An Examination of Western Synthetic Saddles
What Are Synthetic Saddles?
A synthetic saddle is made of materials (all or in part) other than leather. This gives them many characteristics that differentiate them from traditional leather saddles. They are traditionally built on lightweight trees and have the fenders, jockeys and often saddle skirts replaced with synthetic materials or a synthetic/leather blend. Synthetic saddles make for great children's saddles or saddles for new horse owners.
Synthetic materials allow these lightweight western saddles to come in on average about half as heavy as a leather saddle. This leads to an easier time for both you and your horse since you will be carrying less weight every time you go for a ride. Additionally, it allows smaller riders and children to get more involved since they will be able to move these lightweight saddles around easier.
Easy or Nearly Hassle-Free Care
One of the best benefits of synthetic saddles is that they are easy or nearly hassle-free to take care of and maintain. When you own a leather saddle, you can end up spending hours oiling and conditioning the saddle and stains are nearly impossible to remove. On the contrary, synthetic saddles are usually cleaned with a damp cloth giving you more time to spend with your horse. In addition, since many of the materials are weatherproof, they are very durable and not damaged by moisture easily. I almost forgot to mention that they are abrasion resistant as well.
A discussion on synthetic western saddles is never complete without a mention of their low cost. Due to the lower costs of materials and lower labor costs, most synthetic saddles can be up to half the cost or more to a comparable leather saddle. These low-cost saddles are a great value for a durable, lightweight and easy-to-maintain saddle you'll use for years to come.
Styles and Colors
Due to the materials, synthetic saddles come in nearly any English or Western Style you can imagine. They also come in bright colors or can be make with the more traditional leather look. This allows riders to easily accessorize and match their horse tack and enjoy the experience even more.
Well Known and Popular Manufacturers and Brands
Many saddle manufacturers are now making synthetic saddles and they can now be found here at Horse Tack Online.
- American Saddlery
- Big Horn
- Circle Y
- King Series
- Royal King
- Many More
Oh yea, many of these manufacturers offer 5-year warrantied fiberglass trees that will add years of worry free enjoyment to your synthetic saddle.
What Are Synthetic Saddles Made Of?
Synthetic saddles are made of a wide variety of materials including, but not limited to:
- Cordura or Nylon - An extremely durable fabric that is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs.
- Equileather – A material frequently used in synthetic saddles that has a traditional, realistic, leather-like appearance. Equileather is low maintenance, durable, repels water and sweat, and remains flexible in cold temperatures.
- Equisuede - A synthetic foam or suede commonly used on saddle seats or other areas. Equisuede does not get slippery when wet, is quick to dry, and provides a good grip for a secure ride.
- BioThane – BioThane is nylon webbing covered with thermoplastic polyurethane or a vinyl coating. It offers offer durability, abrasion resistance, and flexibility even in cold temperatures. In addition, it can come in a wide variety of colors, or in realistic looking natural tones.