Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: I was born in Germany, raised in Texas.
I wouldn't completely discount Ebay. I have bought many of my treasures on Ebay and been very happy with them. The trick to Ebay is knowing your brands and knowing what you and your horse need as far as fit. I found an American saddle maker through Ebay that I ended up talking to personally on the phone and we discussed everything about me from my own personal size and weight to the type of tree my horse required. He ended up building me a barrel saddle that I liked so much that one year later, I had him build me a second. Both saddles were under $800 (one was actually under $500). I also found my Crosby dressage saddle on Ebay which is my absolute favorite English saddle to ride and I bought two Stubbens on Ebay, both of which turned out to be amazing deals. The thing you want to stay away from is new packages. Anything that is new and in the $200-300 range and includes bridle, breast collar, pad, etc. is more than likely made very cheaply in India and the likes. It might work as a beginner gift package for a child who doesn't ride much, but even for a child, if they do ride pretty seriously, I would buy something at least American made like an Abetta or something. Now a "used" saddle, even name brand, is not unheard of in that price range on Ebay. I would never have the choices around me locally that Ebay opens up to me since I live in the north Texas area and we're primarily western so I would never tell you to stay away from there, but do lots of digging, reading, and watch several auctions before you buy. Find out what they are closing for. Read all the fine print on the seller. Look at their feedback, be aware of their return policy. And the more details and pictures the better. I like buying from someone that at least knows the difference between measuring a western and an English saddle. If not, you may get misrepresentation on numerous things because they just don't know. Anyway, good luck saddle shopping! It's worth it when you get that prize in the end. :)