|How to Care for Rawhide|
Every time you ride with the hackamore, gently wipe off gunk (dirt, sweat, etc.) with a soft cloth (especially the inside of the nosebutton). If riding a good deal, then just a dab of the rawhide cream a couple of times a week on the inside of the bosal body helps. Some folks make their own treatments, but commercially we like Ray Holes and the Ash’s creams.
The rawhide will respond well to twice a year cleaning with the rawhide cream (don't over do it). Use a terrycloth towel and work the cream in the direction of the braid. You can use an old, soft toothbrush to loosen dirt stuck in edges, etc. if needed.
When clean, work a little more into the rawhide with your hands (don't overdo this either - more is not better). It may get warm from the friction. Let it sit overnight and wipe off any residue with another cloth.
If your gear features roo, understand that it is a lightweight leather which has a very high tensile strength. It can be treated like any other vegetable tanned leather. Since it is thin, the rawhide cream will work fine. If the bosal or hackamore is all roo, then you can treat it like leather with soap and a good natural leather conditioner.
Although tough, roo or leather is subject to damage from abrasion. The "face" can be marred or the thinner leather can be broken more easily than the thicker rawhide. Unless you allow your horse to rub it against a fence post, a roo nosebutton will hold up as well as one made from rawhide.
NEVER use any oil on rawhide. Even if it makes it through the ordeal,it will eventually tend to rot. It is not leather. The cellular structure has not been changed through a chemical cooking or pickling process. It is not "tanned" and can't take the oil. If the rawhide gets wet, let it dry naturally after wiping it with a soft cloth. DO NOT put it near heat. We like to keep rawhide as dry as possible, but we do ride in the rain when necessary.
Tip: If the rawhide gets wet, let it dry naturally after wiping it with a soft cloth. Keep it away from heaters, stoves and fireplaces. We like to keep rawhide as dry as possible, but we do ride in the rain. This is where the quality of your rawhide and the construction will really start to show.
Wet rawhide will take on the shape (like hair) of what it is against. Hang it up, but not on nails which can damage the rawhide. A bosal can be hung over a rounded shape on the wall or upsidedown over a coated hook.
If the rawhide item is a set of romal reins, hang them straight by the reins-to-romal connector to keep the shape or to help them unkink.
Note: Be careful when using man-made (i.e. not horsehair) McCarty ropes on a rawhide bosal - they can pull down too tightly and actually tweak the bars or the branches of the bosal.
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