Western Saddle Guide

Western Saddle Guide > Saddle Types > Synthetic Saddle

Synthetic Saddle

A synthetic saddle is either partially or completely comprised of man-made materials rather than from traditional cowhide leather. The appeal of synthetic material in a saddle is its significantly lighter weight and lower cost.

Synthetic saddles are available in a variety of styles – endurance, trail, barrel - but are most popular as trail or pleasure saddles. Luckily, the wild leopard prints and other dramatic designs of the early models have seemed to fallen out of favor and most of today’s models are designed to look like traditional western saddles.

While the early synthetic saddles were of rather poor quality and questionably visual appeal, today’s saddles have improved dramatically. There, however, remains a wide range of quality and you must do your homework before you buy.

We, at the Western Saddle Guide admit to a bit of bias towards tradition in western saddles. We love leather – the smell, the look, the feel, the durability, and the tradition. But we do acknowledge that with the advancements in synthetic saddles, they can now be quite appropriate for casual riding.

Synthetics are particularly a good match for:

  • Casual riders who may ride for an hour or two a week

  • Children, who have difficulty lifting leather saddles and tend to outgrow saddles quickly

  • Beginner riders who may want to wait to invest in a high quality leather saddle until they have a better understanding of their needs

  • Physically challenged riders who may benefit from a lighter saddle

  • Those with tight budgets. A high quality synthetic saddle is a better choice than a cheap quality leather one

You should also be aware of some of the limitations of these saddles:

  • They are definitely not designed as working saddles and will not stand up to hard use

  • Despite claims of durability, synthetic material will never last as long as well-cared for leather. With regular use, you’ll see skirts and other flaps on synthetic saddles curling up.

  • Many of these saddles compromise horse comfort for rider comfort – never a good trade-off.

Synthetic saddles are growing rapidly in popularity among recreational riders and represent one of the biggest changes in western saddle making today. What remains to be seen is whether this is a change that is here to stay or just a passing fancy.

Check out the wide selection of quality brand name (Wintec, Fabtron, Big Horn, Abetta) Synthetic Saddles at HorseSaddleShop and our eBay Tack Shop .

Synthetic Saddle Synthetic Saddle


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