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View Full Version : HUGE PROBLEM regarding my beloved bridle



spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:59 AM
So I read somewhere on here about cleaning tack with an amonia/water mixture to get rid of any gunk on it. Well, I did that yesterday to my Hadfield bridle and martingale, and it completely stripped the finish off of it :eek::mad:. It looks AWFUL!!!!! What went wrong??? Do you think that Hadfield could help me? How do I contact them??? I need help and I need it fast!

P.S. I have now oiled it several times with olive oil, and it is just soaking it up, but its not making any difference. I am hoping and praying that it is just really, really, really, dry and that some oil and conditioner will help.

**UPDATE**: I have given it a good treatment with Leather therapy and it seems to be helping a lot! I have hope! I think the bridle can be saved! On the plus side, it is now a jaw dropping dark havana/mahogany color! ;)

ILuvmyButtercups
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:12 AM
Ammonia & water??? I had a moldy saddle that someone on here suggested washing with distilled vinegar/water. I did, and it came out OK I guess, but then it reeked of vinegar! Baking soda got that smell out.

I don't know what to tell you about damaged finish on tack. Maybe someone on here has a good solution?

Good luck, I feel for you! :yes:

Lollipop
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:14 AM
Maybe you used too much amonia? I have used the amonia/water mixture many times with much success, but I only use a little bit, like a few cap fulls. I've never had it completely strip the bridle before. Sorry, I wish I could tell you what to do, but I don't know!! I would definitely try calling Hadfields and see what they say. Good luck.

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:14 AM
Ammonia & water??? I had a moldy saddle that someone on here suggested washing with distilled vinegar/water. I did, and it came out OK I guess, but then it reeked of vinegar! Baking soda got that smell out.

I don't know what to tell you about damaged finish on tack. Maybe someone on here has a good solution?

Good luck, I feel for you! :yes:

I read about it on here. Several posters swore by it and said they had done it to their own Hadfield bridles, but I have no clue what went wrong when I did it.

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:15 AM
Maybe you used too much amonia? I have used the amonia/water mixture many times with much success, but I only use a little bit, like a few cap fulls. I've never had it completely strip the bridle before. Sorry, I wish I could tell you what to do, but I don't know!! I would definitely try calling Hadfields and see what they say. Good luck.

I did about one "glug" in a bucket of water.

EqQueen
Aug. 2, 2009, 12:19 PM
I think this is why I stick to glycerine soap and using what stubs of fingernails I have to get all the horse buildup off. Sometimes a toothpick or qtip in those small spaces. I've invested all my money in a beval butet and beval and edgewood acessories. Ide call the manufacturers but I'm really not sure if they could do much because I wouldn't imagine they would suggest that as a way to clean the tack. Maybe run to your local knowledgeable tack store? Those are lovely bridles and I wish you the best. Two months after I purchased my butet and it was oiled I got caught in a suprised summer rainstorm and my saddle turned into an appy with orange huge spots all over it, thankfully it dried back to the oil color with no flaws.

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 02:40 PM
I clean all of my high-end bridlework with ammonia/water-- I've even used straight amonia-- and have for years with no problems whatsoever. Old tack, new tack, grungy tack-- you name it/ I would call Hadfields, that sounds like some type of unusual reaction.

skyy
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:04 PM
Yep, my Arc bridle came out very clean with the ammonia/water mix and the reins are like new. I even used a toothbrush on them because they were so gross. Afterwards, I applied a light coat of the Effol stuff in the brown tub (can't rememeber the exact name) and everything is lovely. I have ruined reins before (doing something else) so I can relate to the stomach dropping moment you must have had. Good luck!

superpony123
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:23 PM
I'm always terrified of ruining my tack (especially after one time, a few yrs ago, i clearly forgot my brain at home, and went swimming in the river with my Devoucoux saddle on.. my poor saddle looked TERRIBLE for like a week. It didn't help that it was so damn humid out all the time that it really took forever to dry out. It looks good as new, now, though.) I just stick to good old lexol and a soft toothbrush if i really really have to. Leather therapy is good, too, but I prefer my lexol. As for darkening, I like hydrophane.

I've had some icky buildup on my bridle before, but in that case I just take it all apart and whip out the toothbrush and get in every nook & cranny. Never used ammonia..

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:54 PM
I clean all of my high-end bridlework with ammonia/water-- I've even used straight amonia-- and have for years with no problems whatsoever. Old tack, new tack, grungy tack-- you name it/ I would call Hadfields, that sounds like some type of unusual reaction.

Do you think they would help? I mean, cleaning it with amonia isnt exactly how they recommend caring for the leather.

MintHillFarm
Aug. 2, 2009, 03:59 PM
I would definitly call them! They may have some suggestions. I feel your pain though...that feeling of "why did I do this" I've had before as well.

I stick with Lexol and a coase, terry wash cloth for the harder to remove stuff.

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:06 PM
They know their tack better than anyone else, it can't hurt to ask!

And it's not like you submerged it in unicorn's blood or cat pee or something-- you cleaned it with ammonia diluted in water, that's not unheard of. I am sure you're not the first person to do that to a Hadfield bridle and, IMHO, the bridle ought to be able withstand that kind of treatment and there might be something NQR with your bridle if it responded the way it did.

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:13 PM
They know their tack better than anyone else, it can't hurt to ask!

And it's not like you submerged it in unicorn's blood or cat pee or something-- you cleaned it with ammonia diluted in water, that's not unheard of. I am sure you're not the first person to do that to a Hadfield bridle and, IMHO, the bridle ought to be able withstand that kind of treatment and there might be something NQR with your bridle if it responded the way it did.

