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Tennessee 03-29-2009 09:39 PM

Synthetic vs. Leather?
I am looking for a new saddle, and I cannot decide between a synthetic or a leather. It will be used for both trail and barrel racing, and I am not exactly the best person to clean my tack when it needs it.

I have owned both, but I still cannot decide.

For synthetic I was thinking Abetta, and for leather I was thinking either American Saddlery or Big Horn.

Whatcha think?

CJ82Sky 03-29-2009 10:04 PM

You know I love the Abetta I have, though I had a great old leather saddle as well. I'd say sit in them and if you have any similar ones around that you can borrow, ride and see which you prefer. The added plus of the Abettas imo are that they are easy to clean, never need to be oiled, and are lightweight which some horses prefer. Try both out and go with what works for you and fits your horse best!

Walkamile 03-29-2009 10:11 PM

I own both synthetic and leather saddles. If the weather is iffy, I use the synthetic (can't stand wet leather or having to dry it and condition afterwards, yes I'm lazy). If the weather is good, I do love my leather saddle.

Since you've owned both, it's truly up to you, you already know the pros and cons. Good luck!

(I do love the feel of my leather saddle and the smell and sound! :-))

I've been of no help, sorry.:-(

Skippy! 03-29-2009 10:16 PM

Ooh! We had a discussion on Synthetic Saddles not to long ago! =) Oh! and it was actually posted by you, LOL! here's the trackback if ya want it:

I would have to say Wintec for a synthetic as they aren't made with the Cordura... so they're easier to clean off =) BUT... I don't think they make 'em in round skirts for Barrel Racers, so I'd have to agree with your choice on Abetta. I owned one and admittedly I didn't like it at all because it was harder to keep clean (the cordura) and the synthetic material on the pommel was very brittle. Skippy! fell over at the canter a week after i bought it and skinned it all up =/ He did the same with my Wintec and not so much as a scratch on it ;)

As for the leather... I LOVE Circle Y saddles, but i am unsure that they make those in round skirts either! LOL! I'm unfamiliar with the other brands ya mentioned =)

as CJ82Sky said, make sure the fit is good for you and your horse... and it would be awesome if a friend of yours had one you could borrow and ride in to see how well it fits.

Try looking at a Consignment Tack Store in your area =) Thats always a good place to find good used Western Saddles.

Personally, though I LOVE synthetic... if i could get one or the other, i'd choose leather. I think they'll last for generations if properly cared for. It's worth the maintainance to me! *hugs her Stubben Dressage Saddle, as well as her Collegiate Dressage Saddle* I have my eye on a black Circle Y Park and Trail saddle to add to my collection ^^

Oop, i guess I wasn't really helpful either! LOL!

Best of luck to ya hun! Getting a new saddle is always very exciting!

Tennessee 03-30-2009 06:26 PM

CJ82Sky - I have a question about the Abetta. If I were to get mine REALLY dirty on a trail ride, could I pop it in the bath and wash it that way instead of doing it all by hand? That would be my only concern because I can get a saddle dirty, or muddy anyways...

Walkamile - Actually, you do the same thing I did back when I owned both. But, now I am just looking for one and can't decide.

Skippy! - We totally did have that discussion not long ago, but I cannot make up my mind. I was checking out the Wintecs, and my only concern is that people say that the western Wintecs break down easily, and that when they were going downhill the saddle popped up. Has this ever happened to you? But as far as price and look, they seem a bit better than the Abettas. And as for the round skirt goes, I can live with a square skirt if the saddle is better. Besides, that is what I am riding in now.

Walkamile 03-30-2009 06:35 PM

Tennessee, I own a Wintec Western saddle and have had it for 7 or 8 years now. Used it hard and often and is in just as good shape as the day I bought it. Yes I also read about the person whose wintec western "popped-up" and can't for the life of me figure it out. I guess things like that can happen (obviously did) , but that has not been my experience.

Skippy! 03-30-2009 06:43 PM

I have had my Wintec for about 5 years and horses have rolled over on it and flipped over with it and it's been a champ! Still looks really new too! =) As Walkamile said, its crazy that it happened, but it obviously did! LOL! I guess that saddle got through Quality Control by accident. I highly recommend Wintec, but definately go with what you think would fit you the best!

Tennessee 03-30-2009 06:48 PM

Walkamile- That was my father's concern. He hates the idea of me buying a synthetic, and insists upon me spending $2500 for a brand new Circle Y barrel saddle, but I don't want two of the same kind, plus I was looking for a lighter one for my new Palomino. He is so afraid that it is going to just fall apart the first time I ride in it.

Skippy! 03-30-2009 07:28 PM


Originally Posted by Tennessee (Post 279990)
Walkamile- That was my father's concern. He hates the idea of me buying a synthetic, and insists upon me spending $2500 for a brand new Circle Y barrel saddle, but I don't want two of the same kind, plus I was looking for a lighter one for my new Palomino. He is so afraid that it is going to just fall apart the first time I ride in it.

Well there ya go! Tell him you'll definately get a Circle Y barrel saddle if he fronts ya the cash! ;D Then he'll probably be all sorts of happy with the idea of a Synthetic, or shopping at a Consignment store! LOL!

My husband is like that... sees a saddle he wants me to get, then when i tell him i'll get it if he buys it... he starts looking in the bargain bin at the local tack store, L M A O!

I'm just messin' with ya ;) I've seen people use Wintecs and in my personal experience never had a bad review on em... they're still truckin! =)

Tennessee 03-30-2009 07:32 PM

Skippy! - Totally Skippy! My father finds it necessary to own 8 saddles of his own, but will not front the cash for his 14 year old without a job and practically moneyless. Haha. But my birthday is in April, so I bet you will never guess what I am thinking of asking for.

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