How to Buy Used Saddles Online: The Essential Guide to Buying a Saddle Secondhand
Saddles are expensive, so you may be tempted to buy a saddle online to take advantage of amazing pricing and a better selection than offered at the local tack shop. But hold up — before you buy, there are some things you need to know to make sure it's really a good deal. This guide will show you how to buy a saddle safely and make sure you're getting the quality you expect.
Buy Used Saddles Like a Pro
Buying a saddle that has been pre-owned can be a fantastic way to save money, but purchasing used saddles online can also be tricky. There are a lot of good used saddles for sale online, but it can be challenging to know when it's a great deal or a bad investment. There are a few things that will set you up for success when buying a saddle secondhand.
Before making a purchase, make sure you:
- Know the size of the used Western saddle you are considering.
- Check out used saddle prices, so you know if the asking price is fair. You may actually find some old saddles worth more than the asking price.
- When buying used saddles, online reviews and forums are important tools to help verify if the seller is legitimate and to protect yourself from being scammed.
- Ask if an in-person meeting or trial run is possible for the used horse saddle. This will let you get eyes on the saddle and make sure it's the right fit for your horse. You can also have it inspected by an expert.
Benefits of Buying a Used Western Saddle
A saddle is the most important piece of tack you'll buy and also the most expensive. There are many good used saddles for sale, and buying used saddles online gives you a lot more choice than what's available in your local area. Besides the cost savings of buying a used saddle and the increased variety, here are some other advantages of a used horse saddle.
- More Bang For Your Buck - Used saddle prices are lower, so you can often find a premium saddle at an affordable price.
- Avoid Depreciation - Much like a car, new saddles lose value as soon as they are sold.
- Immediate Gratification - There's no wait for the saddle to be made.
- Try Before You Buy - You'll get to experience the actual saddle instead of a demo model.
How To Make Sure a Used Horse Saddle Is Safe When Buying a Saddle Online
The most important thing to avoid when buying used saddles online is a broken tree. You should always avoid a saddle with a broken, twisted or otherwise damaged tree. The cost to repair or replace the tree is never worth it and riding a saddle in this condition is unsafe for you and your horse.
Unfortunately, you can't be entirely sure of the tree's condition by viewing photos online. But by scrutinizing pictures and asking lots of questions, you can increase your chances of avoiding a saddle with this irreparable damage. If the listing doesn't include enough photos, ask for more so you have a good representation of the front, both sides, seat, under the flaps and the backside. See if they can include a measuring tape in the frame to confirm the sizes and lengths of components like straps. How is the saddle presented in the photos? If it is laying flat on the ground or is sitting on a wooden gate, the seller likely hasn't taken proper care of the saddle or has neglected proper maintenance.
Here are a few things that can indicate tree problems with a used western saddle that may be visible in photos:
- Creases across the seat are a big warning sign, especially when paired with loose stitching.
- Asymmetry is an indicator of severe damage. Falls or misuse can cause a twisted tree.
If possible, it is wise to take the used horse saddle to a trusted saddle maker for an in-person inspection and evaluation.
Other things to look for are worn fleece, rusty fittings, visible bumps, excessive wear and cracked leather. If the leather is too shiny, the seller may be trying to hide flaws with a new coat of oil or lacquer.
What to Avoid When Buying a Saddle Online
There are many fine secondhand saddles online — and unfortunately, there are plenty of folks selling used saddles that are trying to scam you. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Avoid these used saddles online to increase your chances of finding good used saddles for sale.
- Imported - are often made with inferior materials, and the trees tend to be flimsier.
- Saddles with No Brand - are likely cheap knockoffs of reputable brands.
- Bottom Grade Saddles - and their low-grade materials don't age well, even if they are from a solid brand.
- Vintage Saddles - saddle design has evolved through the years, and really old saddles aren't up to modern-day standards. Save them for decorative purposes.
Another thing about vintage saddles — many old saddles are worth less than the asking price — be sure to do your research.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Saddle
Always ask these questions to help you determine the old saddle's worth, quality and condition.
- Where did you buy the saddle, and how long have you owned it?
- What was the saddle used for?
- How frequently was the saddle used?
- How and where has the saddle been stored? You want to make sure it was out of the elements.
- Do the photographs show all damage, scratches and wear?
- What condition are the various components in, especially leather tack such as cinch straps and girth billets?
- Is the stitching frayed?
- Has the fleece ever been refurbished?
- What is included with the saddle? Find out if the girth, cinch, stirrup leathers, etc. are included in the price.
- Has the saddle been altered from its original configuration?
- What is the saddle's serial number? This will help you identify or confirm specifics about the saddle.