According to theequestrianchannel.com, horses are a $39 billion industry. With 9.2 million horses in our country, and millions of owners, riders and enthusiasts, the impact of horses continues to grow and the amount of saddles produced does as well.
The leather saddle is iconic from early Hollywood days – John Wayne on his horse, riding off into the sunset, complete with a leather saddle. The saddle is now much more than just a necessary support for a rider.
Cowhide leather is the most commonly used leather in the horse saddle industry. Leather absorbs heat and sweat, which allows the saddle to stretch and be broken in. The absorbing quality is an advantage to the horse, as it helps keep the horse cooler. Special cleaners are worked into the natural fibers to keep a leather saddle clean and durable for a lifetime. Many riders say a leather saddle is the most comfortable type, can be a showpiece and is worth the extra effort to maintain it.
Saddle manufacturing has come a long way from the first saddles of basic animal skins or cloths. Most horse aficionados seem to agree that leather remains the material of choice for most work and horse exhibition purposes.