbing each piece carefully w/toothbrush, let it dry, oil tack, let tack dry, clean with homemade conditioner, reassemble bridles, swear off riding for at least 7 days to admire the clean tack!)

Rhody Ram
Apr. 8, 2009, 04:33 PM
Oh yes I did that recently. Although I used castile soap. Never trust the kids with your bridles. Ughhhh

BAC
Apr. 8, 2009, 05:27 PM
I use Castile soap to get the grunge off. I have not been brave enough to use the ammonia/water on my really good tack. I have tried it on leather turnout halters, etc. that were really filthy when I figured I couldn't hurt them with the ammonia mixture and was not especially pleased with the results.