Synthetic vs. Leather Saddles: A Lighthearted Look at the Debate
In the market for a new saddle? Can’t decide between a budget-friendly synthetic saddle (such as Abetta or Wintec) vs something more expensive and made out of leather?
Here are some pros and come to help you decide.
Maintenance: Synthetic saddles are easy to maintain. Saddle dirty? Throw it in the pool. Feeling super lazy? Keep it in the bed of the truck and take it through the car wash. Leather saddles require maintenance to keep them looking like they don’t belong hanging on the wall of some dive bar.
Horse: Was your horse a gift that you didn’t want, or did you find him on Craigslist for less than $300? Does his demeanor warrant his cheap price? Maybe an expensive leather saddle is not the best option… just yet… to put on his back. Might as well throw that cheapo, lightweight nylon one on his back until he learns how to be a productive member of society.
Intended use: Are you roping cattle/llamas/unruly children? A synthetic saddle is no match against a snot-nosed, wild-range bull or six-year-old boy. You’ll need something heavy-duty that will stay on your horse’s back and has a strong horn that can hold a ton of weight flopping around like a catfish on the other end of the rope.
Level of activity: Is horseback riding a substitute for a gym membership to you? And by riding horses, you really mean going to the barn, playing with the barn kitties, eventually saddling up your horse, not actually riding, unsaddling and going home to binge watch the latest Netflix series while pile-driving Cool Ranch Doritos down your throat. Then maybe a heavyweight 80-pound leather saddle is right for you. If lifting the saddle is your only means of a workout, the heavier, the better.
Person who does the saddling: Does your husband/wife/life partner saddle your horse for you? Well, if you’re missing your arms or legs or have some health issue that keeps you from saddling your own, this doesn’t apply. If you’re relying on him or her because you’re too lazy, then for the love of heaven, make sure your saddle is the lightest one you can find. Abetta saddles weigh 18 pounds, FYI.
Personal budget: Are you a poor individual that owns horses (like the rest of us)? A synthetic saddle might be the best option, compared to the cost of a new leather saddle. I mean, if you’re deciding between a leather saddle and ramen noodles for the rest of the year, versus a synthetic saddle and ramen noodles with ice cream for dessert for the rest of the year, I think I know which one I’d go for.
No matter what kind of saddle you own, go riding!
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