After a lot of oil and conditioner, it looks pretty normal, but it doesnt have that luster or shine to it like it did before. Is this normal?

coriander
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:15 PM
As long as you don't mix it with cat pee, unicorn's blood is fine to for cleaning even the most luxurious tack, though it's easy to use too much. :lol:

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:17 PM
Was this a new, new new bridle we're talking about?

Maybe you just removed the waxy coating and now you're seeing the cleaned leather underneath. Leather's not supposed to be patent-leather shiny on a Hadfield bridle... maybe photos would help?!

None of my tack arrived "shiny" but some did arrive with a coating that needed to be removed. Maybe you'd call that waxy coating shiny?!

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:21 PM
Was this a new, new new bridle we're talking about?

Maybe you just removed the waxy coating and now you're seeing the cleaned leather underneath. Leather's not supposed to be patent-leather shiny on a Hadfield bridle... maybe photos would help?!

None of my tack arrived "shiny" but some did arrive with a coating that needed to be removed. Maybe you'd call that waxy coating shiny?!

I had the bridle for about 4 months. It wasnt really shiny, but it did kind of "glow." Now, it has no shine to it what so ever. Very dull looking. I might not have hurt it at all, but this morning it looked as if half the dye had been washed out. Now that I have oiled it, it is looking much better.

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:23 PM
Can you take some pictures? That doesn't sound like a normal reaction to ammonia diluted in water to me. In fact, if the dye didn't take properly-- it could very well have been the water alone the caused the problem (a la the Edgewood bridle bleed that some fault bridles had) and NOT the ammonia at all. It doesn't sound like you did anything that would warrant the leather response you're describing. This is bridlework. It's supposed to hold up to use and cleaning.

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:27 PM
Can you take some pictures? That doesn't sound like a normal reaction to ammonia diluted in water to me. In fact, if the dye didn't take properly-- it could very well have been the water alone the caused the problem (a la the Edgewood bridle bleed that some fault bridles had) and NOT the ammonia at all. It doesn't sound like you did anything that would warrant the leather response you're describing. This is bridlework. It's supposed to hold up to use and cleaning.

I dont have access to a camera right now, but I will call Hadfield's on Monday. Thanks for all your help! :)

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:38 PM
I went ahead and called Hadfield's and they said it stripped the finish off of it. Apparently, Amonia destroys their leather. :( She said the best thing I could do for it is to keep conditioning it.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:47 PM
Our Passiers go swimming in the Fraser River frequently out hunting - Those Devocux are sissies. Just slowly air dry them and they are good for the next week, within reason.

I have e-mailed Steubben for how to start my brand new Steubben 1001 bridle - witing for a reply.
This thread is a good warning!

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:50 PM
Did they warn you when you bought it?

That sounds a little odd to me? What are they doing that every other bridlemaker ISN'T? I have the following bridles: CWD, Edgewood, Arc De Triomphe/Motack, KL Select, and others. I have always cleaned them with ammonia mixed with water. I have never had any adverse problems as a result. I've also used straight ammonia on these bridles, upon occasion.

Also, I thought Hadfields was a bit of a one (wo)man shop. I am surprised you got them on the phone on a Sunday.

KristieBee
Aug. 2, 2009, 04:53 PM
spmoonie -

you can put a nice glow on your bridle again by taking a damp/nearly dry sponge, loading it with glycerine bar saddle soap, and lightly buffing your bridle in circular motions. any time i clean/oil my tack i do that and it gives even the oldest leather a lovely soft shine and glow.

glad it's looking better!

Foxtrot's
Aug. 2, 2009, 05:24 PM
If it is coming back somewhat you could try putting a little brown or colorless boot polish on the brow band and noseband and buffing it to a shine. I have also put a little spray that is sold for shining up saddles on the noseband and browband for shine. But it is a bit plastic and the leather cannot breathe.

If they have a special tanning method and did not put a warning/instsructions on it, maybe they would replace it?

zoryphoros
Aug. 2, 2009, 05:38 PM
I have no experience with Hadfields but, I was in my local leather repair shop/western wear shop and they kept trying to sell me Tan-Kote. It's not a leather tanner, but it adds a nice finish to the leather by coating it. Apparently it's all the rage in western riding.

Rhody Ram
Aug. 2, 2009, 07:45 PM
While it sounds like a decent idea in writing, please don't put any kind of shoe polish on your bridle. The leather won't be able to breathe.

Leather Therapy restorer/conditioner always makes any tack of mine, no matter how old/dry/dull, GLEAM. Is that the conditioner you are already using? You said you used some LT but if you haven't already tried it, you should.

Indy100
Aug. 2, 2009, 08:36 PM
Sorry to hear about your bridle.

I ONLY clean my CWD saddle, Arc bridle and 1/2 chaps with straight amonia or amonia and water. I never seem to need to use a conditioner - the leather is beautiful, soft and no buildup. Just make sure to squeeze the excess liquid out of the sponge.

CWD came out to check the fit on my saddle and was surprised to hear it was 3 years old -she said it looked like new.

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 08:44 PM
Did they warn you when you bought it?

Also, I thought Hadfields was a bit of a one (wo)man shop. I am surprised you got them on the phone on a Sunday.

No, I was not warned.
I called the main store and the answering machine gave me the local number for their mobile tack store (they are at the Vermont Summer Festival I think). I called that and talked to some lady (not sure who though).

I was secretly hoping they would offer to replace it, but no luck. :(

Yes, I have been using leather therapy conditioner. It has helped a lot.

