Leather saddles are the standard of the western horsemanship tradition. The strength, the durability, the flexibility, the aroma, and the eye appeal - all combine to make leather the optimal material for saddle making.
There is no question about it - the best saddles are made of quality leather. Anyone who would tell you differently is not truly knowledgeable about saddle making. This doesn't mean that synthetic saddles don't have their place; it simply means they can't match the quality and durability of leather saddles. Ever seen a working cowboy riding in a synthetic saddle? Just not going to happen.
Check the selection of leather saddles available in our eBay Tack Shop.
It takes the equivalent of a complete cowhide to make a leather saddle. The heavy hides used in saddle making are known as saddle skirting and are shipped from tanneries as "sides." Skirting comes in different weights (thickness) and grades (quality). Thick leather is used for critical, heavy wear parts such as fenders, stirrup leathers, and seats. Lighter weight leather is used for areas that need to stretch around different shapes such as the fork, cantle back, and stirrup covers.
Hermann Oak Leather is considered by most saddle makers to produce the finest quality saddle leather in the world. A saddle made from Hermann leather is a sign of quality.