Just bought a really pretty bridle with rawhide accents. How do I oil the leather, but stay away from the rawhide? What happens to the rawhide if I get neatsfoot oil on it?
I have not dealt with this problem first-hand, but maybe try using a very small corner of the towel/rag (whatever you’re using to oil) to rub and oil as close as you can to the rawhide. I know for rawhide, the make conditioners/cleaners that you can use to soften it up. To be extra safe, you could even try laying a paper towel on top of the rawhide while oiling.
I’m not a western rider, but my local English saddler told me that if one does use oil (modern English saddles do not need neatsfoot) put it on the rough side of the leather. That might solve your problem.
Use Weaver U-82 Saddlers oil and a paintbrush. Do not put it on the rawhide. Use rawhide cream ?
I would use neatsfoot on the leather part of Western tack. I’m an old school Hunter Princess, so I like all of my tack soft, even the western stuff. But I would not put that on rawhide. Instead, I would use Vaquero Rawhide Cream on that once in a while. Because rawhide is tied and tough, I wouldn’t want to impregnate that leather with too much fat/oil so that it might lose its shape and unravel.
And an unsolicited Nota Bene: I would be very, very careful if I were thinking about cleaning/conditioning a rawhide bosal. The rawhide core and weave on the outside give that bit of equipment its spring, and that relates to the kind of signal and release it gives to the horse. You don’t want to change the texture of that because making the whole thing too soft or mushy slows the release your horse gets and that will make him dull. Bosal care is above my Hunter Princess pay grade, so I’d ask a legit bridle horse guy about that.
Here’s the Vaquero cream I mean: https://www.rods.com/vaquero-rawhide-cream.html. I will bet it has lots of carnuba wax in it. That stuff does a really nice job of acting a bit like an oil… but not.