Thanks everyone for the ideas!

spmoonie
Aug. 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
Accidentally posted twice. Woops!

vxf111
Aug. 2, 2009, 09:56 PM
I am really bummed for you! For what those cost, this shouldn't have happened.

Did you actually speak to someone with authority? I might call again on Monday and ask to speak with the top brass, if you can.

Also, have you called the tack shop where you bought the bridle?

Please post pictures so we can see what happened. I cannot imagine ammonia, even used straight, would cause the total destruction of a bridle unless something else was wrong with the bridle to being with.

Lucassb
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:14 PM
For those who have asked, yes, Hadfields sends a little tag with very specific care instructions on their strapgoods. I can't remember what it says (although I remember getting it) because I clean all my tack the same way... ie, with castile soap if really dirty, otherwise wiped down with a damp sponge and finished with Belvoir glycerine soap, and maybe rubbed with a little Akene once in a while if it needs extra conditioning or gets really wet.

I am not a fan of using ammonia in water although I am well aware that that is a time honored practice, and plenty of people do it without problems.

LetsRide
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:51 PM
Get your hands on some Antares Glycerin saddle soap the kind that comes in the white tub with the blue label (NOT the liquid spray). Apply it to your bridle generously using a barely damp sponge. Let dry. Re-apply. That should make the glow come back. That stuff is amazing. ;)

SillyHorse
Aug. 2, 2009, 10:54 PM
Leather Therapy makes a product called Leather Finish that will put that nice glow right back on your bridle. Just follow the directions on the bottle.

Seven-up
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:02 PM
I used a very diluted ammonia/water solution on a martingale once, and thankfully I tested it on a small spot first that couldn't be seen. It RUINED the leather. I've cleaned and oiled it for years since then, and you can still immediately find the spot I messed up.

Never again. I know some people say it works great, but after seeing what it did to my leather, nope. I'll never use it again. I would consider using it on an enemy's tack, though.:winkgrin:

mvp
Aug. 3, 2009, 12:08 AM
Dilute ammonia and water has its place. It works well on leather that holds enough oil deep inside it.

It's also only a "bail out" method for tack that has acquired that stubborn mixture of dirt, horse-generated oil, and oil or glycerine that the tack cleaner piled on it. In other words, we have a part in getting to this crisis situation.

I'm not innocent of letting tack get heinously dirty. I have used the dreaded ammonia and water bail out AND a tooth brush on laced reins I (finally) wanted clean once I got around to it. But that was on well-oiled, well-conditioned tack.

New Hadfields tack (or any relatively new tack) perhaps does not have enough internal oil to withstand the grease-cutting chemistry of ammonia. But Hadfields leather also has a special finish on it and might be a very fine version of "pre-oiled leather" that's sold that way in order to please people who don't know how to condition tack, or don't want to provide the special care needed by newborn bridles. It comes with a huge Do Not Oil sign attached.

The OP may have stripped off the finish. I'm not a fan of that or it's opaque color, so I'm psyched to learn that it can be stripped off leaving a more pure Havana or Mahogany color beneath. That's the only way I'd shell out for one of these bridles.

The glow can be restored. I'd use a high quality glycerine soap like Akene precisely because it has a nice mixture of glycerine and some kind of oil. You can also probably use several coats of glycerine alone to restore the glow.

And in the future, clean your tack one use at a time in order to avoid the dirt crisis that led to the ammonia intervention that led to the stripped and dull crisis!

By the way, the person to ask is Cindy Hadfield.

hellerkm
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:34 AM
I ruined my DD's brand new leather girth the SAME was, I used very diluted ammonia and water to take the wax off of a new girth earlier this summer.
Thankfully she wipes her tack down each day and oils her girth, it SEEMS to be helping. when I did it the girth had a whitish "stripped" look to it now its regaining its color.
I will be VERY VERY careful with the ammonia and water, and since we have been cleaning tack just about every day there does not seem to be a need for it.
Thank Goodness!

lauriep
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:03 AM
I read about it on here. Several posters swore by it and said they had done it to their own Hadfield bridles, but I have no clue what went wrong when I did it.

I use it EVERYTIME I clean tack, have done so for 30+ years and it has never stripped anything I didn't want it to. I had a Hadfield's bridle for the last three years (customer's bridle) and cleaned it the same way and it was gorgeous.

What "finish" are you talking about? Leather shouldn't have any finish at all on it.

I oil ALL of our bridles when they are purchased. I strip the wax off with ammonia and water, then oil lightly. After that, ammonia water everytime followed by glycerine soap. Period. I have a dozen bridles hanging in my tackroom right now, all lovely.

Glycerine soap will put a nice sheen back on the leather, as an earlier poster said.

lauriep
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:14 AM
I ruined my DD's brand new leather girth the SAME was, I used very diluted ammonia and water to take the wax off of a new girth earlier this summer.
Thankfully she wipes her tack down each day and oils her girth, it SEEMS to be helping. when I did it the girth had a whitish "stripped" look to it now its regaining its color.
I will be VERY VERY careful with the ammonia and water, and since we have been cleaning tack just about every day there does not seem to be a need for it.
Thank Goodness!

Did you oil your girth after stripping it?

I think the problem might be that bridle/saddle mfgs. are making so many different "colors" of leather these days that you might actually be stripping the DYE (which I don't want anyway) out. I buy bridles that are undyed, natural color, than oil/condition to the color I want them, over time.

spmoonie
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:53 AM
[QUOTE=mvp;4279382]



The OP may have stripped off the finish. I'm not a fan of that or it's opaque color, so I'm psyched to learn that it can be stripped off leaving a more pure Havana or Mahogany color beneath. That's the only way I'd shell out for one of these bridles.
QUOTE]

Honestly, now its getting back to somewhat normal, and I am quite pleased with the color! :winkgrin: My original intentions were to get all the built up conditioner off of it so that I could oil it and darken it (it was still that opaque color). I guess I got what I wanted.

mvp
Aug. 3, 2009, 12:05 PM
The coat of wax put on leather wipes off with a towel. It doesn't need chemical encouragement to get off. (It is put on fine tack, particularly British bridle leather) to protect it from moisture during shipping.)

