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.