Horse Podcast Ep 171: Leather vs Biothane

Equestrian Adventuresses Travel and Horse Podcast Ep 171 - Leather vs Biothane

In today’s podcast episode I am talking basics. Every horse owner and rider know his or her tack, be it saddles, bridles, breastplates or martingales. Traditionally they all are made from leather but a couple of years ago, a new material made its appearance: Biothane. Its an artificial material but it has greatly changed the world of horse riding with more durable and colourful tack. Today we discuss the pros and cons of both leather and biothane and what you need to know before buying it.

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Leather Tack

Leather tanning is one of the oldest industries in human civilisation. It has been used for footwear, gloves, amour, animal tack and items of daily use.

Leather comes in different qualities which are determined by:

  • The part of the hide it was taken from
  • The layer of the hide (top or bottom)
  • Age and breed of the animal
  • Climate

Once the hide is tanned, it is split in two or more parts from which different qualities of leather are produced. The best quality of leather is made from the top layer.

Full Grain Leather

The best quality leather made from the top part of the hide. It is less processed and leaves the entire grain intact including natural scarring and blemishes.

Top-Grain Leather

Also made from the top layer of the hide, but is buffed, sanded and pigmented to provide a smoother, more uniform look.

Split-Grain Leather/ Genuine Leather

Made from the lower part of the hide and do not have any of the hide’s natural grain or markings. Its quality is much less than the other types of leather and it is not as durable.

Bonded Leather

Technically not leather at all but a mix of leather dust, vinyl, leather scraps, plastic and glue that has been bonded together. Cheap but not durable.


Biothane Tack

Biothane is a trademark artificial material that has the look and feel of leather. It is basically a brand, getting produced by the BioThane Coated Webbing Corp in Ohio, USA, but there are also cheaper copies under different names such as vegan leather, coated webbing, etc.

It is a polyester core webbing with a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) coating.

The strength comes from the core while the coating makes it durable, waterproof and UV-light resistent.

There are five basic coating types, Gold, Beta, Diamond, Granite and Griamond.

The most commonly found type in horse tack is Beta Biothane which is soft, leather-like, flexible and low maintenance.

Colours of the original Biothane:

Copyright http://www.biothane.com

Your Host today:

Ute Tonia (India)

Don’t forget to check out the resources section in this article!


  • Know your leather
  • Know your biothane
  • Pros & cons
  • Experiences

Thank you for tuning in and happy trails!

Special Announcement

Horse Nomads – Book 5 of the Equestrian Adventuresses Book Series

Collected and published by Krystal Kelly

Finally, the 5th book of the EQA book series is about to be launched with five super cool stories featuring women from all around the world! Whether it is about riding horses in Lesotho or India or opening a yard on a Greek Island where horse riding is all male-dominated, all stories are packed with adventures and challenges. It is the perfect way to endure the -hopefully- last few months of lockdown and Covid-19 Travel Restriction and it will transport you to the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, the ruggedness of the Kingdom in the Sky Lesotho, or let you enjoy the world looking through the lyre-shaped ears of the Indian Marwari horses.

All books of the EQA book series are available as e-book, paperback and soon all will be available as audiobooks as well.

Grab your books and audiobooks now! Incredible true stories of horse riding travel adventures around the world.

Do you feel that we are missing out on an important topic? Or maybe you have an interesting story to tell? Contact Heather or Ute!


Thanks for listening to our Leather vs Biothane Episode!

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