When I bring home a new bridle, I bathe it's baby butt this way: Handling each part separately, I wipe down with water (warm if you want) and then towel off. By then the wax is gone and it's in a soft mood, ready for its first meal.

That first feeding is oil. I'm old skool, so that's neatsfoot for me. I do a thin coat with my bare hands (good skin-to-skin bonding), and work in (call it a massage if you will). I'll let it stand for a while soaking up both oil and my company. It it's still thirsty-- signified by all the oil having been quickly slurped up, I'll offer it another thin layer and massage.

I think oil is key because it puts moisture into the center of the leather. Glycerine and stuff that makes it shiny on top won't do that. But I do finish it, creating that glow, with a damp sponge and glycerine.

My bridles seem to have been started right by their momma. I have one 20-year-old who still goes out with me everyday. Do your leathery kids do that?

vxf111
Aug. 3, 2009, 12:25 PM
Ammonia (especially one glug to a bucket of water!) is just not that caustic and shouldn't cause leather deterioration, even on a new bridle (though I don't see a reason to use ammonia on a new bridle as ammonia's real skill is getting off the built-on junk which shouldn't be on a new bridle). If anything, I suspect the leather was dyed, and the water (not even really the ammonia) caused some of the dye to run. spmoonie, was there color/dye coming off when you were wiping down the bridle?

I had a dye leakage issue on an older Arc De Triomphe bridle. Even though it was used, oiled, and well conditioned-- in the rain it would get "spotting" and the dye would run off. Not ammonia water, just plain old rain water. I called Arc and the bridle was replaced, that was a defect. The bridle dye shouldn't run when the bridle gets damp, being damp is one of the consequences of using a bridle. The replacement bridle did not have the spotting problem.

I tend to think the OP's bridle was dyed and that the adverse reaction was dye running out. That was probably totally unrelated to the ammonia, the bridle was going to do that the next time it got somewhat wet (if not while being cleaned, caught in the rain, spashed with a few drops of water in the wash stall, etc.). And it'll probably do it again, and again, until the dye completely leaches out.

Regardless of how Hadfield suggests you care for your bridle, it ought to be dyed in a way that water doesn't leach the dye-- because sometimes you get wet riding, even if you're trying not to. And that means even a well cared for bridle is going to see water sometime. Just MHO, I suspect this bridle was dyed but it somehow missed a step in the finishing process and/or was overdyed.

buck22
Aug. 3, 2009, 03:31 PM
I have found this product to put a marvelous "newish" dull gloss on very old worn tack, http://www.vtosaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=UOSLC
I've only used it on saddles, but its made them look new. The black looks streaky when going on (the neutral does not look streaky), but the next day the saddles look amazing.

good luck and so sorry about your bridle :(

spmoonie
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:33 PM
Ammonia (especially one glug to a bucket of water!) is just not that caustic and shouldn't cause leather deterioration, even on a new bridle (though I don't see a reason to use ammonia on a new bridle as ammonia's real skill is getting off the built-on junk which shouldn't be on a new bridle). If anything, I suspect the leather was dyed, and the water (not even really the ammonia) caused some of the dye to run. spmoonie, was there color/dye coming off when you were wiping down the bridle?

I had a dye leakage issue on an older Arc De Triomphe bridle. Even though it was used, oiled, and well conditioned-- in the rain it would get "spotting" and the dye would run off. Not ammonia water, just plain old rain water. I called Arc and the bridle was replaced, that was a defect. The bridle dye shouldn't run when the bridle gets damp, being damp is one of the consequences of using a bridle. The replacement bridle did not have the spotting problem.

I tend to think the OP's bridle was dyed and that the adverse reaction was dye running out. That was probably totally unrelated to the ammonia, the bridle was going to do that the next time it got somewhat wet (if not while being cleaned, caught in the rain, spashed with a few drops of water in the wash stall, etc.). And it'll probably do it again, and again, until the dye completely leaches out.

Regardless of how Hadfield suggests you care for your bridle, it ought to be dyed in a way that water doesn't leach the dye-- because sometimes you get wet riding, even if you're trying not to. And that means even a well cared for bridle is going to see water sometime. Just MHO, I suspect this bridle was dyed but it somehow missed a step in the finishing process and/or was overdyed.


You may be right. There was a lot of dye in the bucket of water. In fact, the water was almost black by the time I was finshed. If I were to call Hadfields again, do you think I should mention the amonia or that I had a problem with the dye? I dont want to lie, but at the same time, Im afraid I will get the same "Well, you shouldnt have used amonia in the first place anyways" response. I agree with you though, a little amonia should not have destroyed it. WWYD?

mvp
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:14 PM
Hon, you just told all of the internet you used ammonia. Don't assume lying by phone now won't come back to bite you in the butt.

But really, if you dig the Havana color you got, what's the problem? If you are curious about how these bridles are dyed or want some help with what you have now, certainly call Hadfield's and ask. I think Cindy is very proud of her line of tack and would be happy to fill you in.

ILuvmyButtercups
Aug. 4, 2009, 07:02 AM
The coat of wax put on leather wipes off with a towel. It doesn't need chemical encouragement to get off. (It is put on fine tack, particularly British bridle leather) to protect it from moisture during shipping.)

