In this video we’re going to describe six
of the various synthetic saddles available to horse riders.
The list of synthetic saddles includes; show saddles, side saddles, endurance saddles,
western saddles, jumping saddles, and dressage saddles.
First, let’s review the advantages of synthetic saddles.
Any horse enthusiast can attest to the fact that equipment is becoming more and more expensive.
As a result, many individuals are seeking alternative products that will provide the
same benefits at a lower cost. Synthetic saddles are such an item that, as
a result, have increased in popularity. Synthetic saddles are indeed much cheaper than a leather
saddle, but there are many other reasons to consider purchasing one. The materials that
synthetic saddles are made of have many advantages over leather.
Equi leather, a material commonly used, can be cleaned simply by wiping with a damp rag.
In addition, it never requires any type of oil or break-in processes.
Another commonly used material is Cordura, which is equally durable and also renders
special care unnecessary. The weight of a leather saddle can be very
difficult to manage, but synthetic saddles weigh much less due to their materials. As
a result, they can be much easier to use, and may simplify the dressing process. Finding
an appropriate storage place for a synthetic saddle is not a difficult task, as they are
usually light enough to be hung practically anywhere.
There truly is a synthetic saddle available for virtually any taste, and the styles available
range from very traditional to very modern. A wide array of bright colours can be selected,
or a more traditional leather-look may be more what a person is looking for.
In fact, there are some equi leather saddles that are virtually impossible to distinguish
from leather saddles. Many people originally choose a synthetic saddle due to the significant
price difference, but owners will quickly realize that there are many other benefits
as well. Before making any purchasing decisions, a prospective buyer should carefully consider
the advantages of a synthetic saddle; the choice will be easy.
Now, let’s review six of these saddle types. 1. Synthetic Show Saddles.
Show saddles are designed more for use in the show ring rather than for endurance riding
or other equestrian events. There are two main styles of saddles in general, Western
or English. Depending on the discipline or style of riding one wants to do, one can choose
either a Western show saddle or an English saddle. Several significant differences exist
between English and Western saddles. There’s no padding between the tree and the external
leather and fleece skirting, in a Western saddle.
Where the Western saddle generally has a horn, the English saddle lacks one and is not as
deep-seated. The English saddle is also distinguished by its panels; pads attached to the underside
of the seat. The English show saddle is built on a solid tree, with leather and padding
materials added. The tree is made of laminated layers of top-quality wood reinforced by spring
steel and riveted gullet plates. These trees, called ‘spring trees’, are adjustable.
The traditional show saddle is minimal and has a close fit, with straight-cut flaps.
The stirrup is further forward, with the cutback pommel behind, instead of over the withers.
The rider has little support. In comparison, modern-style English show saddles have a dressage-like
form, with vertically cut flaps to give the rider a deeper seat. Western show saddles
are constructed on an all-purpose tree, but have extra tooling and adornments, such as
silver or crystals. The adornment ranges from light to highly
elaborate. Because the silver is both weighty and expensive, these saddles aren’t the
best for everyday riding. Show saddles come in both synthetic materials and leather. Leather
is traditional, holding its value well over time, but synthetic saddles have several excellent
advantages. The price of a quality synthetic show saddle is much less than that of a leather
one. Synthetic saddles are lightweight, half the weight of leather saddles. They are also
easier to maintain, needing only to be wiped with a damp cloth.
2. Synthetic Side Saddles. Leather and synthetic side saddles come in
a range of different styles and materials. They are used for a wide range of purposes,
as well. Side saddles are often called lady saddles because they are and have most often
been used by women to ride in a side saddle position more easily and comfortably.
They can be made to customize to a client’s personal preferences and specifications. Side
saddles can differ in grade, size, pattern, style, texture, and colour. It all depends
on what material is used. Most often, leather is used because of its durability and comfort.
A synthetic side saddle can also be a comfortable and durable saddle, but is less commonly used.
There are many high quality side saddles that are available. They are still more widely
used than most people realize. Side saddles have changed greatly over the
years. They started out as a saddle used to carry women in a modest way, but they weren’t
very good for doing much more than a slow trot. Side saddles of today have been specially
formulated to help with special jumps and strategic moves.
Even the military has a special side saddle that is used for special operations. Sometimes
a side saddle can be more effective with certain types of equestrian jumps. Just keep in mind
that a horse has to be taught to become accustomed to using a side saddle. Once it has grown
accustomed to a side saddle, a horse will excel in its use.
An ill fitting saddle can cause back problems, and this is especially true with an ill fitting
side saddle. Make sure to get a high quality side saddle that keeps the horse and rider
both as comfortable and functional as possible. 3. Synthetic Endurance Saddles.
If you are going for endurance riding, then you need more than just an ordinary saddle!
