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Buying US made Strap goods/Leather

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  • Buying US made Strap goods/Leather

    I have bought a lot of European made strap goods over the years. But lately i have noticed more & more are made in "3rd World Nations". Most likely in sweat shops by child labor - if i want to really think about it.

    I have gone to several manufacturing web sites and can not find anywhere on them if they say where they are made. Except for the "finer" European items there is no statement of where they are made or out of what they are made.

    Which brings me to this. When i was a kid cheap strap goods came from Pakistan. Our pony club instructors told us to avoid those items because they were "inferior". They also told us that the leather used was not usually from cattle. That they could use; cow, horse, pig, goat, sheep, kangaroo, dog and cat and still legally call it "leather".

    My Stubben was pig hide. I have had some great goat skin gloves. But dog hide gloves - ewww. Yep i get it other countries know we are wasteful and silly with our "bi-products" But still....

    I love Campos western boots - i get them from a friend in Mexico. They are PROUD that they only use quality skins. I buy the cow hide - but they use LOTS of other kinds!

    My questions are: Are there good USA or Canadian manufactured strap goods for English & western? And when we import strap goods can we tell what hide it was made from? And if so does it matter?
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

  • #2
    Quillins in Paris, Kentucky.


    • #3
      I have had the same question lately. I have started buying only American, but the strap goods are hard since you just don't know!
      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


      • #4
        I'm not on the buy American train, but I am definitely on the "good quality strap goods for less $$$" train.

        Bartville Harness Shop in Christiana, PA. Search the forums to read the raves about them. They're Amish so they're very low tech to work with (only answer their phone from 8-8:15 a.m. on weekdays, only take cash or check, their catalog is a glorified set of color copies) but boy do they make some nice stuff. They're the contract supplier for many of Nunn Finer's strap goods, including the stirrup leathers/breastplates/some of the bridles. Get on their mailing list--they're already a steal at everyday prices, but they have 15-20% off sales several times each year.

        Perri's Leather is another choice. A lot of their stuff is Amish-made and all of it is made in the USA http://www.perrisleather.com/

        I do get my halters from Quillin, and they're lovely. They make a beautiful girth too.

        And of course, for custom stirrup leathers, nobody beats Gary Mundy.

        No idea if any of them tans their own hides.
        Last edited by jn4jenny; Feb. 19, 2010, 01:08 PM.
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


        • #5
          The tanning process itself has largely gone overseas. It's messy and some chemical tanning treatments are non environmentally correct.

          Then you get things like the hides shipped to other countries, processed, cut into smaller pieces then shipped back where it is cut, sewn,assembled into what we call strap goods and labeled "Made in XXXX". Which is correct but does not mention where those hides were processed.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • Original Poster

            I wanted to add that a German friend got me thinking about it. She is a new US Citizen and is fiercely "Buy American".
            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


            • #7
              I have used strap goods from Quillin's Leather (halter), Perris (used bridles and stirrup leasthers) and Tory's (used stirrup leathers and martigales; want to try the bridles) So far I have been satisfied with the American made stuff and will continue to buy American. I, too, prefer my leather goods either made in Europe or made in America


              • #8
                She is a new US Citizen and is fiercely "Buy American".
                She'll get over it! Honestly, there is precious little that is made in the U.S. nowadays, which is one of the reasons our country is in the shape it's in! I wish our legislators would wake up and smell the coffee....

                I once bought a cheap snaffle bridle at an auction about ten years ago, not realizing it was little more than cardboard--don't know what it's made out of but I've never seen anything like it. A far cry from the least expensive bridles Miller's Harness used to carry in the late 60's early 70's that were stamped "Made in England". I miss Miller's Harness!

                There are several Amish tack shops around me that manufacture their own halters, bridles, and harnesses.
                Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


                • Original Poster

                  Weaver is made in the USA
                  "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                  • #10
                    just my 2 cents!

                    I remember a conversation I had years ago with a local leatherworker. He said almost all the English/Irish & French made goods were made with US hides. Apparently we send lots over there.....for what it's worth!!

                    I'd buy Canadian too BTW! but never seen any.

                    And don't you remember when Romanian leather was big? a snidge better than India but worse than English. I'had good luck with that.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
                      I'm not on the buy American train, but I am definitely on the "good quality strap goods for less $$$" train.

                      Bartville Harness Shop in Christiana, PA. Search the forums to read the raves about them. They're Amish so they're very low tech to work with (only answer their phone from 8-8:15 a.m. on weekdays, only take cash or check, their catalog is a glorified set of color copies) but boy do they make some nice stuff. They're the contract supplier for many of Nunn Finer's strap goods, including the stirrup leathers/breastplates/some of the bridles. Get on their mailing list--they're already a steal at everyday prices, but they have 15-20% off sales several times each year.
                      Seconded. I'm lucky enough to live close enough to go to their retail shop. You can just feel the quality of the leather.

                      I think their best kept secret is their tack cabinet. For $300-$400 (depending on number of shelves, racks, hooks etc.) you can get an absolutely beautiful cabinet. Less expensive than just the materials if you were going to build it yourself. Only drawback there is that you need to be close enough to pick it up yourself.
                      "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                      • #12
                        I've actually been surprised at how much is still made in the US once you start looking. I even found a place in Philadelphia that makes horse blankets. Of course I can't remember their name now that it would be useful...

                        But I think if you look around beyond the big-box stores you can find a ton of things still made here, they just aren't going to be the name brands you are familiar with. Around here I think I could build almost an entire house using only things made within surrounding states, and mostly within nearby counties and the city itself. But none of it would come from Lowe's or Target or Walmart.


                        • #13
                          I was disappointed to find out that my Bates saddle was no longer made in Australia - a look under the flap finds very small print stamped in the leather,
                          "Made in Vietnam".

                          It is a great saddle, very comfy for the horse, but, you know, just wish the country of origin was made clear.

                          I feel the same way when I go for a California roll and find out that it is mock crab instead of real crab -- just tell me and I can make a decision on my own.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • #14
                            I sell horse tack on eBay. It is all imported. Why? Because when I listed American made stuff, I couldn't sell it for what I had in it, much less pay my eBay/PayPal fees and make any profit.

                            Everybody talks big about buying American, but when push comes to shove, they don't step up to the plate.
                            Everybody lies - Gregory House, M.D.


                            • #15
                              Bartville Harness makes beautiful stuff. I have stirrup leathers and a breastplate from them. As mswillie said, you can feel the quality. I'm a six hour drive and am planning another trip down there (and to other tack stores) in the spring. I just can't say enough good things about them. Oh, and the prices are awesome--the breastplate I got is the Nunn Finer hunting breastplate with elastic. BoB sells it for ~168, I paid ~130. BoB sells the stirrup leathers for $57, I paid ~35. Looooove Bartville.
                              Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                              Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                              VW sucks.