What is Bridle and Harness Leather?
Bridle and harness leather has centuries of tradition in horses and the equestrian trade. Before the era of the combustion engine most people traveled with the assistance of horses. Horses had bridles, harnesses, saddles and all other types of leather to make it comfortable for both the rider and the horse. The leather on the horses had to be able to withstand the weather. Whether it was raining, blistering sun, snow, humid or a nice sunny day. Leather tanners would get around this by heavily conditioning the leather with waxes and fat liquors after the tanning process. Getting the waxes and fat liquors deep within the leather for longevity. This proved very effective, the leather was thick, strong, smooth, light, durable, comfortable to hold and had the added protection with the conditioning and waxes. To maintain the leather one would have to make sure it was cleaned, hydrated and conditioned to avoid drying out and cracking.
Image: US Forestry Ranger at Citadel Peak in Montana 1910.
Bridle and harness leather have a some differences. Bridle Leather tends to be 3.5 - 4mm while harness leather is thicker at 5mm. Bridle leather is heavily conditioned after the tanning process for durability. Harness Leather is likewise conditioned the same way but receives a further treatment. This treatment is being dripped into hot tallow and oils to further strengthen the leather, add extra durability and also makes the leather quite flexible for it's thickness. Harness leather is very similar to bridle leather but is not as waxy to touch. The emphasis of harness leather is strength. Our Stallion Belt contains bridle leather and our Clydesdale Oak Bark Leather Belt contains harness leather
While cars have mostly replaced horses today, tanneries still produce bridle and harness leather. The same bridle and harness leather also happens to be very good at making high quality leather belts. The thick, smooth, light and strong leather has the added benefit of the waxes and fat liquors that the tannery applies after the tanning process. The leather being with a thickness of 3.5mm - 4mm for our Stallion Classic Belt and 5mm - 5.5mm for our Clydesdale Belt allows for high durability and hard wearing. Whether that's facing the elements, hanging weight from the belt or just wearing the belt day to day. The leather that we have chosen not only has the strength but also the beauty to survive life's adventures.
Image: Joseph M. Leather Clydesdale Belt (38mm) in Colour Dark Havana and Brass Buckle