‘Endurance saddles’ are especially designed for the equestrian sports involving regulated
long distance races. Since endurance riding pertains with the coverage of long patches
of rough and challenging terrain for multiple days, it is essential to confirm that the
rider is well-balanced on the horse. Synthetic endurance saddles provide exceptional
comfort to both the rider and the horse. To make it easy for the rider, the saddle seat
is padded or quilted, and the stirrups are fitted with a broad foot tread that allays
fatigue. As for the horse, the exhaustion suffered by it depends on the intensity of
the pressure inflicted by the saddle on its back. To counter it, the saddle’s area of
contact with the back of the horse is enlarged by extending its panel skirts.
A saddle design like this facilitates the load on the horse’s back to spread evenly,
while dispersing the sweat on its body. The concept of floating panels also works well
with endurance saddles as it enables the riders to have their seat out of the saddle, in order
to lower the stress on the horse’s back. Although, traditionally saddles were only
made of leather, a lot of innovation has been brought about in the modern way of manufacturing
endurance saddles. Synthetic saddles, which are light and easy to maintain, are being
widely used for the purpose of endurance riding. These saddles are mostly made of the following
materials; Cordura; a durable fabric that’s resistant
to scuffs or abrasions, and is easy to clean. Equi leather; a low maintenance material with
a leather-like appearance. It repels sweat and remains elastic in cold temperatures.
Equi suede; a non-slippery foam that offers a good grip while riding.
BioThane and Beta BioThane: ‘Biothane’ is comprised of nylon draped in thermoplastic
polyurethane whereas ‘Beta BioThane’ is vinyl coated ‘BioThane’. They are both
durable and water-resistant. 4. Synthetic Western Saddles.
Synthetic Western saddles offer riders of every level an economical alternative to traditional
leather saddles. Cost isn’t the only benefit of synthetic Western saddles though. Not only
is going the synthetic route less expensive, but because synthetic materials are more durable
your new saddle will age better and last longer. The materials used to make synthetic Western
saddles, (biothane, equi leather, cordura, and equi suede), are less porous and absorbent
than leather, making them much easier to clean and more resistant to water damage. You don’t
have to oil your synthetic Western saddle to keep it looking shiny and new; a quick
swipe with a moist cloth and dish soap will do the job!
Synthetic Western saddles are also much lighter than their leather counterparts, making them
an ideal choice for trail riding. You’ll immediately notice how easy it is to carry around a synthetic
saddle and will no doubt appreciate the load it takes off of you. We’re sure your horse
will appreciate the lighter saddle too! Going synthetic doesn’t mean fewer choices either.
Synthetic Western saddles come in many styles and even offer some colour options you can’t
get in leather. Synthetic Western saddles are made for pleasure, trail riding, speed
events and showing. In every field they offer unique benefits. Pleasure riders will enjoy
the extra padding in the seat while trail riders will appreciate how well their synthetic
Western saddle stands up to hard use. Barrel racers will shave pounds off the weight
of their rig while young showmen will catch the judge’s eye with unique colours and patterns.
Synthetic Western saddles aren’t just for smart shoppers; they’re for smart riders!
5. Synthetic Jumping Saddles. For the discerning rider, there is no substitution
for a good, high quality jumping saddle and synthetic jumping saddles are a variable alternative
to traditional leather. Jumping saddles come with a slight curve in the seat, wide padded
flaps to give good knee support, and a short stirrup length, all tailored to keep the rider
firmly in the saddle during the most rigorous of leaps.
For these reasons, jumping saddles are frequently called close-contact or forward-seat saddles.
Other features include a balance set further back than in traditional eventing saddles,
and a low pommel that won’t get in the way of a rider’s posture. Just as in other types,
jumping saddles can come in traditional leather or synthetic materials, such as Cordura.
There is a substantial debate between which material is superior, just as there is in
many other competitive sports. While leather saddles are by no means an inferior choice,
synthetic jumping saddles are a viable option for riders looking for a lower cost, equal
quality alternative. 6. Synthetic Dressage Saddles.
For many competitive and exhibition riders, everything revolves around dressage. A system
of training designed to truly showcase the abilities of both horse and rider, proper
dressage should appear effortless and relaxed, with horse and rider flowing from movement
to movement as naturally as breathing. Such execution requires excellent control and similarly
outstanding equipment. In particular, it requires a good dressage saddle and synthetic dressage
saddles are plentiful and of high quality. The dressage saddle is distinguished from
other English saddles by two features in particular, the first being a very deep riding seat and
the second a long, straight cut flap. The deep seat allows the rider to feel more secure
during the many changes of position required in dressage performance, leaving the rider
free to focus on guiding the horse instead of fighting to remain seated.
The longer flap allows the rider to stretch out their legs, instead of keeping them high
and tight as do competitive jumpers. Both these features are intended to keep the rider
focused on the matter of making the gentle, almost invisible motions required to steer
the horse through a proper dressage routine, giving them much more control than a jumping
or general purpose saddle. The weight savings of a synthetic saddle allows
a rider to execute commands to the horse for less pressure than the denser leather saddle
would require, as well as making less demand on the horse’s endurance in competitions.
In addition, there is the practical consideration of reduced initial and maintaining costs for
synthetic saddles, and less time spent maintaining is more time spent caring for the horse itself,
and more time out riding. That concludes this review. Thanks for watching.
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