Whether you’re looking to buy your first or just for an upgrade, searching for a saddle can be very overwhelming. There are so many different brands and dealers out there, all throwing seemingly very similar products out there for extremely wide ranges of costs, availability, and quality. Don’t let the high price tags scare you though. You don’t have to spend thousands to get a long lasting saddle. I sure didn’t! I’ll share with you a few tips I have for you when you go saddle hunting.
If you have any locally owned or small business tack shops in your area, I would definitely recommend starting there. This is where I got my saddle at and had a great experience! (If you’re in the North Georgia area by me, I highly suggest you go check out Hamp’s Tack & Supplies.) These shops usually have dealer licenses, which allow them to purchase the saddles as the whole sale price, but without jacking up the price like chain shops, such as Dover, when they go to sell. Buying from small businesses also means a more personal experience, where they are more willing to work with you to help you find exactly what you need in your specific situation. Some take payment plans and many will allow you to try the saddle on your horse before purchasing. My saddle was listed at Dover for $1000 and I paid hundreds less by purchasing at a locally owned tack store. I was able to take the saddle on a trial and instill a payment plan. Whenever I am in need of a new saddle, this is the route I will take again!
Don’t be afraid to buy used! People outgrow saddles and end up with different horses, so many need to sell their saddle so they can get one that better fits them. A lot of the time these saddles are not heavily used and in great condition! You can see huge price drops between the brand new amount versus the used. I wouldn’t suggest buying a very old and worn saddle if you are looking for something to last you a long time, however, there is no reason that well taken of saddles cannot serve a second purpose to a new person. Look for M.Toulouse, Pessoa, and BT Crump!
Know your brands
Do your research and know which brands you are interested in and which ones you are not. It’s good to know ahead of time which saddles are out of your price range so that when you start to shop, stores do not pressure you into purchasing one that you are not in a position to. It’s also important to know which “cheaper” brands out there to stay away from due to poor quality. I love a good deal, but not if it isn’t going to be worth while! Have a plan of which saddles you are interested in before approaching a seller. My saddle is an HDR and I love it! A couple other brands I would recommend new are Wintec and Circuit. Stay away from cheap starter kits from brands like Silver Fox and Camelot.
I hope this helps you in your saddle search!
-Hannah + Z