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Saddle and helmet shopping questions

This is a discussion on Saddle and helmet shopping questions within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category

     
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        02-26-2011, 08:44 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Saddle and helmet shopping questions

    Hi, I'm new here. I have been out of horses for 10 years, and now a friend has talked me into taking her horse and getting back into horses.

    He's a 15.3hh Standardbred, great temperament. Big trot, but at least it's a trot (he has a pace too). He spooks in place, which is important to me. And he's used to little kids riding him (I have 3 young boys).

    So my questions...

    1) I'm looking at saddles. The used saddles available around me seem to be limited. I did go into the tack shop and talk to the owner about saddles, tried one out to see what size I need (she noted that I had longer legs than she thought - I am tall and leggy), talked about my horse's shape and what he'll need, etc. She suggested a Wintec 250 AP 18". At first, I was thinking of the old Wintecs I rode 15-20 years ago (the ones you can lift with your pinky), but she showed me a used one (above my price point) that actually feels like a saddle. They've obviously changed greatly. Phew! My question is... What is the difference between the 250 AP and the 500 AP? Doing some googling, a lot of people seem to recommend the 500 instead, BUT it looks like at that time, the 250 maybe didn't have the gullet change system? They do now, and it's the newer version which I think said you can change it by hand - no tools needed.

    I'll mostly be just pleasure riding at home. I have no plans to show this horse. I will do a lot of flat work, but can't completely rule out some low jumping. My main goal right now is to get back in shape, and learn to ride this horse's big trot. :)

    2) What is the norm as far as negotiating or price matching NEW saddles at tack shops? I wouldn't mind supporting the local business and even paying a tiny bit more to do so, but as it stands, the saddle I'm looking at retails for $388. Add in 8% sales tax and you're up to $418. I can get the saddle online with free shipping for $349 just about anywhere, and I saw at least one place that had discounts on the stuff to go with it if you ordered the stuff at the same time as the saddle (and I will need the pad, girth, stirrups, leathers).

    3) Helmets... I tried on Troxel, Tipperary, and Charles Owen. Of course, the CO was the only one that fit my head, and I wasn't wanting to pay that much. I looked at my old helmet (which is manufactured 1989, so yeah, I need to replace it like 15 years ago! ). It's an IRH Olympian. Does anyone know if the IRHs fit like they did back in 1989? My local tack shop doesn't sell IRH, but we're taking a trip to Memphis next weekend, and I'm sure there will be some tack shops along the way or even in that city that would sell IRH. I'm going to take a look. The closest one to me is an hour away. I'd like to get a vented helmet. I'm in the south. It gets hot here. Do the different IRH styles fit differently? If so, which vented version fits like the Olympian (assuming they still fit like they did in 1989)? I remember as a kid having a hard time with helmet fit.

    I think that's all my questions for the moment. :)
         
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        02-26-2011, 01:28 PM
      #2
    Started
    I know it can be difficult, but my philosophy with things like saddles, helmets, and other tack is to spend a little more for quality... and take religiously good care of it. I'm not someone with deep and plentiful pockets, but I've gotten stung when I try to go a little too cheap on something. It's a very precarious balance, finding a good price while still getting a good saddle that is going to last and is going to really benefit both you and the horse.

    My suggestion is to look into the used saddle market. There are a lot of good saddles to be found used. Do all the research you can on saddle fitting. Take wither and back tracings of your horse... so on. If you know exactly the kind of saddle that will fit you and your horse well, it will be easier to find the one you need. Plus, if you can be sure that it fits, you won't have to worry about replacing the saddle for a long, long time.

    So, as horrible as it might be... I would like to encourage you to splurge just a bit. ^_^ It sounds like you've gotten a good deal on the horse, so maybe you can just think of it as spending a bit of the money you would have had to pay anyhow to get a horse in the first place.

    Used Saddle Classifieds:
    English Saddles for Sale
    Buy, Sell, Trade Saddles, Trailers, Show Clothes, and More! - TackTrader.com Classifieds
    Pick Location
    Classifieds - Claz.org (use this to search all Craigslist ads)

    Other resources:
    Horse Tack Review.com - Reviews of horse tack and rider supplies!
    http://www.horseforum.com/horse-tack...dle-fit-45868/
    http://www.horseforum.com/horse-tack...lly-fit-58116/
         
        02-26-2011, 03:07 PM
      #3
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eolith    
    I know it can be difficult, but my philosophy with things like saddles, helmets, and other tack is to spend a little more for quality... and take religiously good care of it. I'm not someone with deep and plentiful pockets, but I've gotten stung when I try to go a little too cheap on something. It's a very precarious balance, finding a good price while still getting a good saddle that is going to last and is going to really benefit both you and the horse.
    Yes, I completely agree. That's what I'm trying to do here. :) For example, for the helmet, if the choice had been between the $30 Troxel that doesn't fit and the $200+ CO that does fit, I would have chosen the CO, very painfully. But since my current (very old) helmet is an IRH and fits beautifully, and they are a whole lot cheaper and still certified as being safe, I'd rather go with the IRH (after trying them on to see which one fits properly). Plus I think there are more vent options in the IRH.

