What Type of Equipment Should You Get for Your Horse? Synthetic vs. Leather

You’ll probably have noticed that tack is composed of leather or synthetic as you look around. Bridles exist in a variety of materials and colors, so you’ll need plenty of alternatives. Saddles, like shoes, can be made of leather or synthetic, and they come in a variety of colors besides the conventional grey, browns, and blacks.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you walk into a tack shop. There are numerous options. This can be advantageous because you can select the equipment that is most suited to you and your animal. Once you depart with your buy, though, too many options can leave you questioning if you made the proper picks and if you made an error.

The bridle and saddle are the 2 most important items of gear to choose when you buy your first horse. These also constitute the most important financial investment and the most critical safety equipment. You probably want the best value for your money—the safest, longest-lasting, most productive, and most pleasant product for the least amount of money.


Leather tack is generally more expensive than synthetic tack. Leathers of the lower grade will cost about the same as synthetics. Avoid using tack composed of cardboardy, inflexible leather. These things will not last as long as high-quality leather and are more likely to crack.

If cost is a big consideration, you could be better off buying high-quality synthetic tack rather than low-priced leather. If you decide to sell it, good leather gear is an asset that will maintain its worth better. Buying old leather saddles and bridles is a cost-effective way to get high-quality leather bridles and saddles.

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Determining the Quality of Leather

Leather goods of poor quality like stock saddles will be stiff and uncomfortable. So, because top dye and/or tanning do not travel all the way down, the edges could be a distinct color from the surface. After the pieces required to make the saddles are cut, the sides are occasionally tinted to suit the surface.

The bottom may appear fibrous. The leather will be much more chemical-smelling than leathery, and the top may be embossed with a ‘skin texture.’ After a rainstorm, cheap colors might soak out of the cowhide and stain your ride pants.

A high-quality saddle leather will be supple and smooth, with the occasional little flaw. Because the top has still not been sanded and restored, this is obvious. This implies the leather will be more durable and less likely to tarnish over time.

Saddlers work past these flaws in whole hides used to manufacture saddles, but minor scars, scratches, and other naturally present blemishes may still surface, despite their best efforts to utilize blotch-free vegetable-dyed leather.


The saddle’s tree is difficult to discern, but the metal fasteners are straightforward to inspect. Light metal or nickel-plated buckles and rings will not be found on good saddles. The wool on western saddles should be genuine sheepskin that really is even and thick.

Western saddle girth belts ought to be robust and solid, with little give. Rivets and rigging should indeed be made of corrosion-resistant metals. Western saddles should also have minimal adornment and be built of high-quality materials.

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