Is this a decent starter saddle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-23-2010, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Is this a decent starter saddle?

I haven't rode english since I was a kid, but have recently considered taking some lessons and trying to relearn a few things. A good friend of mine is getting out of horses and I have the opportunity to get her saddle dirt cheap, only thing is I know nothing about english tack so I don't know if this is a good starter saddle for me, or if it will even fit my rear, or any of my horses.

It's an older Borelli saddle. 17" seat. She couldn't remember what 'kind' of saddle it is but thought it is all purpose. It's a wide tree. She's got the leathers, but no girth/irons. 6.5 gullet. It has some wear but is in overall very good condition and she's always kept it inside and cared for. I ride draft crosses so I'm hoping the wide tree might fit them, but ideally it would be used one day with my 3/4 Shire colt Finn when he's old enough to start doing saddle work. I'm 5'9" and I ride in a 15" western seat. Like I said, she'd give it to me for next to nothing so it's not that I'm out much, just don't know enough about these things to know if this saddle would suit or not. I know there's no way of knowing if it will fit my horses and particulary my colt, but would it work okay as a starter for me? Is it a junk brand?
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 09:46 AM
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They were manufactured by Collegiate as a low end saddle, and made with Argentinian leather.

They're no longer made, because they didn't sell well.

Not a particularly well made saddle, but as a starter, it should be okay for what you want to do.

If you have any serious plans to do long-term English riding disciplines, you'll eventually need a better saddle.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
They were manufactured by Collegiate as a low end saddle, and made with Argentinian leather.

They're no longer made, because they didn't sell well.

Not a particularly well made saddle, but as a starter, it should be okay for what you want to do.

If you have any serious plans to do long-term English riding disciplines, you'll eventually need a better saddle.
Hey, thanks very much! I would count on buying a better saddle later on if my interest and skills get to a point where I want to commit to the discipline. But it sounds like this might be okay just to get the idea if I want to pursue or not, considering she only wants 40 bucks. Appreciate your help!
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indyhorse View Post
Hey, thanks very much! I would count on buying a better saddle later on if my interest and skills get to a point where I want to commit to the discipline. But it sounds like this might be okay just to get the idea if I want to pursue or not, considering she only wants 40 bucks. Appreciate your help!
Hey would you consider getting something else used? if you keep an eye out on ebay or your local kjiji, they have some really good used saddles for really cheap.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:38 AM
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You're very welcome.

$40.00 is about right for a Borelli. I certainly wouldn't pay any more than $100.00 for one.

Oh, and a 17" seat should be fine if you ride in a 15" Western. The general rule of thumb for conversion is 2" more in English than Western.

I ride in a 17.5" seat because I don't like to feel constricted in my saddles. I'd rather they be a little larger than necessary, than too small.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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My2Geldings - I had been keeping half an eye on ebay and stuff, my friend knew I was looking which is why she offered me hers . I had been hesitant to get anything though because most of what I see tends to be medium tree and I'm inclined to think my gelding (and probably my colt, when he matures) will need a wide tree, and I hadn't run across many. My gelding takes a draft tree in a western saddle, and he doesn't have much wither to speak of. I think my colt will mature with a little more wither, but there's no way to be sure at this point, he's only 10 months and it will be several years before he's ready to start riding. I can get an idea of fit on my horses with this saddle pretty cheaply, and if it doesn't fit I'm not out a lot.

Speed Racer - okay, 2" up, I thought it was something like that but I wasn't sure. Thanks, I'll remember that!
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:52 AM
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For $40, it's a good deal. I would want close up pictures of the billets, underside, and seat. Look for tears, loose stitching, etc.

At 5'9", a 17" is going to be a "close" fit. My daughter is 5'5" and she rides in a 17-17.5" saddle. I have a 5'9" student with LONG legs and she just bought a 17.5" saddle with extra long and extra forward flaps, and it's just barely right for her. With English saddles, the flap has to fit your leg as well as the seat to your hinney .
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 10:58 AM
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Oh, and for drafts and draft corsses, even a standard "wide" tree is not likely going to be enough. If you get serious, you're going to have to shell out some $$$ for a "hoop tree" saddle. Hoop trees fit the wide horses better as they are shaped more like an upside down U. They follow the contour of a wide horse's back better than a standard tree. A standard tree is like an A shape. It just doesn't work well on broadbacked horses.

Manufacturers with hoop trees include Duett, some Thornhill, Black Country, some County saddles, some Albion saddles, some Lovatt and Ricketts saddles, etc.

Thorowgood makes an affordable synthetic saddle that is touted as a "broadback" saddle. You might look in to those. Dover sells them and has a demo program.
Thorowgood T4 All Purpose Broadback Saddle - Dover Saddlery.

If you like the look of leather, try out the above Thorowgood, but ask if they can order you one of the T6 saddles and how much.
Thorowgood T6 GP - Cob Plus Saddle

Wintec Wides are not built well. They fit awkward on draft types.

Last edited by luvs2ride1979; 02-24-2010 at 11:00 AM.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indyhorse View Post
My2Geldings - I had been keeping half an eye on ebay and stuff, my friend knew I was looking which is why she offered me hers . I had been hesitant to get anything though because most of what I see tends to be medium tree and I'm inclined to think my gelding (and probably my colt, when he matures) will need a wide tree, and I hadn't run across many. My gelding takes a draft tree in a western saddle, and he doesn't have much wither to speak of. I think my colt will mature with a little more wither, but there's no way to be sure at this point, he's only 10 months and it will be several years before he's ready to start riding. I can get an idea of fit on my horses with this saddle pretty cheaply, and if it doesn't fit I'm not out a lot.

Speed Racer - okay, 2" up, I thought it was something like that but I wasn't sure. Thanks, I'll remember that!
hmmm...I'll do some searching online. I know there is a brand of english saddle that is made strickly for drafts. Brand new they sell in the 1,000-2,500 range but I am sure there are some used ones in really good quality running around.

I'm at work with a lot of time on my hands so I'll do some searching around to see if I can see anything. If you're willing to pm me or post what price range you're willing to go into, it help me search for something that could work.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 11:03 AM
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Luvs, for $40.00, I'd be surprised if there weren't some small issues with the saddle.

The OP only wants it as a starter until she decides whether or not she wants to pursue English disciplines. No reason for her to annoy her friend by demanding a multitude of pictures. It's only $40.00, not $400.00.

I prefer a bigger seat, but a 17" should work for the OP, especially if she rides in a 15" Western.

Yes, she should be more picky when she goes to buy a well made saddle, but I think a wide tree, 17" will work for what she needs at the moment.
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