Synthetic vs. Leather - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By ReneeM
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-19-2013, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Location: North Carolina
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Synthetic vs. Leather

Hey I am new to the horse world and was wondering if it would be better to purchase a synthetic or leather saddle. Most of my riding will be on a trail and though I would love to do some riding in the mountains most of my trail experience will more than likely be three to four hour trail rides around our barn... So what does everyone think and what are the pros and cons of each material?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-19-2013, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Erwin, NC
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Synthetic saddles can get wet without fear of ruining them, if you have a horse that goes through water.

Leather saddles tend to be of a little higher quality IMO and the parts hold up a little better.

Synthetic saddles tend to be less expensive.

Leather saddles come in more styles.

Synthetic saddles come in camo :)
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-19-2013, 10:45 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canada
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Are you wanting an English or a western saddle? For me, I've got leather English and western saddles plus a synthetic Australian saddle. I'm rather liking the aussie saddle as I prefer trail riding and the saddle is comfortable and light weight.

Some pros and cons are: price (synthetic cheaper); durability (synthetic may not last as long); maintenance (synthetic is easy); resale value (synthetic may not keep its price); fit for both horse and rider (I've heard some people say they do not like the feel of a synthetic but it's more of a trial/error situation depending on a particular saddle).
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-19-2013, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
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Depends on how much time and effort you want to put into looking after it. A good leather saddle, properly maintained, should out last your grandkids, if it’s a good one, or unless you’re in it all day every day; I doubt synthetic one would have that kind of life span. However, if you can’t look after a leather one, no matter how good it is, it will crumble while a synthetic one shouldn’t.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-20-2013, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
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If you're just going for trail rides that won't result in your saddle getting soaked or muddy continuously i'd go with a well made leather saddle from a reputable maker or company.
It'll last you for years, will be comfortable for both you and your horse if made to fit you both properly and will only get more comfortable with use. It will also be safe, the rigging or points depending on whether its a western or English saddle will be attached properly and the stirrup leathers will be strong.
Yes it will be more time consuming looking after it but only takes a good oil every now and then and a quick wipe over after a ride and you'll be right.
Also, if something does happen to it and it needs repairing a saddler can easily fix it for you if it's synthetic it's a headache to fix.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-20-2013, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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There is just something about leather that a synthetic can't compete with. I have a synthetic english saddle, a Toulouse flex rider, no matter how good that saddle is, I can never love it, it's not leather, it's ok. I love, love my leather Collegiate, and I won't even consider synthetic for a western saddle. It's all in my mindset.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-20-2013, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Personally I prefer synthetic.

It is quieter. I can't stand a squeaky saddle on the trails and some leather ones squeak regardless of how much you oil them.

I ride far and deep, my saddles are always going to get muddy/wet. So a quick swipe and they're clean and look brand new.

I've had so many leather parts break on the trails, regardless of how well I've taken care of them. Synthetic nylon hasn't let me down.

Do invest in quality gear! Cheap is cheap, quality synthetic can cost almost as much or more than good leather. To me it's worth it, saves time. I've been happy with my Big Horns. The horses also appreciate the lighter weight and none of them have had saddle sores.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-20-2013, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: mountian back woods
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Leather for me-- i ride a lot in shorts and a synthetic saddle gives me the worst saddle burn.

They bunch up real bad when you get them wet too. (Fenders and skirt roll up) i cant stand the looks of it, lol.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-20-2013, 07:30 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vidor, Texas
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I prefer leather for my western saddles. But, I love my Wintec dressage saddle (a friend of mine has a 25 yr old Wintec and it's still going). The Wintec stock saddle is wonderful, too. Couldn't show in it so I had to let it go. My opinion is if you find a saddle that fits and is comfy, it shouldn't matter if it's synthetic or leather!
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