Saddles. Synthetic or Leather? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Saddles. Synthetic or Leather?

I am interested in what people think of synthetic and leather saddles. Are synthetic saddles easier to look after and more durable, or is leather the better option? I've heard that synthetic is cheaper but is it worth paying that little bit extra for the beautiful look and feel of a leather saddle?
If anyone can help me, I would be very grateful.
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 06:36 PM
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I personally liked my synthetic saddle better. It was MUCH lighter and when I sold it, after having it for 5 years, it still looked new. So easy to take care of as all you have to do is wipe it off. The one that I had did not fit my mare very well so I bought another saddle that was leather. The leather one is definitely nicer looking and I do like it a lot, but I paid way more for it and somehow I managed to put a big scratch in the leather. I can darken the scratch with oil, but it will never go away. If you are just riding for fun or trail riding, I would recommend synthetic. If you are showing, you may want the leather as it does look nicer.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 07:29 PM
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I really like synthetic. It can be pretty too! Easy to clean, cheaper.
The only thing is that it is probably less durable than a high-quality leather saddle.

I stick to leather when it comes to showing, synthetic in schooling.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 07:40 PM
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Synthetic is great to look after, they're durable, you can take them to the beach and just hose them off afterwards, they're that easy!!
Yes they do also have quite a long life span - HOWEVER, a good quality, well looked after leather saddle will outlive a synthetic.

In saying that synthetics are good, I must confess that I am an avid leather fan and wouldn't buy a non-leather dressage saddle now, especially for competing. I do have a Wintec GP for beach riding and 'bush bashing', and it's comfortable for that, but I still find my leather saddles far nicer to ride in.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 07:41 PM
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Yup LOVE my synthetic english saddle. I do not like the western ones though. Have to have leather western stuff.

My wintec is awesome. I went on a trail ride and it started to rain. Every one was freeking out about there saddles and I was not. . I have a nice one for sale if your looking for one ;) *wink wink* *hint hint* lol
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 10:03 PM
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I am a total leather fan. I have had my share of needing to take care of the leather, but it seems so much better fitting and nicer than the synthetic that I took on trial from the tack shop when looking for a saddle. I'm not to used to synthetic but I will say this: leather is amazing. It looks beautiful and seems always to be a better quality than the synthetic. Although it is trouble to maintain it, I would sacrifice it for a nice leather saddle. As long as leather is well taken care of it is spectacular and I would not trade it for anything.

My horse came out of a freaking dream.....<3
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 10:46 PM
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I am also an avid leather user. You couldn't pay me to take a synthetic. I think my main thing is functionality. I do a lot of roping and ranch work and it is impossible to find a synthetic roping saddle. Second to that, synthetic western saddles just look cheap to me. Even if they are good quality, they still look just cheap.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-12-2011, 11:22 PM
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I hated the synthetic saddles I've ridden in. Dallas did too. They were very uncomfortable for him. None came in the right size, they all pinched him. The stirrup leathers were impossible to work with, the saddles looked terribly fake, and they were uncomfortable for me. And they're frown upon where I show. That's just my personal experience, but I'm sure their great for some people.

I love my HDR. It's so comfortable, and it's in near perfect condition after almost 6 years. I also love my English made leather saddle. Very comfortable, and looks sharp. I've preferred every leather saddle I've been in to a synthetic saddle.

<3 Dallas, Dakota, and Shaymus <3
RIP Shaymus 8/16/13
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-13-2011, 12:56 AM
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I agree wih smrobs: synthetic western saddles look cheap. And how am I supposed to stay a buff when my saddle only weighs 15 pounds? Psht. Mine weighs 26lbs and I'm used to carrying that around. I'd feel awkward carrying around a lightweight synthetic.

Synthetic english saddles look nice to me, but I know nothing of english anything.

I also just reallyyy love the smell of leather. Can't beat it.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-13-2011, 01:15 AM
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Yes to both!!

My favorite western saddle is leather, but I also have a synthetic one. I use the synthetic when my shoulder is bad and I can't carry a heavy leather one, I also prefer the synthetic when it is really cold out it is far warmer I think, it's an Abetta and is the material looking type.

For English riding I have mainly leather saddles, I have one synthetic, it's a 'fake' leather type and I hate it, it will be sold in the summer.

If you want to show at all, I would always choose leather, but if you are just happily trail riding and enjoying your horse, then if you are lucky enough to be able to try all options then you can make a choice.
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