When I was exhibiting with our EquiRex stand at the Royal Windsor Horse Show the Devoucoux stand caught my attention.
Devoucoux presented a saddle made with a very innovative vegetable tanned leather. Their flyer stated that three years of research and a whopping two million euro’s went into the development. Time to explore further! Mrs Champenois from the French Devoucoux headquarters explained the principles and the environmental gain of these revolutionary saddles.
What made Devoucoux decide to make the investment needed for the development of the vegetable tanned leather?
We decided to develop the pure vegetable leather due to an awareness about the risk of chromium in leather production by all the leather industry.
We decided to develop a leather without using chromium for the wellness of both horse and rider by removing risk to develop allergies caused by chromium. With the production of pure vegetal leather, we also make a big step for environment. During the production process because we do not spill chromium in the environment. And also at the end of life of the saddle or accessory, because we can’t destroy leather with chromium by fire due to toxic smoke. At the moment we only have the solution to bury chromium tanned leather in the ground. The pure vegetal leather and the vegetable tanned leather in general is not a problem for environment at the end of its life.
Traditional chromium tanned leather releases a toxic smoke when burned at the end of the life cycle. Vegetable tanned leather can be recycled without problems.
Do you make all your saddles now in vegetable tanned leather?
We offer to our customer the pure vegetal leather option on all our saddles, except for the Chiberta Junior, which is currently only available in calfskin and nubuck. The Omega saddle is offered only in pure vegetal leather.
[Do you also make bridles and other accessories in vegetable tanned leather?
Leather for bridles was already vegetable tanned leather. What is new with the pure vegetal leather is a soft leather only made with vegetable tannins.
All our bridles are now made with vegetable tanned leather, soft leather included. And in few months, our girth will be available with pure vegetal leather for soft leather.
What makes it last longer than regular/chrome tanned leather?
The process of tanning with only vegetable tannins is more respectful of fibres which compose the skins. We say that the leather is “alive”, it develops a patina over time.
Does it need another type of daily care?
The pure vegetal leather need exactly same care as other leathers : wash the leather with leather soap and then nourish it with leather balsam.
Photo credits: Devoucoux