When I bring home a new bridle, I bathe it's baby butt this way: Handling each part separately, I wipe down with water (warm if you want) and then towel off. By then the wax is gone and it's in a soft mood, ready for its first meal.

That first feeding is oil. I'm old skool, so that's neatsfoot for me. I do a thin coat with my bare hands (good skin-to-skin bonding), and work in (call it a massage if you will). I'll let it stand for a while soaking up both oil and my company. It it's still thirsty-- signified by all the oil having been quickly slurped up, I'll offer it another thin layer and massage.

I think oil is key because it puts moisture into the center of the leather. Glycerine and stuff that makes it shiny on top won't do that. But I do finish it, creating that glow, with a damp sponge and glycerine.

My bridles seem to have been started right by their momma. I have one 20-year-old who still goes out with me everyday. Do your leathery kids do that?

:yes: Me too, I'm "old skool" when it comes to tack care. What you wrote above, that's all I've ever done with leather tack, and I also have ancient bridles, decades old that are still not only useful, but could be used for showing without generating snickers from the snobs. As long as the tack is kept in temperature controlled rooms, not allowed to freeze or bake, there is no reason why saddle soap and neatsfoot oil won't maintain quality leather for years beyond original expectations. I scrape gunk off with my dulled fingernails, clean after every use. If the stuff gets wet on a ride, I just clean as usual, oil lightly and it's good as ever by the next day.

MintHillFarm
Aug. 4, 2009, 07:11 AM
I am with Ilovemybuttercups and mvp...

That is the method I have used for years...My bridles are 10 years or older, though I treated myself to a new one this year and it too went through that ritual and looks beautiful.

I frankly have never used ammonia on my tack and wouldn't try it.

Dispatcher
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:54 AM
I'm VERY curious: what the heck is on your tack that you need to use amonia to get it off? This is leather we're talking about, not a non-pourous surface.

I have always used a LEATHER cleaner and Lexol. For well over 40 years on the same tack. My saddle gets Lexol only or Stubben Hammanol--but that's only been for 10 years.

One bridle I've been using for the past 5 years (don't know the age) gets wiped with a damp sponge after every ride and then Lexol. Once in a while it gets neatsfoot oil.

The old ways are the best ways.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:12 PM
I have used the URAD too. It, too, is basically a plastic product, but goes on so fine that it rubs off as well. It is used for shoes, handbags, etc. and has not left dry cracked leather.
I definitely would not use it on my brand new Stubben bridle, but to restore something I might. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

If this seems to be an unprecedented occurrence, I would talk to the owner. Good PR is worth a replacement bridle. I have never used ammonia myself because it seems so drying, but if many people have it can't be so bad in dilute quanties on deeply ingrained oily leather.

Tiffani B
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:29 PM
Someone here suggested the ammonia/water solution for removing the wax off of my new braided reins, and yup, it stripped the dye off on the edges. I just ran a wad of cotton with leather dye over the stripped areas, and oiled the whole thing well, and it looks great.

But, I will never use ammonia on tack again.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:35 PM
I have used the URAD too. It, too, is basically a plastic product, but goes on so fine that it rubs off as well. It is used for shoes, handbags, etc. and has not left dry cracked leather.
I definitely would not use it on my brand new Stubben bridle, but to restore something I might. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

If this seems to be an unprecedented occurrence, I would talk to the owner. Good PR is worth a replacement bridle. I have never used ammonia myself because it seems so drying, but if many people have it can't be so bad in dilute quanties on deeply ingrained oily leather.

Ride2Dreams
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:59 PM
Seeing all the pushes for ammonia on leather gives me the heebie geebies. Ammonia is one of the absolute WORSE things for leather in the long run. It will dry the leather out and crack it over time. It is something recommended for /last resort/ methods and even then you must apologize and love the leather afterwards with tons of neatsfoot and rubs.

BTW, someone mentioned stubben... If you mention ammonia to Stubben they will eat your head for breakfast. Same with thinline pads, they are VENEMOUS foaming at the mouth if you tell them you've been using a thinline pad with their saddle. Trust me, I has first hand experience on that one.

callmegold
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:01 PM
BTW, someone mentioned stubben... If you mention ammonia to Stubben they will eat your head for breakfast. Same with thinline pads, they are VENEMOUS foaming at the mouth if you tell them you've been using a thinline pad with their saddle. Trust me, I has first hand experience on that one.

Sorry to interject here, but, why are they so anti- thinline?

Ride2Dreams
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:05 PM
Sorry to interject here, but, why are they so anti- thinline?

To be honest.... I tried to follow along but I didn't get it. I love my thinline and swear by it and only mentioned it when I was looking for a pad under it to see if they had a shaped quilted pad. I got an earful. I knew the whole "using oil on your stubben saddle voids the warentee" bit and knew why and THAT all made sense... I just didn't get the pad.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:42 PM
I knew the whole "using oil on your stubben saddle voids the warentee" bit and knew why and THAT all made sense

Could you explain this to the rest of us? In particular, the ones who own saddles much nicer than Stubbens who were advised against even test riding in them without first thoroughly oiling them? I am looking forward to what Stubben is telling their customers these days..

vxf111
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:33 AM
EVERY company is apparently telling folks that if you don't use THEIR name brand stuff, you will ruin whatever it is you bought from them. Prestige says you can ONLY use their saddle soap on bridlework or risk hell and damnation. Stubben hates the Thinline (I bet because they sell a competing saddle pad they're trying to sell you). A lot of this is a big honkin' sales tactic.

