Running Roan Tack used to do a lot of vendor booths at various events. It was a great way to get out, meet customers and get instant feedback on our products. The most popular comment we heard was how nice our items felt. Customers couldn't pinpoint why, they just knew that when they picked up our tack, it just felt...nice. There's a few reasons for the high end feel of our stuff, but the main factor is the leather.
When I started making tack, I wanted to produce gear that would be used. Not just looked at, but put to work. It was important to me to use leather that would stand up to hard use and be easy to maintain. I'll be completely, unapologetically honest here...my own personal tack items are not immaculately cleaned and maintained. So I basically wanted to make tack for people like me, who know they should clean their tack more often, but they don't lol!
We make all of our tack items from dark chocolate bridle leather. This highly acclaimed leather is made from heavy North American steer hides. It is vegetable tanned, an artisanal process that involves submerging the hides in deep pit drums to soak in natural vegetable tannins and tree extracts. After 30 days, the hides are removed from the pits and drum dyed for a uniform, rich, dark color. Then they are hot stuffed with oils and tallows using heat and mechanical action. This entire process takes about 45 days and results in richly colored bridle leather that has a smooth feel and is weather/sweat resistant and easy to maintain. The third generation tannery that produces this leather for us is incredibly consistent from batch to batch. We only purchase grade 1 hides (best quality, least number of defects), not a cheaper tannery run mix of lower grades.
Honorable mention goes to our lining leathers. You may not notice them on the back side of our tack products, but I chose them carefully because they are important too! Our headstalls are lined with chrome tanned and oiled buffalo hide, which is amazingly durable and sweat resistant. Our breast collars are lined with good old burgundy latigo leather. Latigo is initially chrome tanned, then vegetable re-tanned to produce a durable, sweat resistant leather with added firmness that is perfect for a breast collar.
All these attributes of the leathers we use adds to the long life, usability and maintenance ease of our products. Even so, you should clean and condition your tack regularly. And check the screws on your conchos. Do as I say, not as I do lol.