I have always loved tack. Saddles, bridles, martingales, you name it, I have it. And its all leather. I was very opposed to biothane tack and adopted the attitude, "who would want that?"
Then I was introduced to the sport of competitive trail riding. At every water stop, I encouraged my horse to drink and then cringed as he submerged his head, completely covering his noseband and half of the bridle in water. More tack to clean.
After he finished drinking, I would use the sponge bucket to sponge his neck and aid the cooling process. My martingale and reins were soaked after this.
Our first ride of the 2011 season is next weekend. I bought a used biothane bridle from another trail rider and I am loving it. It may not have the "look" of leather, but I am no longer cringing when my horse submerges his head in a water tank.