Which do you prefer and why?
Has anyone experienced the newer synthetics rubbing on leather saddles?
I have not used either yet, only traditional leather leathers on leather English saddles, but I may need to buy something for a saddle I just picked up and would like less bulk.
Also, I’m rather short…. 5’1” and a smidgen with a 24’ inseam. I generally have to punch extra holes in regular adult sized leathers for a comfortable fit.
In the webbers… would a 28” be short enough? I’ve read some reviews by shorter adults that they may not be, so should I consider the kids sized 24”?
I really like webbers. I rode in a Wintec saddle with webbers for most of my "early" riding years when I was leasing, so when I bought my horse and got a leather saddle for him I decided I wanted leather webbers, too.
Bates (same company as Wintec) makes a leather version of webbers, but they're slightly different than the Wintec ones- the little metal T that secures the stirrup length goes into a little pocket in the Bates ones (instead of all the way through like Wintec) so the other side looks like a solid leather strap, which looks nicer when they're new. Eventually they wear through the leather on the other side of the pocket and then it looks bad.
I ended up buying Prestige Ideal Dressage Leathers instead. I'm also short (5'2", really short legs, too) and the Short length works very well for me. "Regular" size people end up dropping the length almost all the way to the bottom when they ride in my saddle, though They're designed pretty much the same as the Wintec webbers, except with leather. They do have some quirks, though. Being leather, they're much thicker than the synthetic webbers I was used to. It was really hard to get the stirrups on them initially and continues to be kind of difficult to get them on the stirrup bars when I take them off (though I think that's more because of how my saddle is flocked than anything else). They came with plastic sleeves that cover the metal T. Mine wouldn't stay in place and I thought they were kind of tacky looking so I took them off. I later bought some leather Bates covers but didn't like the extra bulk, so I no longer use those, either. I do have a wear spot on the inside of my half chaps, but I'm not sure if it's from the metal piece rubbing or just general riding...
I've always been advised not to mix synthetic and leather. The Wintec webbers are certainly cheaper than any of the leather webber options, so if your leather saddle isn't all that nice it might work out just fine. I wouldn't chance it on a leather saddle I cared about, though.
I HATE synthetic stirrup leathers...even on synthetic saddle. They are a huge pain to adjust. We have a lesson program and need to adjust the stirrups for every rider. I have just plain thrown away all the synthetic leathers I've had!
I had read/heard that about mixing synthetic and leather, but have no experience myself with mixing the two. And I read some reviews on the Bates that said the same thing about the wearing through the pockets. How long did it take for yours to wear through?
This saddle has a slightly wider twist than I am used to (this horses needs a wide) and I can already tell the buckle bulk is going to be an issue for me.
Are there good slim leather leathers out there?
I did see on some saddle website that there was a leather that hooked on the bar like a webber does, but after it went through the stirrup, folded back up under the flap and bucked to the middle billet.
All I could think of was just how much that would limit the range of motion and be dangerous.
I didn't get the Bates ones, but saw several pairs worn through, one on a friend's saddle (maybe a few years old with regular wear?) and a few on the barn's schooling saddles (not sure how old, but heavy wear).
I hadn't seen the ones that attach to the billets before but found them easily enough knowing what to search for It's certainly an interesting idea.
I've had two pairs of Webbers for my Wintec dressage saddle over the years. Verona, the Wintec webbers also have the little pocket thing on the visible side so that you don't see the metal piece, though I don't think it's the case in way older ones. Bought the first pair about 8 or so years ago when I got the saddle, and it took almost no time at all for them to start to show wear. Nothing that made them unsafe, but the black stuff on the outside wore off so that you could see the gray fibers underneath on the holes that had any use on them. This pair also stretched like nobody's business, which I was told would not happen with these synthetics. None of this was really visible while riding, but they finally had some structural damage over the summer and I had to replace them. Because they showed so much wear in almost no time I thought about buying a different pair, but ended up getting more webbers.
Over the past 8 years they've DEFINITELY improved the product. I was expecting a ton of stretch in them again, but there was almost none. Since the summer they haven't shown any wear through the black outside, BUT they added a little guard that you slide over the hole (as seen in Verona's photo of the bates webbers) so that may contribute to the lack of wear. I'm glad I ended up giving them a second chance. My trainer had a pair of the non-webber Wintec leathers and I HATED them. They were super difficult to adjust, very bulky, and actually wore pretty quickly. That said, they definitely improved the webbers, so I guess it's possible that their normal leathers are much better.
How nice is the saddle that you bought? If it's a pricey saddle, then I wouldn't risk putting synthetic leathers on it. Some folks say that it doesn't really matter, others act as though it's a mortal sin. I can't say one way or the other, but it'd be less pricey to buy some Bates webbers than trash the resale value of your saddle by having uber scuffed flaps from synthetic leathers!
Just thinking out loud here…… I wonder if I could use endurance covers on synthetic webbers? I’m not showing, just out for comfort more than anything and why I want to reduce the bulk at the stirrup bars. The saddle is a used one, but a nice one so keeping it in good shape does matter to me.
Keep the great ideas coming... I'm all ears for anything that's slimmer than what I already have.