I feel like I'm clogging the boards with all my tack questions, but here we go again anyway! I'm looking for more opinions on saddle brands, but I've broadened my search, and am looking for better quality now. We're buying used and looking for a show saddle in the $500 range, with potential to go up to $600 for a good saddle. I know a few people who have found really good brand name saddles for around $500, so I'm not going to be hasty, and hopefully I'll keep this board up and running for more advice.
First question is about brands. This year I'm doing local shows, next year I'll be "moving up", so I'm going to get a good quality saddle now with the right care it'll last me. It's my understanding that the three main show-type brands are Bates, Pessoa and Barnsby- are those the only three that are widely 'accepted', I know the horse world is prissy and sometimes you get into situations where they DO care what kind of tack you're using or what colour horse you're riding, and though that is a decent selection it still feels kinda... limiting. What about the Collegiate saddles? I don't know much about the brand, but they look nice.
Second is about type. I'm doing hunter jumper this year, I'll start dressage training when I have a decent arena space, and next year I'd like to try my hand at eventing. So what's the best saddle? As much as I hate to think of the money I'll spend, I'd like to (eventually) invest in a jumper saddle and a dressage saddle, if I do start eventing (we'll see how training goes, but I'm really looking forward to it) so what should I start out with? A hunter jumper saddle, or a close contact/AP saddle? For lower level dressage shows, would a jumper saddle or a close contact/AP saddle be acceptable? And what's the deal with 'event' saddles? What are they used for? All three disciplines?
And last but not least, a less important question, what about colour? I don't really like black and was looking at mahogany or havana brown, does colour really matter so much as it matches and looks nice?
Right now I'm looking at:
Collegiate Close Contact in good condition priced at $500
Bates Caprilli in good condition, a little out of my range at $800
And I'll ad to the list as I discover more.