Not true. You can get saddles with REAL fleece if you want it and want to pay for it. IT IS true the production line, mass produced saddle makers ARE moving away from it. Gotta squeeze out that profit margin, after all.
I had a saddle (A pre-Greenville/Sulphur split Billy Cook) that I bought for 150.00 because the fleece was rags but the leather was still amazing, and it was a 1980s made saddle. It was real fleece. Took it to a saddle maker to get it refleeced. I was offered real or synthetic. I choose his high grade synthetic because it was a saddle to refub and resell. He said a lot of saddle makers, Billy Cook included even now, would buy cheap fleece out of Mexico. Said the tanning process would never stop and in time, the fleece gets eaten up. Some batches/shipments can be worse than others, etc etc. It was very educational.
I had a 76 Leddy refurbed to keep, I had Leddy's put REAL fleece back under it. It feels amazing.
I've bought and sold a LOT of saddles in the last year and a half, and I can tell the real from the fake immediately - but I also trail ride and I ride a Saddlesmith made Connie Combs gator racer. Mostly because it fits me and my horse well.
I don't mind the fake fleece under it, not like I thought I would. I am, however, developing a distaste for other synthetic products - I won't have another acrylic blend saddle blanket/sweat pad, or another neoprene girth, or another cheap saddle pad, ever again. I keep either cotton string or mohair string girths (roper style) on my saddles. They dry so much better when we tromp through creeks and mud, they wick away sweat better, the saddle doesn't slip when the hair between the girth and the horse gets sweaty. I've not tried one of those air ride girths yet though... I hear they are the cat's meow.
(Not trying to start controversy! I just don't like neoprene girths. )
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."