Synthetic Western Saddles: Are They Right for You?

Hit the trail or head to an event, and you’re likely to see more than a few synthetic western saddles. These awesome saddles are becoming more popular, and you might be considering picking one up for everyday use. There are quite a few reasons these saddles are gaining favor. Let’s take a look.


Some colors just don’t come naturally. True, we carry colorful western saddles made of leather, but the synthetics represent less of an investment while allowing you to ride in trendy style. Kids particularly enjoy the many designs available, as do fun-loving adults. Think purple, pink, zebra, or even cool camouflage, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing some of the style possibilities synthetic western saddles have to offer! Other colors like blue and green are well-represented, and there are plenty of more traditional looks to choose from, too, with various shades of brown and black available.

Lightweight and Comfortable for Horse and Rider

One of the nicest things about synthetic western saddles is that they are ultra-light in comparison to similar styles made of leather. Well-made synthetic saddles are as comfortable for the horse as they are for the rider, but you’ll still need to ensure that you’re selecting a saddle that is designed to provide a proper fit or you’ll lose this benefit.

Low Cost

Synthetic western saddles typically cost less than their leather counterparts. This is fantastic for anyone who is purchasing saddles for kids, since you can get the right size without making much of an investment, and it’s easy to move up to the next size as the child grows.  They’re also a great choice for beginners who want to learn more about what they prefer before investing in a high-quality leather saddle meant to last for many years.

These saddles are also fantastic for anyone with a low budget. High-quality western synthetic saddles are far better than poorly made or badly worn leather ones. If price is your main concern, be sure to take a look at our gallery of clearance saddles, which changes frequently, and which typically contains an outstanding mix of leather and synthetic western saddles.

Easy to Care For

If you have very little time to care for your tack, then a synthetic saddle will be right up your alley. These saddles need very little in terms of care and maintenance. They are easy to clean, and you don’t have to spend any time conditioning leather.

Now for the Fine Print…

Synthetic western saddles are great for casual riding, but they don’t stand up well to heavy use. If you ride more than a few hours per week, you’ll probably be happier in a good leather saddle. If you do any active sports with your horse, then you definitely need a saddle that’s designed for your particular sport, i.e. barrel racing or roping.

While a good leather saddle will sometimes  last for decades when properly maintained, synthetic western saddles have shorter lifespans. You’ll start to see the skirts and other flaps showing a little fraying and curling after several months of use, and the fabric on the seats is prone to wear and tear. This is normal and partly explains why these saddles typically cost less. Despite these few negatives, there is lots to like, and it’s clear that synthetic western saddles are not going anywhere soon!