The nicest leather on any bridle I've ever had was the Hermes, followed closely by a Jimmy's 20th Century (yes, one of the older ones.) I also really love my Antares; the leather on that one is spectacular, and it would be one of my top recommendations if you like their current styles. (I am not a fan of the monocrowns, but that is a personal preference.) Other beautiful leathers can be found on CWD & Dyon.
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Edgewood! once they're oiled and broken in, they're like butter. I don't like Vespucci at all, mine never got soft despite meticulous care. I've had decent luck with Jimmy's, ADT, and even the really old Crosbys (not the new ones) but nothing has consistently gotten super soft as my trusted Edgewoods! That's now the only thing I'll buy.
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the vespucci bridles we have are like butter. definitely not stiff/creaky.
Jimmy's are wonderful but I love love love anything in antares leather. My edgewoods are my favorite bridles but I don't find them particularly soft (which is why they held up better than the Jimmy's bridles)
I love my ADT bridle and its definitely nicer and very sort, but my Harmohn Kraft bridle is one of the softest leather I have ever felt. It was a less expensive plain bridle, but my friend has an Antares bridle that was also a HK and its the same butter soft leather.
Arc de Triump, Stubben, Keiffer, Vespucci, Pessoa, Bobbys, Dover, Edgwood, and leather straps that are so old I don't know what brand.
My favorite has been the Stubben with the Edgewood a close second.
The Stubben has been a beautiful deep red/brown for over 10 years. Now at 14 years old it does look like the rest of them just a dark brown but still soft and beautiful. I showed in it last month.
I was just oiling my new Vespucci and a leather worker friend of mine taught me a trick years ago to making leather as soft as possible right from the start.. when you first get it, soap it to get the wax off. Then take a plastic bag and lay out your bridle pieces. Get a small rag and some 100% neatsfoot oil. Apply the oil and with your hands (you can use rubber gloves if you don't want the oil on your hands) and work the oil in the leather, then start at one end of the strap and roll it in a U shape between your fingers and go all the way down each strap, inch by inch. Do both directions (sides).
I was doing this today and was thinking I should make a video especially because the bridle was new and it's really hard to explain it.
I have had people ask what I do to keep my bridles and reins so soft. I only have to oil them a few times and then just a daily wipe down with a damp cloth and when the leather is thirsty, you can oil it or use a conditioner.
I think good care of most any bridle can make it pretty nice.
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