P.S.- I can see where absolutely SOPPING/SOAKING a saddle in oil could be detrimental to it (if you got the saddle so oily and wet inside that you soaked the flocking in a way that couldn't properly dry and/or rotted the stitching by constantly keeping it oily so it was more susceptible to breakage-- but that doesn't mean that proper use of oil in a controlled fashion will kill your saddle. Still ,why should Stubben tell you THAT when in the alternative they can sell you some of their conditioner?! ;)

Mukluk
Aug. 5, 2009, 01:37 AM
As long as you don't mix it with cat pee, unicorn's blood is fine to for cleaning even the most luxurious tack, though it's easy to use too much. :lol:

Well actually, I have found that a 2:1 ratio of Unicorn's blood to Cat pee to be quite effective.

lauriep
Aug. 5, 2009, 08:50 AM
Seeing all the pushes for ammonia on leather gives me the heebie geebies. Ammonia is one of the absolute WORSE things for leather in the long run. It will dry the leather out and crack it over time. It is something recommended for /last resort/ methods and even then you must apologize and love the leather afterwards with tons of neatsfoot and rubs.

BTW, someone mentioned stubben... If you mention ammonia to Stubben they will eat your head for breakfast. Same with thinline pads, they are VENEMOUS foaming at the mouth if you tell them you've been using a thinline pad with their saddle. Trust me, I has first hand experience on that one.

Then how do you account for the fact that I have tack that is over 30 years old that has been cleaned using ammonia/water and glycerine soap the entire time and looks fabulous? I rarely even have to oil my tack, other than when it is brand new, perhaps once a year, because this method keeps it so well. I really can't understand why all the fear mongering. But then, I won't buy tack that has been dyed, either.

Ozone
Aug. 5, 2009, 02:35 PM
Amonia... my my ... please stick to products that are made for leather. I clean my toilet with amonia :)

Hope your bridle comes back to life!

vxf111
Aug. 5, 2009, 02:44 PM
Acetone is considered a relatively hazardous chemical in laboratories, but many women swipe it on their fingers on a regular basis. That's what fingernail polish is made from. Bleach can clean a toilet-- but it's also intentionally introduced in dilute form into the drinking water to keep it clean. Flouride in the drinking water keeps your teeth healthy. Undilted it can be toxic. Just because a chemical is viewed as "harsh" doesn't mean it can't be diluted and used safely.

Ammonia was at one time used to tan/process leather (don't know if it's used anymore). Ammonia is used by some museums to clean/restore leather (though not dyed leather, as ammonia can draw out dye). Ammonia can be reactive to dye and certainly I would not SOAK bridlework in ammonia (or any other liquid, actually) but diluted ammonia water, used infrequently to remove grime/buildup should not erode normal, undyed leather. I was not of the impression that Hadfield bridles are dyed, but after reading this thread-- I guess the conclusion is that they are. Ammonia may draw out the dye, if that's a problem for you, but it should not negatively affect the leather itself.

Guess who used to have a client who made high end interiors for luxury cars. I never thought this information would ever come in useful. Guess what else used to be used to tan/process leather? Squaw saliva and squirrel brains. You're welcome ;) I am sure that'll come in handy.

Ride2Dreams
Aug. 5, 2009, 03:06 PM
Could you explain this to the rest of us? In particular, the ones who own saddles much nicer than Stubbens who were advised against even test riding in them without first thoroughly oiling them? I am looking forward to what Stubben is telling their customers these days..

Unfortunately what Veronica said above a bout "every saddler is telling customers to use their products" isn't the case here. Stubben's beef with oil is actually in concern with the type of leather they use. Their leather is a permeable leather and the wool in their flocking and seat is not sealed. In short terms.. using oil on the saddle has the potential to seep into the flocking and destroy it. The oil can also be damaging to the "full grain, vegetably tanned, aniline dyed leather" the quotes is direct from the care sheet that came from my saddle. They do not care if you use their products, but will void warentees on the leather and flocking if oil is used direct from the stubben rep.

Also from their saddle care (which I meant to include before hitting publish, and this is direct from the sheet not my rewording)

Oil on our saddles? The Big "No-No"
Customers should only use Stubben cleaning products on their saddles since these products have been designed in conjunction with the company's tanners and specifically for the type of leather used on Stubben. Moreover, customers should NEVER USE OIL on a Stubben saddle for the oil will soak through the leather and flocking, and probably never come out; thus defeating one of the advantages of wool flocking; the wicking of moisture away from the horse's back

vxf111
Aug. 5, 2009, 03:26 PM
I'd be curious to hear from a saddle fitter how many times they open a saddle and actually find oil on the flocking. Yes, certainly, if you SOP oil onto a saddle it could penetrate that far, but if you're lightly wiping it on-- that's very unlikely to happen. I can't imagine that sumeging or soaking in oil is going to be good for ANY saddle... but just lightly wiping it on?

Not to mention, that I suspect if you GLOP on the Stubben conditioner to the extent that you've put so much on that it soaks into the flocking, that wouldn't be healthy for the flocking wither. I've seen 3 different saddles opened up, all saddles that I've oiled (lightly, not soaked in oil) and ridden in on sweaty horses. None had oily/sweat soaked flocking.

Leather isn't THAT porous, at least not the leather on the saddles I've seen. If it was that pourous, the flocking would constantly be soaked by the rider/horse's sweat. Leather isn't just permeable to oil but impermiable to saddle conditioner/soap/water/sweat. If the leather is so permeable that oil can get in, so can anything else you put on the saddle.

