There are few pieces of tack as important to an equestrian as the saddle that she or he is using to ride their horse. And one of the questions that a lot of them end up asking at some point in their career is whether or not it is appropriate to purchase a saddle that has already been used.
The decision to buy a used western saddle – or an eastern saddle or a barrel racing saddle or what have you – should not be taken lightly. But with a few tips in mind, you should be able to purchase one with confidence that it will work for both you and your horse.
The most important thing with used saddles of any kind is to be sure that you see it. This is tempting to skip, given the always expanding online market. You see a great deal at an online auction house and you want to go for it. But you really need to know that the saddle is in good condition. If you just look at a few photograhs – or worse, take somebody at their word – then you run the risk of buying a poor saddle.
If you really can’t see the saddle in person, then ask for a lot of photographs. You want to see both sides of the saddle and you want to see beneath it too. A few scrapes and worn spots are nothing to worry about. In fact, they can increase the comfort of the saddle. But if you see any splits in the leather or if the saddle tree looks commpromised, then you should avoid the saddle in question.
Does the online retailer – or whomever you are buying the saddle from – have a return policy? This can be essential. Even if the saddle passes muster when you look at it in pictures, and even if the dimensions are technically right for your horse, you still need to get it on them and see how it works. Every horse owner knows that their beloved equine can be quirky. It might be the right saddle for you and your horse just won’t like it.
It’s good to hunt for bargains – saddles aren’t cheap. But be sure you exercise caution and restrain when buying them used.