I'm pretty new to the site, and in the process of becoming a horse owner after 8+ years of riding, leasing, and whining. However, I never ended up buying my own saddle because I didn't want to be stuck with something that wouldn't fit my eventual horse.
I'm looking at Western saddles, primarily for pleasure and trails-- maybe endurance riding in the future, but certainly not for a while. My budget is around $500, however anything less would be a relief.
Of course, the first option is to go synthetic (Abetta, Wintec), however I understand that several people do not believe they have the same give and flex as a leather saddle (and understandably so!). Alternatively, I can shell out the money for a quality leather saddle (Circle Y High Horse Lockhart Saddle - Statelinetack.com), but I'm not really sure where to start!
Can anyone recommend a good first saddle for my purposes? Any help is appreciated! Thanks so much! :)