Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Beautiful Pacific Northwest
• Horses: 0
I'm not at all a fan of the cheap-o saddle packages. However, as previously commented by a poster, in theory there's always going to be some horse that it actually will fit. My problem with them is that due to the often poor materials and workmanship, even if it fits right, it won't for long. The gullet plates are often made out of poor-quality steel which will deform over time. That medium tree will soon be a wide tree, without anyone knowing it. I went used saddle shopping with a friend, and we lined up a bunch of the no-name cheap saddles and looked at them from straight down the gullet-channel. Every single one was twisted or had panels that were unsymmetrical. Those are the types of poor quality control and poor craftsmanship that can cause problems. No doubt, every now and then they pop out one that's straight, and some posters may have one of those. If a child is light and doesn't ride often, the gullet plate might not be deforming. I think the cheap-o saddles are something that needs to be monitored very closely and bought with care and full knowledge of what they actually are. You may or may not get a decent one.
I just don't understand their appeal to adults when there are some really good deals to be found on used quality saddles.
However, I must say that when it comes to kid's saddles, it's really tough for a parent. There isn't much out there in the 14"-15.5" sizes. Almost everything is cheap Indian or Pakistani made. The very few saddles that are good in those sizes cost as much as adult saddles (understandably). When your kid is growing 1/2 a saddle size every 2 years, it's pretty tough to cough up the money for the good ones. There's are very few good deals on good used kid saddles, because everyone is trying to get the few good ones out there. It took me a whole year to find my daughters' Collegiate at a price I could justify. I had them in a cheap-o saddle for a month because it was all I could find. After every horse I put it on acted psychotic with it, it threw it in the garbage and put them in my 17" saddle until I found the Collegiate. That cheap saddle could have gotten my daughter killed, and I did check for straightness, symmetry, and fit. Something about it was absolutely awful, and I could never identify what it was.