What Is A Synthetic Saddle?
A synthetic saddle is made up of man-made materials rather than conventional cowhide leather, and it can be partially or totally synthetic. The advantages of synthetic material in a seat include its smaller weight and lower price.
Synthetic saddles come in a range of forms, including endurance, trail, and barrel, although trail and pleasure saddles are the most popular. Thankfully, the early models’ wild leopard prints and other dramatic designs have fallen out of popularity, and the majority of today’s models are meant to seem like classic western saddles.
While early synthetic saddles were of low quality and had questionable aesthetic appeal, today’s saddles have vastly improved. However, there is a huge variation in quality, so do your research before purchasing.
The Western Saddle Guide admits to having a little preference for traditional western saddles. We adore leather for its scent, appearance, feel, durability, and history. However, we acknowledge that synthetic saddles have improved to the point that they can now be used for casual riding.
Pros Of Synthetic Saddles
Synthetics are especially well-suited to:
- Riders who ride for an hour or two once or twice a week.
- Children who have trouble lifting leather saddles and who quickly outgrow them.
- Beginner riders may wish to wait until they have a better grasp of their needs before purchasing a high-quality leather saddle.
- Riders who are physically challenged may benefit from a lighter saddle.
- Those on a limited budget. A high-quality synthetic saddle is preferable than a low-cost leather saddle.
Cons Of Synthetic Saddles
You should also be aware of some of these saddles’ limitations:
- They are not intended to be used as working saddles and will not withstand heavy use.
- Despite promises to the contrary, synthetic materials will never outlast well-maintained leather.
- On synthetic saddles, the skirts and other flaps curl up with regular use.
- Many of these saddles exchange rider comfort for horse comfort, which is never a good deal.
Synthetic saddles are becoming increasingly popular among recreational riders, and they represent one of the most significant advances in western saddle manufacturing today.
What remains to be seen is if this is a permanent shift or merely a passing fad.