Your cart

Your cart is empty

Synthetic Saddles: A Complete Guide - Saddles Direct

Synthetic Saddles: A Complete Guide

We’re here to help you navigate the world of synthetic saddles. Synthetic saddles have gained popularity thanks to their affordability, durability, and low maintenance. As equestrians ourselves, we know spending thousands on a leather saddle isn't always an option, and synthetic saddles have come a long way in recent years in terms of fit, technology, and aesthetic. There are many types of synthetic saddles. Riders can find synthetic saddles tailored to different disciplines, including general purpose, dressage, jumping, and endurance.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of synthetic saddles, addressing common questions and misconceptions. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and guidance you need to make informed decisions about synthetic saddles, ensuring the perfect fit for your unique horse and riding needs. So let’s kick-on!

Understanding Synthetic Saddles

Synthetic saddles are crafted from man-made materials such as synthetic leather, nylon, and other synthetic fibers. Initially developed as a more affordable alternative to traditional leather saddles, they have evolved to offer various designs suitable for different riding disciplines including Dressage and Show Jumping.

What are synthetic saddles made from?

Common materials used in synthetic saddles include synthetic leather, Cordura nylon, and synthetic suede. These materials are chosen for their durability, water resistance, and ease of maintenance. But the biggest difference is the look and feel.

Advantages of Synthetic Saddles:

  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Waterproof and resistant to mold/mildew
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Vegan-friendly alternative to leather saddles

Disadvantages of Synthetic Saddles:

  • May lack the same aesthetic appeal as leather saddles
  • Durability can vary depending on the quality of materials used
  • Limited breathability compared to natural materials

Comparison: Synthetic vs. Traditional Saddles

Comparing synthetic and traditional leather saddles can help riders determine which option best suits their needs and preferences. While leather saddles offer a classic look and feel, synthetic saddles provide practical advantages such as affordability and easy maintenance.

How to choose a Synthetic Saddle

When selecting a synthetic saddle, riders should consider factors such as their discipline, horse's shape and comfort, budget constraints, and maintenance requirements. Proper fit and comfort for both horse and rider are paramount.

How to Properly Fit a Synthetic Saddle.
Ensuring a synthetic saddle fits correctly is crucial for the comfort and performance of both horse and rider. At Saddles Direct, we have a simple 5-step saddle fit check that riders can do at home.
  1. Saddle Position & Balance

  2. Pommel, Cantle and Gullet Clearance

  3. Panel Pressure

  4. Saddle Movement

  5. Horse and Rider’s Response

If you have any worries or concerns regarding the fit of your saddle be sure to have it checked by a qualified saddle fitter, or speak to our team to arrange a virtual saddle fitting or free saddle consultation.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Synthetic Saddles

While synthetic saddles are generally low maintenance, regular cleaning and proper storage are essential to prolong their lifespan. We recommend a quick wipe over a synthetic saddle with a damp cloth to remove any excess dirt. It is also advisable to leave the saddle to dry out if it has become very wet (i.e. after a beach ride) avoiding leaving it in direct sunlight. Remember that any water left on metal components can cause rusting and a subsequent weakening of buckles and fastenings.

Top Brands and Models of Synthetic Saddles

Wintec Saddles

Wintec Saddles are the world's number one synthetic saddle brand and are renowned globally for their pioneering advancements in synthetic saddle technology.

Wintec's range includes specialist conformation saddles catering to high-withered and broader-backed horses. Through the incorporation of HART (Horse & Rider Technology) the 'easy change' fit system, Wintec provides a seamless mechanism for accommodating both equine and human fit, ensuring optimal comfort and adaptability. This technology means they can be adapted to fit most horses through their changeable gullets and riser system. Traditional concerns such as re-flocking become obsolete with these saddles, as the air and foam technology requires no upkeep, meaning you can ride with complete peace of mind.

Our favourite is the Wintec 500 available as Pony, Wide and High Wither in Jump, Dressage and GP this is one of the most technical synthetic saddles on the market starting from £629.00 brand new!

Browse our range of Wintec saddles for sale and make the most of our saddle trial service and take two Wintec saddles on trial for 5 days.

Thorowgood Saddles

Thorowgood Saddles are a great synthetic saddle choice if you're looking for a traditional flocked saddle. Thorowgood have an extensive range of saddles to accommodate various horse conformations, including cob types and those with high and low withers, these saddles are manufactured in Walsall, England. These saddles are divided into two distinct ranges: the T4 and T8 series.

The Thorowgood T4 boasts fully synthetic construction, catering to those seeking low-maintenance options without compromising on quality. The T4 models, with their smart leather-look combined with a suede effect and knee pad, provide a popular choice among riders. These fully synthetic saddles offer hassle-free maintenance, requiring only a damp cloth and synthetic saddle cleaner.

