“They don’t like it up ’em, Mr Mainwaring!” – Or why it’s nice to know what’s inside your saddle.
Modern synthetic saddles are a godsend.
Cheap to buy (well-compared with a new leather one), easy-ish to fit (if you buy a decent brand), lightweight and easy to clean, plastic saddles have been around for a couple of decades now. Quality and construction-wise they are beginning to approach the look of leather with few of its drawbacks.
And with many of these saddles having changeable gullets so you can move them from horse to horse, you might wonder why leather saddles still sell at all.
So why do some manufacturers insist on making…let’s say ‘exaggerated’ claims for their products? They don’t need to but it seems they can’t help themselves.
Wintec, for example. Their ‘Cair’ saddles are advertised as having air-filled panels. Take a look at this link before you decide if that’s true or not.
The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with Cair; a lot of horses like it, though it can be difficult to get into the panel if the saddle needs extra flock to get a good fit. But it’s not air, it’s closed-cell foam, so why tell your customer something patently untrue?
As far as I am aware the only true air-flocking is ‘Flair’, a system designed by First Thought Equine in the UK. And an effective option it is, since you can add it to an existing saddle, though it can be rather high-maintenance.
So next time your saddle is repaired or adjusted, ask your saddle fitter what’s inside it. You might be surprised!
This is a synthetic race saddle I recently took apart. Note the head nail points facing forward (they actully stuck through the gullet lining) and the state of the girth web attachments which are ready to pull through with a good tug. If you use one of these that’s more than a couple of years old I’d suggest you get it checked out.