A synthetic Western saddle is a saddle made from materials other than leather. Synthetic saddles are known for being long lasting, affordable, lightweight, and requiring a minimum of care.
The materials used to make a synthetic Western saddle will often include Cordura (an extremely durable fabric that is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs), nylon, synthetic leathers like Equileather and Beta BioThane, or a mix of several materials.
Synthetic saddles can come in virtually any style of Western or English saddle. Their popularity is increasing dramatically thanks to their low cost, easy care, light weight, good looks, and the choice to own one in a wide selection of styles and colors or with a traditional, leather-like look.
From eBay, Etsy, and Amazon
Below are synthetic saddles for sale from several major online sellers. This page lets you compare prices and selection.
What Is A Synthetic Saddle Made Of?
Below is a common list of materials a synthetic saddle might be made of.
BioThane and Beta BioThane
BioThane is nylon webbing covered with thermoplastic polyurethane. Beta BioThane (sometimes just called “Beta”) is a newer version of BioThane that uses a vinyl coating. Both BioThanes offer durability, abrasion resistance, and flexibility even in cold temperatures. They can come in a wide variety of colors, or in realistic looking natural tones. You will most likely
find a synthetic saddle made from Beta BioThane due to its ability to
look and feel more like traditional leather.
In addition to abrasion resistance and cold weather flexibility, synthetic saddles made of Beta BioThane are lightweight, easy to clean simply by wiping off with a damp cloth, durable,
don’t absorb water, and resist chafing. BioThane is also frequently used to make bridles, reins, dog collars, and other products.
Cordura is an extremely durable fabric that is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs. Cordura is ten times more durable than cotton duck, three times more durable than standard polyester, and twice as durable as standard nylon.
To clean dirt, mud, sweat, etc., off of a saddle made of Cordura all that is usually required is to wipe it off with a damp cloth. If necessary, mild detergent can be used followed by a thorough rinsing (do NOT use bleach). Note: Always read and follow any care and cleaning instructions that come with a Cordura saddle over information you may find here.
A synthetic saddle made of Cordura can come in dark, natural color tones or in a wide
selection of bright colors.
Equisuede is a synthetic foam or suede commonly used on saddle seats or other areas. It is comfortable, does not get slippery when wet, is quick to dry, and provides a good grip for a secure ride.
Equileather is another material frequently used in synthetic saddles. It has a traditional, realistic, leather-like appearance. Equileather is low maintenance (simply wipe it off with a damp cloth to remove horse hair, dirt, etc.), durable (it is abrasion resistant and can often withstand conditions that would damage a leather saddle), repels water and sweat, and remains
flexible in cold temperatures.
In addition to synthetic saddles, you can often find Equileather in other products such as half chaps and boots.
You might also like: