I want to thank you, SouthernTrails and CowChick, for giving me such thoughtful and informative responses. They were great help and I am taking into consideration, every thing the two of you mentioned!
I did end up buying this saddle for a few reasons.
Firstly, something I failed to mention when I originally posted is that I will not actually be starting any colts until next fall. I will have two semesters of western equitation classes along with non-riding equine courses, before I actually start any training. So I'll have a year to decide whether or not I think this saddle will be suited to colt starting or not. I have a feeling, I will want to get something else, as this saddle is quite heavy and bulky (as to be expected with a roping saddle). For colt starting, I would like a saddle with some rough-out, but I feel like it's not something I should be dependent on. It will be good for me to take the eq. classes in a smooth leather saddle that might be a tad too big for me, I think. So, for the next year, I will keep my eye out for a ranch/wade, in the perfect size for me, with the rough-out I want. And if I can't find one, I will custom order one from Corriente or Rocking R (if I end up loving the ride of this saddle, as others seem to), or somewhere else. I will either sell this saddle, if I don't really dig it (or send it back, if I hate it after one ride), or keep it, if I like it. If I do end up getting into roping, I will look into re-wrapping the horn :)
I have so many things that I need to buy and get done before I move, and I loved the look of the saddle as soon as I saw it, and it fits most of the criteria I had, so I figured, I'd just go ahead and give it a try. I've been looking since like the beginning of the year. If this one doesn't work out, I will look into getting one from Corriente. They don't have prices listed on their website though... or did I just miss them?
It's frustrating that there aren't any good western tack stores near me and no where to go to get good used saddles either. Perhaps, that will be different, where I'm moving.
Okay, so the saddle arrived yesterday and it looked good. The woman told me that she baby powdered it, so that's what was going on where I thought there might be mold.
I, of course, checked the saddle over, once it arrived. I think it looks pretty good, although I'm a little bit concerned about some loose stitching. http://i50.tinypic.com/64flo2.jpg
-- this is just forward of the rigging for the front cinch on the right side of the saddle; stitching is a tad loose, but thread is still tied and through every little hole http://i47.tinypic.com/20p26g4.jpg
-- this is just behind the rigging for the rear cinch; thread is untied and has come out of the last hole, but the rest of the stitches are still tight
Should I be concerned about this at all? I'm thinking it's not that big of a deal right now, but that I should keep an eye on them and if they get worse, take the saddle to get repaired? But I'd rather be safe than sorry. I've had part of a cinch break before while riding and it was no fun!
Last question! Should I just leave the baby powder on? I guess I'm just not sure how long I should let the baby powder set, before cleaning/conditioning the saddle?
Is there any real benefit to using saddle soap? Or can I just use a not too damp rag/sponge? And then a good leather conditioner? Do I need to oil it, if I use a conditioner? I have read all kinds of different things all over the internet...
Thanks so much!!