Synthetic saddle material: making the right choice

Have you ever sat in a saddle and thought that it was ‘too slippery’, ‘too hard’, ‘too grippy’, ‘too soft’ or just simply not right for you?

Perhaps you asked your friend to sit in exactly the same saddle, and they thought it was very comfortable with the perfect level of grip?

Here are our thoughts on different synthetic saddle materials, how they might feel to you as a rider, and what the advantages of each material are, including the high-tech Wintec Saddle materials – see if you agree!

Leather-like material

Equi-Leather

Looks like:

Leather! A very good quality, synthetic leather-like material, such as the Equi-Leather featured in a large number of Wintec Saddles (in particular the 250 and 500 models) will have a very smooth, almost leather-look finish.

Feels like:

While a leather-like material looks like traditional leather, it requires no breaking in time or time-consuming care routine. Leather-like material is perfect for everyday use across all equestrian pursuits and is particularly suited to those requiring more freedom of movement in the seat!

Advantages:

  • Additional freedom and ability to move within the seat due to the smooth finish.
  • A high-quality leather-like material, such as Wintec Saddle’s Equi-Leather will be exceptionally hard wearing and durable, and usually the toughest of all synthetic saddle materials.
  • Very quick to clean and dry. As this material is impervious to dirt and water, it simply requires a ‘wipe’ with a damp cloth to look as good as new!

Disadvantages:

  • Just like a smooth leather, this material will have less grip than other high-tech synthetic materials.
  • Similar to a new leather material, it will be slightly firmer than other synthetic materials.
  • Lower-quality leather-like materials are unlikely to perform well over a period of years, particularly in harsh conditions and may show signs of deterioration such as cracking.
SEE ALSO: How to clean your Synthetic Saddle

Suede-like material

Equi-Suede

Looks like:

Suede! With a very similar appearance and feeling to that of real suede (the underside of leather), good-quality, high-tech  suede-like materials such as the Equi-Suede featured in a large number of Wintec Saddles (in particular the Pro, 2000 and D’Lux models) will have a fibrous finish.

Feels like:

A high-quality suede-like seat will feel ultra soft, luxurious and offer you the perfect level of grip, while a suede like flap will offer your leg added stability – perfect for so many equestrian pursuits!

Advantages:

  • Additional grip and stability in the seat due to the fibrous finish. In a high-quality suede-like material, the level of grip will actually increase when the material becomes wet such as an during a rainy ride or competition.
  • Durable and easy-care. This material is exceptionally easy to clean and restore it’s nap to an as new finish.
  • Immediately comfortable. You will sink into the comfortable seat foam for a comfortable and hassle-free ride!
  • In cases of very high-tech suede-like material, as used in Wintec Saddles, the material will be developed to be breathable to result in a cooler feeling for you as the rider.

Disadvantages:

  • May feel too grippy for certain pursuits such as jumping where the ability to move within the seat may be important.
  • While still relatively quick-drying, a suede-like material is more absorbent than an impervious smooth material material and will take longer to dry.
  • Lower-quality suede-like materials will break down over time, resulting in a finish which is unable to be restored to it’s original level of grip and may show signs of the material pilling.
SEE ALSO: Why Riders Love Synthetic Saddles which references our very popular Wintec 2000 All Purpose Saddle, one of the Most Popular Wintec Saddles products in 2015!

Fabric material

2

Looks like:

A heavy-duty high-tech woven fabric. With a very similar appearance and feeling to that of a thick, durable fabric such as a light denim, high-quality fabric materials such as the Equi-Fabric featured in a large number of Wintec Saddles (in particular the WintecLite models) will have a fabric-covered appearance.

Feels like:

The best of both worlds! With a degree of surface texture, fabric feels somewhere between smooth leather-like material, and ultra grippy suede-like material.

Advantages:

  • Lightweight. This durable material is typically lighter than a leather or suede like material.
  • Offering a level of grip in the seat for stability, without any restriction to ensure you can move quickly when you need to.
  • Durable, easy-care and hard wearing.
  • Increasingly comfortable. With a degree of give, you should feel completely comfortable in the seat, as the material allows you to sink further into the comfortable seat foams.
  • Very quick to clean and dry. Although not as quick as the leather-like material, fabric does not feature the fibrous finish of a suede-like material enabling it to dry much quicker.

Disadvantages:

  • While still relatively quick-drying, a fabric material is more absorbent than leather-like material and will take longer to dry.
  • May feel too slippery for certain equestrian pursuits where stability in the seat and leg are more important.
  • Less traditional and aesthetically not to everyone’s liking
  • Lower-quality fabric materials will break down over time and may show signs of the material pilling.
SEE ALSO: WintecLite All Purpose Saddle featuring high-tech Equi-Fabric

Generally, a synthetic saddle will feature one, two, or maybe all three of these types of materials (or perhaps a variation that we haven’t even covered) so it is important for you to consider the level of comfort and grip important to you in both your seat and leg position.  Making the right choice of synthetic saddle for you and your horse involves a large number of considerations from discipline, to fitting systems and ultimately just how comfortable you and your horse will be together.

For more information on selecting the right saddle for you, we recommend speaking to your trusted saddle expert at your local retail store.