My children and I have a neuromuscular disorder so having a light weight saddle is rather important. We don't NEED a saddle right now because we can use our trainer's saddles. But, I've seen a few inexpensive saddles and wonder about their quality. We have a young quarter horse. We do trail riding but my daughter may eventually want to do 4H. A 14" western or barrel saddle is probably what we'll need. I'm only 5'3" and the 14" at the tack shop fit me and that's the size my daughter currently uses.
Our local tack shop has a new combo leather/suede/synthetic saddle for $315. It's light weight and comfy. I'm not terribly impressed with the staining on the used synthetic saddles I've seen so am hesitant to purchase a synthetic saddle.
I've seen some used saddles on Craig's List and ebay. I've seen some pictures of saddles that look nice. The brands were Red Rider, Saddle Inc., and Hereford. There are some older saddles (ebay) too but I'm a bit concerned because I'm worried about dry rot. I've found a couple of no name saddles also. One was a heavily tooled Mexican saddle. The no name ones were 15" though.
The important things for us are comfort and weight. We'd like to get the best quality of saddle for the best price. OK, I realize that in the under $300 range we're not talking about a good quality saddle.