I only had one saddle that wasnt all leather and it broke. I hate saddles that arent all leather. I only rode with mine one time. They are cheaply made and dont last. A leather saddle will last forever if you take proper care of it. To avoid injury I would stick with an all leather getup.
Woah Woah Woah Kiddo :p Just because you had a bad experience with one ride in a synthetic saddle (whose brand you did not mention) doesnt mean that they are all crappy saddles =) My Abetta, though i dont like it, is STILL working and going strong, and my Wintec is also in phenominal condition. I've taken good care of my Wintec, but i've treated my Abetta like garbage by putting it on horses who have never had a saddle on before. That saddle has been flipped over on, stepped on, etc, more times than i care to share and it is still very "safe" to ride in... it just doesn't look nice.
I also don't understand how -one- ride in -one- synthetic can give you enough information and knowledge to make a statement as bold as the one you made. I've ridden in 3 different brands and can tell you the positives and negatives of each... I just don't think its fair to say all synthetics are unsafe and will eventually break because you rode 1 horse 1 time in 1 synthetic.
Im sorry you didn't have a good experience with your synthetic, but it is just as easy (if not MORE easy) to "injure" yourself with leather tack. If you don't take proper care of it leather WILL crack, weaken, and break. If you don't take proper care of a synthetic, it just looks filthy, but it doesnt become dangerous. The place I learned to ride at -always- had cracked leathers on their english saddles and they would only get replaced when they broke (my dad had the leather on the lesson saddle he was using break while he was going over a cavaletti (sp?) and he almost REALLY hurt himself. Leather Breaks... Synthetic holds on (Or else they wouldnt use leather in Break-away halters... right? ^^)
Both my synthetic saddles (Abetta and Wintec) are -VERY- well made, and they are a great alternative to leather if you are looking for easy maintainance, a light weight, and cheaper price. Nothing beats the "look" of a well made hand crafted and tooled western saddle... I admit that.. but I by -no- means consider Synthetic Saddles unsafe... at least not the brands we have been discussing in this thread. I can't vouch for no-name ones.
If you buy a no-name cheaply assembed in (???) synthetic, yes, it will fall apart... BUT.. If you buy a no-name cheaply assembled in (???) leather saddle... it will fall apart too. I've seen more cheaply made leather saddles that have -unbolted- and had the skirts and fenders just fall off. Also, those same saddles had screws poking through the underside of the saddle and through the pad and dug into the horse's back.
Leather/Synthetic/Material does NOT make the saddle great... The assembly and ability to fit the horse and rider is what makes the saddle great.
What would you recommend for the poster to be the best fit for her? She cannot afford a well made leather Barrel Saddle (or else this thread wouldn't even be here), so she was looking into Brand Name synthetics to try to get a saddle at a better price that could still perform to her standards...
In my opinion, just saying that you hate synthetic saddles and that riding with them will result in injury really isn't helpful in this thread... If thats you're opinion, well.. then thats your opinion... but please try to provide some helpful advice for the poster, not just a broad negative statement. I came in and posted about how i hated my Abetta saddle, but I also said -exactly- why, then offered my suggestion of saddle choice to hopefully help her resolve her question. Being constructive is fun! =)
Don't mean to come on harsh, I just would love to see these forums stay constructive and positive! =)