    Quote:
    My suggestion is to look into the used saddle market. There are a lot of good saddles to be found used. Do all the research you can on saddle fitting. Take wither and back tracings of your horse... so on. If you know exactly the kind of saddle that will fit you and your horse well, it will be easier to find the one you need. Plus, if you can be sure that it fits, you won't have to worry about replacing the saddle for a long, long time.
    I am trying to find where the used saddles are found locally. I don't feel comfortable buying a used saddle off ebay or some trader site, because I don't know saddles and can't tell if it will fit my horse until I see it in person.

    I initially had a lower number in mind for a saddle, and after looking at saddles, that number has been raised. But at the same time, I can't go with a $2000 saddle. I was not initially planning to get a horse for a few more years, so we've had to redo the budget to accommodate a horse earlier than expected. We can afford the horse (and have an emergency fund that can take care of unexpected vet bills). I'm just trying to find the least expensive GOOD saddle I can. If I can find a good used saddle, that'd be awesome. But if I can't, the Wintec is something I can afford new, and it looks to be a good choice for what I'm wanting to do.

    I will be doing wither and back tracings and taking them into the tack shop to compare against the used saddles there. Unfortunately, there aren't any tack shops near me that have a huge selection of saddles. So it's hard to shop for a saddle in person when there aren't any available to try. Also, most of the used saddles I'm seeing are in the 15-16" range. I'm seeing very few available that are 18". And having long legs, I need a more forward flap, I think? So my choices are getting narrower and narrower. I've checked craigslist, and there are only 2 English saddles listed in my area. One is a 14" Wintec 250. Just a wee bit small for me. ;) The other is a Keiffer with a medium tree... doesn't say any other info on it. I don't know what size tree my horse is? How do you tell that? I watched the Schleese videos and I *think* (need to measure again to make sure) I was needing about 4 fingers down the gullet of the saddle. Does that tell me the tree width? Or is the tree width the part that you measure on the wither tracing? I plan to go out next week and do a wither and back tracing on him (he'll come to my property in a couple weeks). So if the tree width is the width on the wither tracing, what is the scale (ie, x inches = medium tree, etc.)?

    Thanks for your help, btw! I've been looking through the links you posted. :)
         
        02-26-2011, 06:30 PM
      #4
    Started
    In terms of a more forward flap for longer legs, that does tend to be the case with huntseat and jumping, but if you ride with slightly longer stirrups in a more dressage position, it shouldn't really be a concern. I think it's more comfortable anyhow. It depends on what you're planning to do with him.

    It's hard to get an exact idea for whether your horse is a medium, wide, narrow gullet etc... especially because the saddle brands can differ. You can certainly get a ball park, but the best thing is just to have a wither tracing with you to stick into all the different saddles and see for yourself what they look like. If you can take it to a tack shop, you'll probably get a good idea for what fits in general (in the medium range or wide range and so on).

    I know it can be challenging finding a saddle that is a good fit for both of you, but don't let it stress you out too much. Take it slow and easy... and remember that the perfect saddle is waiting out there somewhere for you, so there's no need to rush into anything. Even if you have the horse for a little while and are still lacking a saddle, there's plenty of groundwork and so on that will be excellent to establish with him.
         
        02-27-2011, 04:16 PM
      #5
    Foal
    Thanks so much for your advice!

    I don't know if I'll ever do any jumping with this horse. In the near future, my plans are only flatwork, so maybe training myself to do more of a dressage leg would be good. Looking at the pictures of myself riding the other week, my leg was fairly long (I think), but it was a bit forward of where it should be. I was also leaning forward a tiny bit. But after 10 years, I'm sure I have a lot of work to do on my position. Hopefully my horse will be patient with me. :)

    I'm getting wither and back tracings tomorrow and will hit the tack shop to compare to in-stock saddles. I will try to be patient. I just look forward to riding him and getting myself back in shape!
         
        02-27-2011, 06:09 PM
      #6
    Started
    No problem, good luck!

    There's lots of good resources on this forum, so stick around if you have any further questions.
         

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