The Thorowgood T8 range is a leather/synthetic hybrid by incorporating quality leather on the seat, kneepads, and trim. Meanwhile, technical leather is used for the panels, ensuring a balance between flexibility and durability. The innovative materials used in T8 saddles facilitate breathability and adaptability while preserving their structural integrity. Riders who appreciate the traditional feel of leather saddles will find the T8 range appealing, especially considering its lightweight and easy maintenance characteristics.

The lightweight nature of Thorowgood saddles, attributed to their synthetic materials and Sima Tree design, makes them suitable for riders who prefer a lighter alternative to traditional leather saddles. Additionally, these saddles cater to a wide range of disciplines and horse types, including the chunkier Thorowgood GP Cob saddle for horses of a larger build.

Browse our range of new to order and pre-owned Thorowgood saddles. Make the most of our saddle trial service and take a T4 and T8 saddle on trial for 5 days.

Arena Saddles

Arena Saddles are fully adjustable and feature HART (Horse And Rider Technology), which means they can fit almost any horse or pony (just like the Wintec). These are great saddles if you have a horse who is likely to change shape as the fit can be easily adjusted – and reversed- by your saddle fitter. 

Similar to the T8's hybrid approach, Arena saddles have a fully leather seat and flaps with a synthetic panel underneath. These saddles are an excellent choice for riders who want a high-quality finish and leather saddle, but at a more affordable price point.

The Arena range is extensive, offering Dressage, Jump and GP models for standard, high-wither and cob-type horses. They all come with adjustable gullet bars up to XW and the Cob range gullet bars go from XW-4XW!  

We are proud to be leading stockists of Arena Saddles, browse our range of new to order, ex-demo and pre-owned Arena saddles. Make the most of our saddle trial service and take two Arena saddles on trial for 5 days.

Cavaletti Saddles

Cavaletti have two synthetic saddles in their range the Synthetic GP saddle and a Synthetic Dressage saddle. Both saddles are fully synthetic imitation leather, with a very soft feel and traditional flocked panels. The adjustable gullets go from NM - XXW, which is the biggest range in a single adjustable saddle.

In terms of aesthetics, we think Cavaletti are the best for the look and feel of imitation leather, without the heavy weight or price tag. In terms of fit, they are adjustable gullets, but may not suit horses with curve through their back or high-withered horses.

At Saddles Direct, we have a range of new to order and pre-owned Cavaletti saddles. Make the most of our saddle trial service and take two Cavaletti saddles on trial for 5 days.

Navigating the world of synthetic saddles can be both exciting and daunting. As equestrians ourselves, we understand the importance of finding the perfect saddle that not only fits your horse comfortably but also meets your riding needs. Synthetic saddles have become increasingly popular due to their affordability, durability, and low maintenance, making them a viable option for riders across various disciplines.

At Saddles Direct, we're here to simplify your saddle selection process. Our team of saddle experts is dedicated to providing you with free help and advice, ensuring you make an informed decision. Whether you're unsure about the right saddle for your horse or need guidance on proper fit and maintenance, we're here to assist you every step of the way.

Furthermore, we offer saddle fittings across the UK, conducted by a network of over 25 independent fitters. These professionals can bring a range of synthetic saddles directly to you for trial, allowing you to experience firsthand the look, feel, fit, and comfort before making a commitment.

Don't forget about our saddle trial service, where you can take two saddles on trial for five days, enabling you to compare and find your perfect match. Whether you're considering Wintec, Thorowgood, Arena, or Cavaletti saddles, our extensive range ensures there's something for everyone. So, if you're ready to embark on your journey to find the ideal synthetic saddle, reach out to us today. 

Previous post

Latest Saddle Fitting Advice

Choosing the Correct Gullet Bar Size for Your Adjustable Saddle - Saddles Direct

Choosing the Correct Gullet Bar Size for Your Adjustable Saddle

How to Determine the Correct Gullet Bar Size for Your Horse's Adjustable Saddle When it comes to adjustable gullet saddles, understanding the right gullet bar size for your horse is...

Read more
5-step Saddle Fit Check - Saddles Direct

5-step Saddle Fit Check

Here at Saddles Direct we know that one of the most paramount aspects of equine management is finding and correctly fitting a saddle. A well-fitted saddle can allow an equine partnership to achieve benefits...

Read more
6 Reasons to Get Your Saddle Checked - Saddles Direct

6 Reasons to Get Your Saddle Checked

Are you guilty of the “if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it” approach to your saddle? It’s understandable, but neglecting your saddle can lead to discomfort for both you and...

Read more