New Saddle v.s. a Used One?

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New Saddle v.s. a Used One?

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  • Synthetic saddle stiff
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    03-25-2009, 08:24 AM
Smile New Saddle v.s. a Used One?

Basically what the title says :). I've only bought one new saddle. But because it was a synthetic saddle I'm not sure wether it can be a valid source of my preference. Or rather what I don't prefer, as to me they break-in differently to leather saddles.

So anyway. I have always found new saddles to be a pain to ride in, mainly because of their stiffness. Although in saying that, if the saddle suits the horse, I'll go with it. Of course they're only stiff with their newness for a certain amount of time till they've been broken in so-to-speak. But I've always found that used saddles feel right from the word go. So what do you prefer?

Also. If you've purchased a new saddle, how have you known that it's right for both you and your horse? I mean, I'm sure I would find it quite difficult to decide as to wether the saddle I purchased was in fact the right one, as it's feel is likely to/will change as the leather get's used. And saddles being such a huge investment, though maybe a little insignificant to the horse - LOL, it's a crucial decision that many make.

All (bar the one I mentioned) the saddles I've bought have been used. While I know there can be some dodgy used saddles out there (with broken trees or just in horrible conditions), if you know what to look for you can find yourself a pretty awesome purchase.

I know some new saddles (due to the leather they're made of, or just how they've been conditioned) aren't all that stiff, but there are some that I've ridden in which have seemed to be.

Hope I'm not just weird with my issue with new saddles.

Anyway, feel free to share .
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    03-25-2009, 08:38 AM
Green Broke
Hi Shellbe, I know what you mean about new saddles. The first two saddles I purchased were both used or "pre-owned" (haha) and one was a leather english and one a synthetic english. Was fortunate that both were in excellent condition and of good quality leather (for the leather one). Liked not having to condition either saddle (yes I'm lazy that way).

My first new saddle was a synthetic western. Love the ease of care, don't love that it never really conformed to me in the fender area. Added EZ stirrup straighteners and fixed that issue.

My newest saddle is my dream saddle. Saved for a couple of years, researched thoroughly, asked many questions and even traveled to the closest dealer to just "sit" in one and get a feel for the size I wanted. Yes it's leather and I have had to condition it but boy is it comfy for both me and my horse. Takes a little more care than my synthetics but it's worth it.

If I could have found the same saddle pre-owned and in very good condition, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Quality lasts, if taken care of, and I like a saddle that is all "broken in" for me (back to the lazy side of me).

The key things for me on saddles are,
1. Good quality
2. Good fit for the horse
3. Good fit for the rider

It could be leather or synthetic, new or used, as long as it meets those criteria, I'm all set.
    03-25-2009, 10:04 AM
I would rather have a good/top quality used saddle that has been taken care of then a new one any day
    03-25-2009, 02:45 PM
Well I don't know if I can validly "compare" since I've never actually had a new saddle. However, I have looked at plenty of new saddles, and plenty of old ones. I always recommend buying used, and if possible vintage.

I sound like a Grandma, but I say "they just don't make em like they used to". I really believe in the last couple of decades the quality of saddles has gone down. Yes there are still good ones out there. However, I'm just saying if you pick the same point on the pricing & quality scale (ranging from "low end" to "high end") and compare older to newer, it was just better back then.

Also, I'm on a budget, as I believe are a majority of people saddle shopping. Doesn't matter if the budget is $200 or $ will get higher quality used, because as soon as someone rides in a saddle, it begins to depreciate. As a buyer, take advantage of that!

I do not understand the people who will buy new solely because they want something new. I know it is exciting and shiny and smells good (lol, well some people like the smell of leather anyway). However, it's an item meant to be sat in and rubbed on used, not sitting on the mantle. So as soon as you get it broken in, it no longer looks like that shiny new saddle and it probably looks even worse (because of lower quality leather) than the used one you could have had in the first place.
    03-25-2009, 02:47 PM
I've never owned a new saddle, I love broken in used saddles :) I think that is the lazy in me talking though
    03-25-2009, 02:56 PM
I have mostly bought used saddles but have bought two new ones and immediately sold them as I didn't like the fit and stiffness I will take a used one over a new one anyday.
    03-25-2009, 03:00 PM
I've had two brand new western and a custom made western styled endurance saddle. Quality saddles that required little break in time.

Good brand names typically retain their value. There are a handful I would not hesitate to buy used. But it all depends on how well they were cared for.

New or used - first goal is to fit the horse.
    03-25-2009, 09:30 PM
Originally Posted by Pally    
I sound like a Grandma, but I say "they just don't make em like they used to". I really believe in the last couple of decades the quality of saddles has gone down. Yes there are still good ones out there. However, I'm just saying if you pick the same point on the pricing & quality scale (ranging from "low end" to "high end") and compare older to newer, it was just better back then.
I agree especially with saddles not being what they used to be. That's also one of the reasons I avoid buying a new saddle. When I see 'modern' (for lack of a better word) saddles, they just don't appeal to me at all . Where as aged saddles in particular really appeal to me (as their age alongside their condition to me really shows their quality). An extreme example of quality is my George Kieffer Jumping saddle. The model is unknown by the Kieffer people I emailed for any info on this saddle, as they don't have the records from back when it was made. But they could tell me that at a minimum, the saddle is 25- 30 years old, they also commented on the great condition of the saddle.

This pic was before getting some TLC, now it looks fabulous, the leather is lovely and soft. And I've never ridden in a jumping saddle like it. I'd hate for anything to happen to it because it's like my own little piece of history. But to not use it would be a crime. Also (probably to do with the model of the saddle, but maybe just the change ind irection by Kieffer), it seems far different to other Kieffer jumping saddles, which to me seem bulky, where as mine has very little to it. And even though this saddle has a 'Brand Name' to it. I wouldn't relate the brand to it's quality material/make as many modern saddles simply do not have the same level of quality.

Of course the show saddles I have, while used, are not as used as my jumping saddle, as they need to look 'the part'. But even so. When I was looking for them, I wasn't interested in the latest available from whatever brands I looked at, as the models (i gather) of saddle just didn't appeal. But that's just my preference.


Walkamile, I completely agree:

"The key things for me on saddles are,
1. Good quality
2. Good fit for the horse
3. Good fit for the rider"


I can understand why some people might swear on buying new (other than the thrill of it being new and shiny etc) as it may save upgrading from a used saddle down the track and spending money again. But not everyone has the liberty of buying new when/if they want to, and/or don't see the issue with upgrading later on. Or just flat out prefer used. It's nice to see that quite a few of us forum members like the used.
    03-26-2009, 09:11 AM
Green Broke
If I can afford it, I prefer new, but if I'm on a budget, then used all the way! A quality used saddle will last a lot longer and be more comfortable that a cheaper new saddle.
    03-26-2009, 10:13 AM
I prefer new saddles to used saddles. I find that used saddle look really grimy. I sat in a brand new HDR (the ones that people say feel really stiff) at Greenhawk and it felt much comfier than the used Stubben I ride in most of the time.

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