Originally Posted by otis07
...they had some for 300 (not so nice) and some pretty nice ones in the 600 range, i have no idea what brand it was...
so when you buy saddles do you get a trail period to try them out on your horse? what do you do about girths and styrrpus and stuff? do you have to buy those so you can try out a saddle?
I guess you could say geography plays a role in a saddle's quality!
But it's more so the tanning methods used on the leather and the level of craftsmanship. For example:
Nicest: A Nelson Pessoa saddle will be Made in England with either English or French Leather.
Okay: A Rodrigo (Nelson's son) Pessoa saddle will be Made in Argentina with French Leather.
Bad News: A Low Budget Saddle will be Made in Argentina with Argentine Leather.
I'd Rather Ride Bareback: Anything made in or with leather from India.
So, take a look at the specifics of the "pretty nice ones" you saw at the tack shop to see where they're made. A saddle made with low quality leather will become discolored and will probably always be stiff. A saddle made with low quality craftsmanship may fall apart (Rodrigo Pessoa saddles have a reputation for getting split seams along the pommel area even though they are made with nice French leather). Another thing to research is the tree, what's it made of? Fiberglass is bad news.
As for saddle trials: Most tack shops will allow trials. Most eBayers won't. But it can't hurt to ask (you may pay a load in shipping fees though). You most likely would need your own irons, leathers, pad, and girth for the trial...unless a used saddle has them included. Many tack shops don't allow stirrup leathers to be used on trial saddles (they'll scuff up the flaps). Or, they request that you cover the leathers with tube socks. On a used saddle, it's probably not as big of a deal.