1. Start with the feel of the leather: Is the leather soft and supple? You want to avoid purchasing tack that feels dry because the quality will be subpar. If you bend the leather and you see it starting to crack, it is useless and may become very dangerous when riding. It should be bendable, soft and not stiff. Even if it has not been oiled, tack should still stay supple. However, when buying new tack, if the leather feels overly soft then this is not good either. This sort of tack has had too much oil applied and is often a technique to disguise bad quality leather.
2. Next Smell: Yes, it important to smell the leather. Quality leather has a fresh warm smell, whereas inferior leather can have a chemical or ammonia like smell. Off odor is the first hint that the leather has been tanned too quickly and inexpensively. Top quality leather has a beautiful natural smell to it, no matter how old or how new it is. The more you handle leather the more you will be able to tell what smells like good leather. If you don't think it smells quite right then this is the first sign to identifying bad quality leather.
3. Look at the Color: Even though, some quality leather may be dyed it will still show the pliability and fresh smell noted above. Inferior leather seems to be “dull”. Dark color dyes can hide lower quality and poorly matched leathers. Avoid leather tack that looks blotchy or faded.
4. Check the details: Why would you put quality craftsmanship into poor quality leather? Well, you wouldn't. It wouldn't make logical sense. Look at the stitching of the leather; has it been finished off neatly and is it even? Stitching that is neat and even, then finished off and tucked in is a hallmark of good workmanship and quality tack. Also, look for durable hardware with strong steel tongue buckles and rounded edges that won’t cut into the leather.
If you are looking for quality equipment, visit Buckaroo Leather Products for a wide variety of tack and equipment as well as other leather products needed for horse riding. Purchase headstalls, reins, leather halters, bits, hardware, hobbles, rawhide gear and leather care products at Buckaroo Leather. The materials which go into the making of Buckaroo Leather tack and the craftsmanship employed in it’s making are elements of the highest importance. You could have no higher guarantee of quality and workmanship than the name Buckaroo Leather upon your tack. It represents an organization proud of its establishment in 1979, and ever since catering to horseman and women with two generations of experience and knowledge applied in the making of riding equipment to the most exacting standards.