Well then see what happens when one assumes?
Honestly, I don't understand the reasoning. If the saddle looks conventional, why would the material it is made of matter?
Very few sports pay so much attention to proper turnout and appearance than dressage. And I know of no instance where a judge looks at the material the tack is made of. If you show up in a conservative looking and clean english saddle and bridle, the judge will not care what it is made of.
And synthetic does not mean inexpensive. Pricing a Wintec Isabell dressage saddle will cure anyone of that misconception.
First, I did not say the judges would mark off or be looking at the tack, nor did I say it was cheap. I said, that as an example, the most acceptable and widely used reining saddles are not cheap. But, if you want to fit in, as in not stick out like a sore thumb, you need leather for MOST accredited shows, no matter what your discipline. Most disciplines have what they consider "proper", at least from the shows I have been to, from driving, to breed, etc.
The tack would only be taken into account, at least from my experience-in a fitting class. Generally speaking, the larger the show-the less acceptable fake is. Acceptable meaning to the MASSES. not to the judges. Personally, I do not like to be the only one doing ANYTHING at a show.
I much prefer to "fit in".
I also think, from the Wintecs I have seen, particularly the english ones-that most people could not tell the difference with a riders butt in the saddle and from a distance. WEstern is a different story.