I've been riding in Wintec's for the past couple of years and have just bought a Thorowgood T6 Dressage for myself. I love how light and low maintenance they are. I don't love the squeaking, but it's manageable, and my saddle is brand new, so that may go away or I've heard of using baby powder to make it go away. I've shown, mostly dressage and a few other types in synthetic saddles, (and I'm talking about the suede look Wintec Isabel, so no mistaking that for real leather) and never had a problem placing in classes. Frankly, when I'm riding, there isn't that much of the saddle that's actually visible, and I've never had a judge come up and inspect my saddle to see if it was real leather or not. Granted, I'm just showing low level, local stuff, I guess things may be different when you move up.