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Black Tack - Why is it so ugly?

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  • #21
    My horse's show dressage bridle is an ADT and I have several of their hunter bridles too. The leather FEELS equal quality to my hand and I have certainly treated the bridles equally kindly. The black dressage bridle just LOOKS different, and I am fairly certain it's the dye and not the leather.


    Also, if you have never seen dyed brown leather-- be glad. Boy is THAT UGLY!
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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    • #22
      I definitely think the dye is a big part of it. Also, dressage saddles aren't necessarily meant to be as soft - since they're ridden in closely and deeply at all times, and for many years, some of the higher quality ones are a thicker leather meant to be hardier. They also have textured surfaces of various kinds to make them more grippy.

      I will say, though, that my mom's mare's black Nunn Finer bridle is the nicest leather I have ever handled, black, brown, super expensive custom boots, etc.
      Originally posted by Silverbridge
      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by netg View Post
        my mom's mare's black Nunn Finer bridle is the nicest leather I have ever handled, black, brown, super expensive custom boots, etc.
        Really? She must have a different one than mine. My schooling dressage bridle is the NF eventer bridle and if you told me it was made from compressed cardboard, I'd believe it. What model is your mom's?!
        ~Veronica
        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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        • #24
          Before you guys get all racist about black leather, may I call your attention to..... wait for it...... custom boots? Those things are black and soft and you can make them look just as nice as any Hunter Princess bridle. That's true if you raised them on a diet of regular glycerine and tack cleaners, not shoe polish.

          Clearly, you can get dyed leather right, but you have to start with fine-grained leather.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

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          • #25
            mvp, the Boot experts of the world will tell you the LAST thing you put on your good boots is glycerine - welcome to what makes them look flat/dull instead of shiny.

            You can condition the inside of the boot, but the outside of a boot should be mostly just wiped off with a damp rag, occasionally conditioned with a good boot conditioner (not the same as a good leather conditioner) and regularly polished with a high quality shoe polish with some conditioners in it.
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

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            • #26
              [QUOTE=DMK;6979403]mvp, the Boot experts of the world will tell you the LAST thing you put on your good boots is glycerine - welcome to what makes them look flat/dull instead of shiny. /QUOTE]


              Of course! But you *can* treat black calf skin boots like tack and have them look/feel nice. Being a slacker, I do that with my Treadstep paddock boots and they'd make a nice bridle.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

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              • #27
                It's easier to make poorer quality leather look ok with black dye, it hides flaws better.
                Not to say all black tack is of poor quality, because it isn't (though I dislike black), but traditionally speaking.

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                • #28
                  It's not ugly. It is classic, and elegant - which is why orchestra conductors and musicians wear black, and why the black evening gown never goes out of style.
                  I don't particularly care for brown tack but I would never call it ugly.

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                  • #29
                    I have been sitting here contemplating my black leather Coach briefcase as this thread continues. Said briefcase 7 years old, and it has taken a good bit of abuse from being dragged to and from the office with me for the past 7 years...on trains, in cars, thrown on the the floor of my office and on the floor of various courtrooms. It is indisputably high quality, soft, supple leather. However, it definitely has places where the "black" has worn off a bit and become more of a grey color. It certainly still looks nice, but I don't think it would look as worn if it were brown.

                    And, actually, I can say the same thing about every pair of tall boots I have ever owned. Sure, they look great if polished with black boot polish, but they would look like crap if I didn't polish them because most of them get scuffs on the toes, and, um, sometimes on the sides from, er...creative dismounts.

                    Since you can't put boot polish on black tack (or my briefcase, sadly), I think black tack ends up looking junkier faster than brown tack.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                      Really? She must have a different one than mine. My schooling dressage bridle is the NF eventer bridle and if you told me it was made from compressed cardboard, I'd believe it. What model is your mom's?!
                      Unfortunately, I haven't the slightest idea. It was hanging in a mobile tack sales trailer, it felt amaaaaazing, we bought it.


                      I would order more myself if I knew!
                      Originally posted by Silverbridge
                      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                      • #31
                        OP, you are singing my song.

                        the reason I love leather is the patina it can develop, the rich dark hues of brown (same reason I like wood).

                        Rerider comes back & now everything is black. BLECK>

                        Complained to my trainer & BO about hating it, how residue shows on it after cleaning (I am a tack fanatic, and I have finally figured out how to prevent this, but still don't like) , how I don't like the way it feels...all the stuff mentioned so far.

                        Appearance wise, it is ok, but when the alternative is a beautiful brown...
                        On some colors I do think black might look nicer, but they are few & far between, like on grays or b & w

                        When I win lottery, all of my tack will be switched over to brown. I am planning on getting brown boots as a treat for myself at some point.

