IME, English requires more strength on my part than bareback. But that's just me.
And whoever said you need a leather saddle for showing.....that entirely depends on the discipline. I know people who have evented in Wintecs up to training.
OP, just a word of advice, do NOT look at new saddles in your price range.
If I were you, I'd save up at least $300 and then go search for a used saddle of a good, well-known brand.
Good luck and have fun. English owns.
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