Ride ‘Em Cowboy: Six Things To Look For When Buying A Used Saddle

A saddle is an investment, and the price may merit shopping around for one in decent, used condition. Before you shell out good money for a second-hand saddle, there are some things that buyers and riders should consider. These key points could point you in the direction of a used saddle that lasts for years and years to come.

Keep a lookout for these six things when buying a used saddle, or risk getting left on the range:

  1. Gauge the gullet. A gullet that is too wide will apply pressure to your horse’s withers. If the gullet is too skinny, the saddle may squeeze and hurt your horse.  This could lead to challenges and problems when training a horse or in the horse’s overall performance.
  2. Try it on for size. If your saddle doesn’t fit the rider, it can cause you to lean and put you in an awkward riding position. You will regret buying an uncomfortable saddle later on.
  3. Try it on your horse. Check to be sure that the saddle sits level on your horse. If it is uneven, it can be uncomfortable for both of you, and make it harder to ride.
  4. Is the saddle stressed? Take a look at the stress points in the saddle’s leather, and be sure that the leather is not worn or compromised in these key areas. This will indicate whether the saddle will last or if it will need imminent repair.
  5. Don’t miss a stitch. Be cognizant of the condition of the stitching and the hardware on the saddle. Look for wear and tear along the billet straps and the fittings of the saddle to ensure it will last. Fraying or missing stitches is a sign that you will need to get the saddle repaired promptly. 
  6. Try synthetics, too. If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to a leather saddle, consider buying a synthetic saddle instead. These are easy to clean, and seem to be quite durable for the regular rider. Another benefit is that the synthetic saddles are much lighter and easier to carry.  

It is quite possible to find good deals on used saddles, but be sure to check the fit, the condition, the quality, and the comfort before buying. Don’t take the chance of a poor fit, uncomfortable ride, or inferior saddle just to save a few bucks. A saddle is intended to last for many years, so consider it a worthwhile investment to spend a little more for just the right one. Contact a supplier, like The Riding Store, for more help.

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