I think most non waterproofed leather is "permeable," but that doesn't make it a sieve!

vxf111
Aug. 5, 2009, 03:35 PM
Customers should only use Stubben cleaning products on their saddles since these products have been designed in conjunction with the company's tanners and specifically for the type of leather used on Stubben.

Sure sounds like Stubben trying to encourage people to buy their products to me?! They could have said "don't use oil, use XYZ" instead-- but they didn't. They said "only use Stubben products."

Not to mention, I'd be VERY VERY surprised if Stubben Haminol conditioner didn't have oil or a similar product as an ingredient?!

Dispatcher
Aug. 5, 2009, 06:56 PM
And why wouldn't a manufacturer of a leather item recommend their product specifically designed to nourish their leather? Makes sense to me.

However, I don't think Hamanol is the ONLY product that can be used on Stubben saddles. I found that Lexol was far better at nourishing my Stubben saddle than their Hamanol. The difference in their product is it leaves a nice glossy shine where Lexol does not. But I think Lexol does a bettter job of preserving the leather.

spmoonie
Aug. 5, 2009, 07:54 PM
UPDATE: So as I said earlier, I contacted Hadfields the other day and told them the situation. Although, they claimed I caused the problem (I may have, but I still think there is something wrong with the leather), they acutally sent me a bottle of their own speacial oil/conditoner. Depsite my issue (which still isnt really resolved), Hadfield has been very gracious and helpful.

ILuvmyButtercups
Aug. 6, 2009, 06:30 AM
Well actually, I have found that a 2:1 ratio of Unicorn's blood to Cat pee to be quite effective.

:winkgrin: Well, I have a steady supply of cat pee, from the in-house feline residents, but, I'll be danged and hanged if I simply CANNOT catch the unicorns! How to??? And, even if I did manage to snare one, how to get it to hold still long enough to draw an vial of blood?????? :confused: :lol:

RugBug
Aug. 6, 2009, 01:04 PM
Unfortunately what Veronica said above a bout "every saddler is telling customers to use their products" isn't the case here. Stubben's beef with oil is actually in concern with the type of leather they use. Their leather is a permeable leather and the wool in their flocking and seat is not sealed. In short terms.. using oil on the saddle has the potential to seep into the flocking and destroy it. The oil can also be damaging to the "full grain, vegetably tanned, aniline dyed leather" the quotes is direct from the care sheet that came from my saddle. They do not care if you use their products, but will void warentees on the leather and flocking if oil is used direct from the stubben rep.

Also from their saddle care (which I meant to include before hitting publish, and this is direct from the sheet not my rewording)

Oil on our saddles? The Big "No-No"
Customers should only use Stubben cleaning products on their saddles since these products have been designed in conjunction with the company's tanners and specifically for the type of leather used on Stubben. Moreover, customers should NEVER USE OIL on a Stubben saddle for the oil will soak through the leather and flocking, and probably never come out; thus defeating one of the advantages of wool flocking; the wicking of moisture away from the horse's back

Thanks, you've given me another reason to never look at a Stubben.

I can't imagine never oiling a saddle, especially when it's new. That's really the only time I use oil, on new tack and then maybe once a year after that or in special circumstances (tack gets rained on, etc).

And the flocking is suppose to soak up sweat? Gross. My old wool Navajos would get disgusting...stiff and crunchy from 'soaking up sweat'. I do NOT want my saddle doing the same.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 6, 2009, 08:39 PM
Oil should go on the underside (flesh side) of leather. Other than a wipe of saddle soap, the top and seat does not need to be oiled. Good way to stain nice white breeches. Also, "sweat resistant" flaps are sealed to prevent sweat permeating leather, therefore, oil is a waste of time. Regular maintenance and proper storage do more for tack than sloshsing oil on it too frequently.

To my mind, Stubben remains one of the very top brands BTW, a solid company not swayed by the fads that come and go. My stuff is indestructible.

Dispatcher
Aug. 7, 2009, 09:09 AM
Oil should go on the underside (flesh side) of leather. Other than a wipe of saddle soap, the top and seat does not need to be oiled. Good way to stain nice white breeches. Also, "sweat resistant" flaps are sealed to prevent sweat permeating leather, therefore, oil is a waste of time. Regular maintenance and proper storage do more for tack than sloshsing oil on it too frequently.

To my mind, Stubben remains one of the very top brands BTW, a solid company not swayed by the fads that come and go. My stuff is indestructible.

I agree with you. The older the Stubben, the better it is. None of this "I've been using my saddle every day for 2 years and it's STILL in good condition" It is true that Stubbens are built to last, and they do.

M. O'Connor
Aug. 7, 2009, 09:34 AM
So I read somewhere on here about cleaning tack with an amonia/water mixture to get rid of any gunk on it. Well, I did that yesterday to my Hadfield bridle and martingale, and it completely stripped the finish off of it :eek::mad:. It looks AWFUL!!!!! What went wrong??? Do you think that Hadfield could help me? How do I contact them??? I need help and I need it fast!

P.S. I have now oiled it several times with olive oil, and it is just soaking it up, but its not making any difference. I am hoping and praying that it is just really, really, really, dry and that some oil and conditioner will help.

**UPDATE**: I have given it a good treatment with Leather therapy and it seems to be helping a lot! I have hope! I think the bridle can be saved! On the plus side, it is now a jaw dropping dark havana/mahogany color! ;)


What the heck? I have been ignoring this thread...what finish? The dye? Or the waxy shiny coating that the leather is dunked/shipped in which preserves it in suspended non-animation in between being manufactured (actually, crafted if it's a good piece of bridlework) and being used?

