Originally Posted by sorral3
the only pro to synthetic is weight. Leather is more durable, it resists tears and abrasion better.
Most synthetic saddle (western) are also built on a synthetic tree, I really hate those. They tend to have shorter bars that can bother longer backed horses. For me, the weight is not an issue, I am a fairly strong man, but kids and smaller women may not be able to through my 67 lb wade on a horse.
Another obvious pro to synthetic is ease of care. I totally understand why some prefer leather, but I don't think anyone can argue that wiping a saddle off with a damp cloth is more difficult than grabbing the saddle soap :P
I have a synthetic Wintec isabell dressage saddle. No tears or anything on it, but it has started to show wear over the 7 or so years that I've had it. It's super light and easy to care for, and wears pretty well. But... one day it'll probably wear out. If you take care of a good quality leather saddle then it'll last forever.
Some synthetic saddles look great, and some look obviously fake. It's really a matter of preference, though. I have both (I use my synthetic Wintec most frequently, but I have a leather close contact, western, and australian saddles), and I love all of them. Leather looks nice, but it's a pain to have to maintain saddles that I hardly use.