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                        • #32
                          Perhaps you've never seen a corlandus dressage saddle or the matching Hermes bridle? Not too shabby.

                          You can buy the corlandus in brown if black offends you.

                          ETA And my black ADT dressage bridle is just as nice as all my brown ones. I see no difference in the quality and color sheen on black Hermes and ADT vs. brown Hermes and ADT.

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                          • #33
                            Try Passier black bridles. The leather is super nice.

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                            • #34
                              I actually *sort of* know the answer to this b/c it comes up every so often in carriage driving. A completely different tanning process is used for black tack/harness as opposed to brown tack/harness. Additionally, those who have posted that the dye is different are correct. IIRC, most makers formulate their tanning/dying processes to make the black dye last as long as possible, since it's not a color that exists in nature.
                              "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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                              • #35
                                I don't think black tack is ugly, but IMO for the same price value, the leather isn't going to be as nice and supple in black as it is in brown, most likely as other have mentioned, because of the dye. As someone that events, I have both brown (jumping) and black (dressage) tack, of what I would consider a mid-priced, not fancy but solid quality variety. At that price point, I notice a definite difference in the suppleness and ageing of the leather. Most clearly, the two pair of rubber reins I have that are both the Bartville versions of the Nunn Finer Softgrips, where presumably they started with the same leather for both, but the brown leather on the reins on my jumping bridle is suppler.

                                I don't love the leather on my dressage bridle, which has never suppled up as nicely as the brown plain Crosby I use for jumping. But I've got better things to spend $500 on than a Passier bridle, so we make do. The horse doesn't seem to mind
                                A Year In the Saddle

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                                • #36
                                  I have great black leather and love every bit of it! If I could I would have all black tack haha

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    BAC and I were discussing this the other day and I have to say I find the info fascinating, what with being a self-admitted tack snob and all that.

                                    On the one hand, my horse is black and I do have to admit I like black tack on him from a color perspective. But... although I have diligently tried, I have yet to find a black bridle that is the equal of my Antares, Hermes, or Jimmy's hunter bridles. So far the nicest I've found, from a suppleness/hand perspective, is a Vespucci; it's perfectly nice (I'd call it an Edgewood equivalent) but it's certainly nothing spectacular. In fairness, it was not super expensive.

                                    The saddle is a Schleese, and it's fine to ride in (and super for my horse) but the leather is surely nothing to write home about. And it was $$$. For that kind of money, frankly I was looking for something that felt as nice as one of the higher end french saddles. Sigh.

                                    Don't even get me started about how hideously ugly the horse's boots are. I don't know who decided that they should be made out of nasty white "faux" leather ... but man. They need to go to Tack Jail. Those things are criminally ugly!!
                                    **********
                                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                    -PaulaEdwina

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                                    • #38
                                      I will admit to owning a black saddle, and it happens to be the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. I came about it by accident- it was a very high end custom order which was never picked up. I got it for a steal. Less than half retail price!! If I had the $$$ to order a fancy custom saddle, would I have ordered black? No way (maybe why someone changed her mind, I don't know), but for me this is the only way I could have afforded it. And once my butt is in it, you can hardly tell it's black! I do find it very soft and supple- but oh does it scratch easily!
                                      "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH

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                                      • #39
                                        All a matter of taste- and leather quality.

                                        The black buffalo Anky saddle I ride in is gorgeous- The brown Wintec is not. My brown Crosby is *beautiful*, but the cheap black nameless dressage saddle I picked up from a second hand store is not. It just depends on what it is.
                                        Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
                                        ~DQ wanna-be~

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                          On the one hand, my horse is black and I do have to admit I like black tack on him from a color perspective. But... although I have diligently tried, I have yet to find a black bridle that is the equal of my Antares, Hermes, or Jimmy's hunter bridles. So far the nicest I've found, from a suppleness/hand perspective, is a Vespucci; it's perfectly nice (I'd call it an Edgewood equivalent) but it's certainly nothing spectacular. In fairness, it was not super expensive.

                                          The saddle is a Schleese, and it's fine to ride in (and super for my horse) but the leather is surely nothing to write home about. And it was $$$. For that kind of money, frankly I was looking for something that felt as nice as one of the higher end french saddles. Sigh.
                                          This is what frustrates me. My dressage bridle cost around what a new Crosby would cost, and it was on clearance at that price point, so I expected somewhat equivalent quality leather to what I'd expect from Crosby/Pessoa/etc. To me, at that point, I don't expect Jimmys or Hermes, but something that will supple and age decently with use. But it hasn't It's not cardboard, but it's definitely nowhere near as supple as my jumping bridle. Yet I've gotten compliments from dressage folks on it, so apparently it looks good to people who are used to black tack.
                                          A Year In the Saddle

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