That finish is supposed to be stripped off so that the leather can soften (by absorbing oil, which you apply before ever using your tack and just a few times a year thereafter) and 'come to life' again, remaining that way for decades, given the right care.

After the amonia step, allow the bridle to dry for a little bit. Not for long, just a few minutes while you do something else.

To review the amonia step: you needen't have SOAKED it in amonia/water, just had it on the sponge as you rub the gunk off--rinsing the sponge, squeezing it, dunking it back in the HOT amonia solution, giving the sponge a soft squeeze, and moving on to the next bit of gunk....

After the bridle has dried to the touch (shouldn't take long, especially if your water is really hot, and you haven't used too much), recondition the leather with a dry/damp sponge and glycerine soap--this doesn't get rinsed off, it's the finish that stays with the leather on your bridle, keeping it "alive" and protecting it from sweat and dirt. Sounds like you are missing out on this final step. (Hint: I like to melt glycerine in the microwave, and mix some Lexol into it, then let it harden up again--this is my recipe for my favorite conditioner).

And, yes, the rich dark patina is nice--a sign of well-looked after leather.

M. O'Connor
Aug. 7, 2009, 09:52 AM
FWIW, there is almost NOTHING that really good leather won't survive.

I bought a used Hermes saddle that had had one owner. It was barely broken in. But, it was very dark--turns out someone had dyed it with god knows what. It came out all over my pants, every time I rode.

I finally made up a big bucket of hot water and DISHWASHER detergent (Cascade with bleach), and washed off my 4K Hermes saddle with it.

:eek:


The black stain lifted out, and the leather that remained behind was perfectly intact. I allowed it to dry, applied a coat of oil, the glycerine/Lexol mixture, and voila, gorgeous leather; it's been several years since, I did that and no lasting damage, either from the dark junk or the DW detergent.

mvp
Aug. 7, 2009, 10:17 AM
First, the "finish talk" is my fault. Perhaps I'm thinking of a very old Hadfields bridle I saw and confusing it with new ones that sport a bid "don't oil!" tag. But the one I knew well had an opaque-looking havana dye job on the top. It never looked right and I'm putting two and two together and assuming that those guys were building bridles of pre-oiled and "color corrected" fine leather.

The look good, feel good, and can go from mobile shop at the show to the ring PDQ. Not my style, but one that makes many people happy.

Second, Cascade on your mortgage-payment saddle, and a Hermes no less! Wow, that was ballsy, even bordering on heresy. On the other hand, who would dye one of these?

So, like a pro poker player, you'll see their ammonia and up them dishwashing detergent. I'll fold.

RugBug
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:09 PM
To my mind, Stubben remains one of the very top brands BTW, a solid company not swayed by the fads that come and go. My stuff is indestructible.

I agree that they are pretty indestructable, but I've never met a Stubben I liked...and I've met a few. I cringe when I have to ride in my trainer's old Stubben. I HATE that saddle with a passion. It was the first saddle in our barn that I found to fit my new horse. The thought of having to ride him in it until I could afford a new one horrified me. I was so happy when I found something different for the interim.

BAC
Aug. 12, 2009, 02:58 PM
I only just noticed this thread but based on what I have read on this BB over the past several years, I too tried the ammonia/water cleaning process, and was extremely unhappy with the results, will never use it again. The first time was on an expensive Beval Heritage that I had loaned to someone, it came back absolutely filthy. I used a diluted ammonia/water mix and wiped it down and the leather has never been the same, despite repeated conditioning and cleaning, the beautiful sheen to the leather was gone and it never cleans up as nicely as it used to.

Being stupid I figured it must have been something I did wrong and tried it several times on less expensive items, turnout halters, leadshanks, cheap bridles, etc. The leather always appeared dry and stiff afterwards, despite repeated cleaning/conditioning.

Last week I again tried it on an older Edgewood bridle and it definitely stripped the color from it, especially on the raised portion of the browband and noseband. I'm sure I can get the color darker again with oiling but that is absolutely the last time I use ammonia on anything except a filthy turnout halter, its not worth the risk of ruining my beautiful, high end bridles. :no:

Rhody Ram
Aug. 12, 2009, 04:21 PM
I just tried it yesterday for the first time on some filthyyyy stuff and some cheapo things that had a funny leather dye. Liked it so far, it takes the gunk off SO quickly! I did a spot test first and it looked okay. I conditioned afterwards with Antares conditioner. I'll have to see how they look today after they've dried. I didn't use it on anything terribly nice, though.

BAC
Aug. 12, 2009, 05:06 PM
EVERY company is apparently telling folks that if you don't use THEIR name brand stuff, you will ruin whatever it is you bought from them.

To be fair, Hadfields has always recommended using Leather Therapy on their products, they have no connection with LT. Very recently they have developed their own product, and based on a conversation I had with Cindy Hadfield herself a couple of years ago, LT was becoming too expensive for them to use, since they produce a humongous quantity of bridles each year.

BAC
Aug. 12, 2009, 05:08 PM
No, I was not warned.

Sorry but that is just not true, I sold you the reins and when I did I explicity told you all about NOT using oil, only Leather Therapy, wiping off the bloom, etc. etc. And the reins still had their original hang tag which also told you the same thing as I did in my emails.

spmoonie
Aug. 12, 2009, 06:14 PM
Sorry but that is just not true, I sold you the reins and when I did I explicity told you all about NOT using oil, only Leather Therapy, wiping off the bloom, etc. etc. And the reins still had their original hang tag which also told you the same thing as I did in my emails.

Indeed, you are correct. I meant I was not warned about the amonia. Despite the amonia, I have followed all directions. BTW, I am absolutely in love with those reins. I cant thank you enough!