Synthetic and cheap saddles, why the hate? Are they always that bad? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2020
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Synthetic and cheap saddles, why the hate? Are they always that bad?

So I found a cheap (as far as saddles go) $250 - $300 leather and synthetic black saddle. It has great padding, looks good to me, and has excellent reviews by real people.

But everywhere I read hates on synthetic saddles; apparently everything has to be leather and you need to spend $350-$3,500 to get a good one.

Is this just snobbery or is there a legitimate reason I canít use this saddle for a year or two? My philosophy is dump the real money on training myself and the horse.

Note: Iím an English rider switching to Western/Pleasure. I donít hate either style.

These are the two I like:

AceRugs Endurance Horse Saddle Western Riding Comfy SEAT Hand Carved Black Leather Pleasure Trail TACK Set Bridle Breast Collar (Black, 17)

Acerugs New Comfy GAITED Western Pleasure Trail Show Horse Saddle TACK 14 15 16 17 18 Free Bridle REINS Breast Collar (16")
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post #2 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 04:05 PM
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As someone who does this for a living, can I ask, how do you know they are real people? These companies spend a lot of time and money nowadays to make you think those are real reviews. Even when the reviewers are real people, they may have received various forms of compensation in exchange for writing the review, and I wouldn't give ANY weight to a review that was written in exchange for compensation.

PS I bought a cheap synthetic saddle and it was just terrible. That doesn't mean that all synthetic saddles are bad, but you're not likely to find decent quality there unless you're willing to spend a little money. IMO You're better off buying a decent saddle used then buying a poor-quality saddle new.
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post #3 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 04:16 PM
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Wintec saddles aren't super cheap, but they are compared to leather saddles. the english wintec I have has served me well and fits all my horses just fine. It depends on the saddle. I've also had some cheapy synthetic western saddle that I tore apart for spare parts. It was banged up and there was no way I could sell it. Generally leather is better though and finding a used leather saddle that's 20 years old isn't too expensive. If it's well taken care of, that saddle can still last you a really long time. It's usually worth it to buy a used, good quality saddle, that try to find a good quality cheap saddle for brand new.

In short, you get what you pay for.

No matter how much you think you know about horses, there will always be one that'll come along and teach you something new.
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post #4 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 04:33 PM
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Wintec makes some very top-dollar(and some cheaper models as well) synthetic endurance ,(not sure about western) saddles that are very comfortable(if you want to spend anywhere from 1-2k for them!), so synthetic saddles can be very nice. However, the cheaper brands in the $100-$200 range often can have bad stitching or poor quality synthetics, so I'd perhaps ask for reviews on FB or a group of people who've actually owned and ridden in them for a while before buying one.

Anywhere you go in the show world, people are going to tell you that you need to get fancy tack, fancy clothing, etc. It's just how it works. I went through a "rodeo phase" as a teen but when I saw the costs of saddles, tack, boots, etc, I quickly got out of that. I used to show 4-H and open class shows as well when I was younger and the amount of money some things cost was utterly ridiculous. However, I did find that you can often find some pretty decent quality things used or older and they work just fine. I have an old barrel saddle I got for free that looks gorgeous still and works just fine for me as a regular trail saddle(it's an older model, so no 4-inch horn lol). My black show saddle was $250 and is full leather, with barely any use. I don't see the need to buy new tack unless I absolutely cannot find something good quality used.

My advice? If you can, buy it used. Leather tack that's a bit more plain and less-bling is often pretty cheap and you can always embellish it a little on your own if you'd like. Personally, I prefer a more classy and simple look better than the bling anyhow. (You won't catch me wearing crystals or a bunch of silver...) If you ask around and find good reviews for the synthetic saddles outside of the website or Amazon reveiws/etc, go for it! There's no reason why you need to spend a ton of money on a saddle when just getting into a sport that you might not even want to stay in after a while of trying it out, and absolutely no reason why a nice synthetic saddle shouldn't work just fine.

"The art of riding is hard to find and easily lost."
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post #5 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 04:34 PM
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I went to the site and there were no reviews on the first one, only two very short reviews on the second one. No real details to determine how relevant the reviews are.

I have no bias against synthetic, at one time I had 3 Wintec Dressage saddles, and one Wintec 2000. Still have one Dressage and the 2000.

So a few years back, liking the Wintec brand so much, I bought a Wintec Western. Piece of garbage! Sold it quick.

Abetta is a popular synthetic brand too; the Endurance models seem to be fine (I have a Wide one) and have heard the Australian models are ok. The basic western or barrel racing ones do not get too many good reviews. I purchased one 20 years ago, and it was horrible. Sold it the same day to a guy at the barn that didn't have a saddle and wasn't too picky. He liked the Aztec styling.

Fabtron is a less expensive brand, has some decent saddles, Lady trail being very popular, at reasonable prices.

Ebay has a lot of good used saddles too.

Keep in mind, western saddles have to fit the horse too, so make sure the gullet is the right size.
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post #6 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 04:42 PM
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Synthetic is okay if it's a decent brand. Just don't get a no-name brand like the ones you posted. I have never heard of that brand.

Better synthetic brands for western saddles are Bighorn (rode in one for over 10 years, my favorite saddle for many years), Fabtron, Abetta, Wintec, Saddle King (not King Series), probably some others too, but those are the ones that come to mind. They will still be a cheaper saddle, but should be safe and functional. If you get a no-name, it may not be safe or functional!

Heck, I think I have might have even seen Circle Y's in a synthetic/leather hybrid.

Getting a decent brand is also important in a leather saddle. It's not the leather that makes the saddle good, it's the tree and workmanship. If you shop around, you could likely find an almost new saddle at a used price. I've spent around $500 on used leather saddles more than once that looked JUST like new. Except that it didn't work for someone and they had to sell at a loss to get it sold. Sort of like a new car depreciating once it goes off the lot.

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post #7 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 05:07 PM
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Personally I wouldn't buy a saddle without actually seeing it first. Buying online is a real crap shot. Most of the saddles with bridle ,breast collar included for 299 are junk cheap quality.

Not a fan of Abetta or wintec Western saddles,sturip leathers snap in two within a month of use. Both saddles are uncomfortable. Basically peices of junk.

The cheap ones are just that cheap poorly made don't hold up. Most important part saddle needs to fit horse

Wouldn't believe the reviews who knows if person doing review, even knows what a good saddle is. Can't tell quality from a picture.
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post #8 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 05:13 PM
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I buy gear that will last me or someone else a very, very long time. I also want the saddle to form to the rider.

And even more important, I want a rawhide or bullhide covered tree. Again, I'm going for longevity. And safety. I get that with decent leather saddles.
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post #9 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 05:31 PM
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Those two saddles are garbage. Asian made, warped tree, junk. As someone already posted, go with a brand name. I tried a synthetic Wintec western saddle, hated it.

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #10 of 50 Old 01-12-2020, 05:58 PM
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Those saddles looked like they were made of a very poor quality leather.
they are no-name brands that will be very hard to resell if and when you get to the point of wanting a 'good' saddle for showing.

Look at it this way, if you have any long range goals, you WILL need a better saddle. you may say, well, I can get along with this one for a couple of years. Ok, so, you get to the point of needing a new , better saddle. You try to sell your junk one, and no one will buy it. You want to buy a nice, all leather saddle at $500 used. You now must , basically, re-invest the $200 into the cost of your new one, since you will have nothing left over from your first saddle purchase, with your total spent = $700

If you buy a nicer used one first, it costs $500 used, but you pay only that. And no hassle of getting rid of the old synthetic that no one wants.
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