If it is marginal then I certainly wont be buying it! there is nothing that will prove that it wasnt broken before!!
If a seller isnt happy for me to test the tree on a saddle then I will assume that it is broken.
, don't be so stupid about it and you or the boyfriend or whomever put so much force on it when you "test" it, that you end up breaking what was not actually broken before. Dig?
Because if I were a tack shop owner or a nearby shopper and that happened and I witnessed it, I would be testifying and hopefully the tack shop owner is charging you or else calling the police when you try to just walk away.
Plastic in saddle trees vs. old saddle trees that are wood: Here is where the kiddos need a history lesson before dissing "old" saddles. I worked in plastic engineering design for 15 years. We made plastics and we also designed plastics manufacturing plants and sold those design packages to licensees. (Just so you know that I am not a housewife and mamma talking out her posterior...) There is an adage in the plastics industry that the maximum usable lifespan of plastic is 10 years. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but that's a good average number. What happens is that plastic becomes more brittle and loses strength over time. "Carbon fiber" is probably going to be no better, imo, but time will tell. So, since all of your Bates/ Wintec / Collegiate Convertibles use the same trees, this tree problem could happen to any one of those brands. Or to any others that have plastic or composite trees. The Ralide trees in western saddles seem to be the longest-lasting of plastic saddle trees, lol. That won't help English riders any.
Many "old" English saddles have trees that are made of laminated layers of wood, with steel reinforcing the arch of the gullet. Those saddles, if they are European, can probably be used for 50 years or more and not break a tree. Some of the saddle seat people have snapped some heady-duty trees on their "low backed " (swaybacked, lordosis) horses because of the saddle being 22"-24" overall length plus it is bridging and thus it's easy to see why those snapped. But people all over Europe and American are using some very old AP and hunt and polo saddles that have stood the test of time.
Argentine-made saddles, I suspect won't have that longevity, even the ones from Collegiate that have "Plybond" tree. The Argentine saddles are less expensive than European saddles for good reasons. What I've seen happen with them is the arch of the gullet spreads wide with age/use. Or the stirrup bar(s) pulls loose from the tree. At one time, back in 2000-2002 or so, the last days of Miller Harness Co., there were many complaints about the trees breaking in the Collegiate cc saddles. Now, those RD (Ruaz Diaz) Collegiate saddles are praised and sought after as being better saddles than the current Collegiate line.
"You pays your money, you takes your chances," as the saying goes.